About the Artwork

Peter Kennedy is at the forefront of Australian conceptual art. A founding member of the Sydney artist-run initiative Inhibodress in the early 1970s, his artistic practice has been informed by a deeply reflective critique of the politics and history of modernity.

His pioneering body of work embraces installation, performance, sound, video and more recently, photography, watercolour and drawing. From the late 1960s Kennedy began to create minimalist works in neon light whilst employed at the signage company Claude Neon. He was one of the first Australian artists to work with this medium. He went on to create experimental performance and sound works, and by the late 1970s had developed an art practice that was politically engaged.

Neon Light Installations (1970/2002) is part of the series of early 1970s formalist works that Kennedy designed to interact with the architecture of Paddington’s Gallery A, one of the first contemporary art spaces in Australia. Playing on the principles of line and segmentation, this installation casts a warm light across the gallery, affecting viewers’ experiences of the space and their responses to adjacent works.

The two preparatory sketches by the artist complement and contextualise Neon Light Installations, offering valuable insight into the artist’s thought processes and planning of this work.


Quotation: Peter Kennedy, 1996 interview quoted in Anne Marsh, Introduction, Peter Kennedy: Selected Works 1970-2002, The Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, 2002, p 6

I have had an abiding belief that an artwork’s capacity to resonate in the minds of an audience is very much contingent on its ‘poetic’ presence.

Peter Kennedy

Peter Kennedy

– About the artist


Peter Kennedy was born in Brisbane in 1945 and currently lives and works in Melbourne. Kennedy began exhibiting in the mid 1960s and by the end of that decade had begun to forge new territory in Australia through his conceptually aligned art practice and light based installations.

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Related Exhibitions

MCA Collection: New Acquisitions in Context

– Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) 2005

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