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 film The Gallery A Years 1970-2009 is a single channel, media-based work that documents two early exhibitions of Kennedy’s light works at Gallery A. The work builds upon archival material ‘rediscovered’ by curator John Murphy in 2009. Using digital scans of both film and still images, Kennedy reconfigured the 1970-71 exhibitions into a new work. The film reveals the robust experimentalism of Kennedy’s practice, with its exploration of luminal colour and time-based elements.
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.
– About the artist
Peter Kennedy has exhibited widely both in Australia and overseas. He was a Director of the University of Sydney Art Workshop (The Tin Sheds) from 1980 to 1985. In 1994 he was awarded a Visual Arts/Crafts Board of the Australia Council Fellowship and in 1996 he took up an Earthwatch Fellowship in Papua New Guinea. The Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne held a retrospective survey of his work, Peter Kennedy: Selected Works 1970-2002 in 2002; his solo exhibition _Peter Kennedy: Light Years 1970-71 _was presented at the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, in 2011.