– Highlights

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Event

Genext

Today, 6.00pm, Throughout the MCA

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Exhibition

Primavera 2017

23 Aug - 19 Nov

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Exhibition

Hilarie Mais

23 Aug - 19 Nov

– News from inside the MCA

Six Films that Changed My Life (for better or worse): Laura Hindmarsh

Primavera 2017 artist Laura Hindmarsh shares six films ahead of her specially curated edition of Art + Film on Saturday 16 September. more

The Many Guises of Jenny Watson

We’ll take you through some of Watson’s many alter egos that are currently housed in our Level 3 Galleries. more

Fresh picks for Father's Day

Discover the gifts that will help you spoil your dad this Father’s Day. more

– Spotlights from the collection online

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MCA Collection

Works from the MCA Collection

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Collection Artist Interviews

Watch our latest interviews in the MCA Video Portal

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Joint acquisitions by MCA and Tate

The Program promotes Australian art globally, helping Australian artists reach new audiences.

John Barbour

Born 1954, The Hague, Netherlands. Lived and worked Adelaide. Died 2011.


John Barbour’s experimental and interdisciplinary practice comprises works on paper and cloth, sometimes incorporating deliberate stains, tears and child-like hand-embroidered text. Influenced by conceptual art and minimalism, Barbour’s work engages with ideas of human frailty and fallibility through the use of lowly and humble materials like cardboard, torn paper, Styrofoam and stained cloth. His works declare themselves not as ‘well-made’ in the tradition of fine crafts and art, or as ‘ready-mades’ in the sculptural tradition of anti-art, but as ‘un-made’: brought into existence through chance, accident and carelessness rather than accomplished as a demonstration of skill. In electing to pursue the transient, the accidental, the torn and unraveled, Barbour brings to our attention the fallibility and precariousness of existence in works of thought-provoking ambiguity and ambivalence. 

Barbour was a senior academic in the Architecture and Design School at the University of South Australia, and his artistic practice spanned more than three decades. His last solo exhibition was Infinite Thanks at Yuill|Crowley, Sydney in 2011. Other exhibitions include Work for Now, Australian Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide (2010) and Tribute (A Bibliography for Bees), Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia (CACSA), Adelaide (2006). His work was also shown in Interesting Times: Focus on Contemporary Australian Art, MCA, Sydney (2005) and the Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (2002). The Australian Experimental Art Foundation published a monograph on his work, Hard/Soft, in 2011.

Barbour’s work is held in the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; as well as private and university collections in Australia.

Works by John Barbour

– In the MCA Collection online

– View also

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