– Highlights



Today, 4.00pm, Level 3: National Centre for Creative Learning

Mca Collection

MCA Collection: Today Tomorrow Yesterday

01 Sep - 31 Aug


Pipilotti Rist: Sip my ocean

01 Nov - 18 Feb

– Learning Events



Today, 4.00pm, Level 3: National Centre for Creative Learning


Art Safari

24 Nov, 1.00pm, Level 3: National Centre for Creative Learning


Artbar November 2017

24 Nov, 7.00pm, MCA

– News from inside the MCA

The Importance of Laughter

We sat down with laughter connoisseur Shari Coventry from Sydney Laughter to discover the truth about laughter and why we need it ahead of this month’s Laughter Sessions. more

Coming up in 2018…

Next year is one of the most exciting and diverse seasons yet. Find out what’s on. more

Six Films that Changed My Life (for better or worse): Antenna's Rich Welch

To pave the way for the soon-to-come cinema binge at Antenna Film Festival,Co-Director Rich Welch shared a few of his life changing films. more

– Spotlights from the collection online

MCA Collection

Works from the MCA Collection

Collection Artist Interviews

Watch our latest interviews in the MCA Video Portal

Joint acquisitions by MCA and Tate

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

Lightworks: From the National Gallery of Australia

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)


09 Nov 1993 to 01 Mar 1994


Robert Barry, Aleks Danko, John Dunkley-Smith, Dan Flavin, Edward Kienholz, Joseph Kosuth, Mario Merz, Bruce Nauman, Ian Provest, Robert Rauschenberg, Keith Sonnier, Richard Tipping

Guest Curator:

Michael Desmond

About the exhibition

Lightworks was organised by the National Gallery of Australia, bringing together works from the NGA Collection that used light as their central medium. These works focused on the period between the late 1960s and late 1970s, however there were works created as late as 1992.

The 1960s saw a number of international and Australian artists beginning to experiment with light, going beyond a mere representation of light to actually bring light into the work itself.

Materials that were previously too expensive and/or difficult to source became accessible through developments in technology. Neon and incandescent bulbs in particular became available and affordable. Discotheques also served up electronically amplified music in an atmosphere of flashing and coloured lights, projected slide images, smoke and mirrors, demonstrating the affective potential of artificial light.

While the interest in light and the phenomenology of perception peaked in the late 1960s, artists had accepted the use of artificial light as valid and useful as any other medium.

The works in this exhibition used neon tubing, light bulbs, fluorescent lighting, and television sets to explore ideas about contemporary society.