Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)
12 Mar 2004 to 16 May 2004
Darren Almond, Brenda L. Croft, Whitfield Lovell, Walid Raad/The Atlas Group, Fiona Tan, Zhang Huan
This exhibition featured the work of six leading artists from Australia, China, the Middle East, Europe and the United States whose work deals with ideas about memory. Working across a range of media including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography and film, they used highly individual approaches to comment on issues of shared significance. Identity, family, and the broader events that have shaped the past century were considered in these works, marking the desire to make sense of the past and its continuing legacy through the daily reality of the present.
For many contemporary artists the theme of memory offers fertile ground for exploration. Linked to narrative – to stories passed down to us through time; things experienced or witnessed either directly or second-hand; and to key passages in the formation of human history – it provides rich subject-matter for creative expression. Intensely personal but also a common aspect of our existence within society, it allows us to consider fundamental questions in relation to our identity as human beings: what is it that makes us who we are, and what role does memory play in shaping our self-awareness, or that of others around us?
Through Zhang Huan’s exploration of family, obligation and reconciliation; Brenda L. Croft’s work about race, identity and the loss of a parent; Whitfield Lovell’s investigation of African-American identity, past and present; Darren Almond’s exploration of Holocaust history and the idea of ‘cultural amnesia’; Fiona Tan’s focus on colonial history and the European presence in turn-of-the-century Asia; and Walid Raad’s semi-fictional Atlas Group Archive of recent Lebanese history – a range of narratives, both personal and political, were expressed through this exhibition.