– Highlights


Pipilotti Rist: Sip my Ocean

01 Nov - 18 Feb


Jon Campbell: MCA Collection

04 Dec - 25 Feb


Word: MCA Collection

04 Dec - 18 Feb

– Learning Events


ARTBAR January 2018

19 Jan, 7.00pm, Throughout the MCA


Contemporary Kids School Holiday Program

23 Jan, 10.30am, Level 3: National Centre for Creative Learning


Art Baby

06 Feb, 12.30pm, 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.

Sam Taylor-Wood

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)


23 Mar 2006 to 21 May 2006

Curator: Rachel Kent

about the exhibition

Sam Taylor-Wood’s solo exhibition formed part of a wider season of exhibitions at the MCA exploring self-portraiture by selected Australian and international artists. Born and based in London, Sam Taylor-Wood is an internationally renowned artist who works across film and photography. Rendered with pathos, her depictions of human emotion and physicality draw upon the history of Western art in their composition and symbolism. From religious iconography to performance and dance, the works in this exhibition test the body’s limits as well as the individual psyche of the subjects portrayed.

Sam Taylor-Wood is an artist for whom the human subject is central. She explores the physical dimension of human experience as well as its more private, emotional side. As British critic Michael Bracewell observed, her art ‘takes its place at the point of contact between psychology and destiny – the twin poles, if you like, of the human condition: how we react to life’s journey’. From feats of physical strength and endurance to moments of introspection and vulnerability, Taylor-Wood’s imagery invites viewers into an indeterminate space in which public and private experience converge.

This exhibition brought together selected photographs and film works for the first time in Australia. Taylor-Wood’s photographs have embraced an expanded, panoramic format as well as a vertical ‘portrait’ format. This exhibition focused on the latter, in which single subjects were presented in mid action or gesture – hovering, tumbling, falling; dancing, sleeping, crying. Three related film projections featured their performers in similar states of activity and release. Taylor-Wood’s static and moving imagery was informed by art-historical reference, religious iconography and the desire for a form of physical or spiritual transcendence. From the image of a young man hovering mid air The Leap 2001 – the first of the artist’s ‘suspended’ works – to that of a man tap-dancing before a prone human form, a dove improbably balanced on his head Ascension 2003, viewers were introduced to a world of imagination and ambiguity.

The private realm of emotion and its expression informs much of Taylor-Wood’s art. She has said, ‘I am interested in how humans respond and react in moments of crisis. I want to examine the physical manifestations of anxiety’. In this exhibition Taylor-Wood presented her large photographic suite Crying Men 2002-04. Featuring 27 male actors in private moments of reflection and catharsis, it presented an intimate, vulnerable portrait of contemporary masculinity while working against public expectations associated with the ‘celebrity’ persona. The video work David 2004, commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, London, featured a languid David Beckham asleep in his bed – a portrait of this iconic sporting figure that was unprecedented in its intimacy and sensuality.

Tour Itinerary

City Gallery Wellington, New Zealand: 8 October 2006 – 28 January 2007

Supported by

Supported by

Supported by

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