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Primavera 2008: Young Australian Artists

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)


19 Sep 2008 to 30 Nov 2008


Marcus Canning, Danielle Freakley, Tarryn Gill & Pilar Mata Dupont, Ariel Hassan, Mark Hilton, Moya McKenna, Paul Knight, Ms & Mr (Richard & Stephanie Nova-Milne), Gemma Smith and Soda_Jerk (Dan & Dominique Angeloro)

Guest Curator: Hannah Matthews

about the exhibition

Primavera 2008 was guest curated by Hannah Mathews and brought together thirteen artists, including three collaborative pairs, who work across painting, video, photography, sculpture, installation and performance: Marcus Canning, Danielle Freakley, Tarryn Gill & Pilar Mata Dupont, Ariel Hassan, Mark Hilton, Moya McKenna, Paul Knight, Ms & Mr (Richard & Stephanie Nova-Milne), Gemma Smith and Soda_Jerk (Dan & Dominique Angeloro).

Primavera 2008 did not feature an overarching curatorial theme but sought to reflect on a particular stage in a young artist’s career. Moving beyond early experimentation towards a more coherent or formed approach, the participating artists engaged with the world around them in various ways. In the exhibition, there was an emphasis on visual elements including colour, scale, contrast and line – and on how different artistic media intersect, enriching each other.

The works of Ariel Hassan, Paul Knight, Moya McKenna and Gemma Smith all explored contemporary approaches to painting and the manipulation of colour, light and surface, and come from a traditional studio-based practice. In the exhibition, Smith’s paintings were also given sculptural form as ‘adaptable’ objects that the artist reconfigured by hand; and Hassan’s painting was similarly expanded by sculptural elements. Paul Knight’s photographs drew inspiration from the human figure, presenting their subjects in intimate encounters with one another.

The lightbox works of Mark Hilton and videos of Ms & Mr and Soda_Jerk were the outcome of research-driven approaches. These artists explored historical and contemporary narratives, re-framing them through illustrative and cut-and-collage methods to create new meanings. Tarryn Gill & Pilar Mata Dupont, along with Danielle Freakley, brought a performative element to the exhibition. Marcus Canning’s Pink Wienie consisted of a deflated pink installation which had melted on the gallery floor; it made a pertinent allegory for the first crash of the global financial markets.

A number of the artists in the exhibition work across various disciplines, including theatre, architecture, music and dance. The inclusion of three collaborative practices, those of Tarryn Gill & Pilar Mata Dupont, Ms & Mr and Soda_Jerk, was also notable. Indeed, some of these collaborations brought an interesting dimension to the collaborative model, such as the marital partnership behind Ms & Mr and the sisterly bond of Soda_Jerk.

Primavera is the Museum’s annual exhibition of Australian artists aged 35 years and under. Since 1992, the series has showcased the works of artists in the early stages of their career, many of whom have gone on to exhibit nationally and internationally.

Primavera was initiated in 1992 by Dr Edward Jackson AM and Mrs Cynthia Jackson AM and their family in memory of their daughter and sister Belinda, a talented jeweller who died at the age of 29.

Featuring Works from the MCA Collection

Paul Knight
  • Untitled

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