Primavera 2016

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) unveils the eight artists included in Primavera 2016: Young Australian Artists, guest curated by Emily Cormack.

The artists featured in the 25th edition of Primavera are Steven Cybulka (SA), Pia van Gelder (NSW), Biljana Jancic (NSW), Ruth McConchie (QLD), Adelle Mills (VIC), Mira Oosterweghel (VIC), Emily Parsons-Lord (NSW) and Danae Valenza (VIC). Each artist is creating new work for the exhibition.

In 1992, Primavera was initiated by Dr Edward Jackson AM and Mrs Cynthia Jackson AM and their family in memory of their daughter and sister Belinda. Since then, it has showcased the works of artists and curators, many of whom have gone on to exhibit nationally and internationally.

MCA Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE said: ‘Primavera, an exhibition devoted to promoting artists in the early stages of their career has been a continuous feature of the MCA’s program since it opened 25 years ago. We are delighted that it continues to be such an important exhibition for artists, giving them a platform to share their voice, their art, and to introduce new ideas to our ever-increasing audience.’

Opening to the public on 29 September, Primavera 2016 explores ideas of transmission, highlighting the ways that art can physically connect with the viewer and how an artwork’s meaning can be generated by this encounter. The exhibition draws on recent theories about embodied cognition – which posits that the creation of knowledge might first begin in the body, rather than in the brain.

Visitors to Primavera 2016 will be encouraged to experience the works through the senses. Upon entering the gallery the viewer will be invited to breathe an air compound created by Emily Parsons-Lord, that estimates the quality of air from the greatest extinction event in earth’s history 250 million years ago when carbon dioxide levels were at their peak.

Steven Cybulka will create a vast architectural intervention, serving as the ‘skeleton’ for the exhibition and confounding the visitor with subtle yet disorientating shifts in angle and gradient.

The viewer’s movement will be tracked by Danae Valenza’s neon and sound work, swelling to greet them and diminishing as they pass. Biljana Jancic’s installation will function similarly, flooding a hidden corner of Cybulka’s wall work with silver plains of vinyl tape, reflecting the blue of a vacant projection screen as well as viewers’ movements through the space.

Adelle Mills’ work will feature on four large screens embedded within Cybulka’s walls, creating unconscious connections between the body of the viewer and that of the performer on screen.

Pia van Gelder harnesses the innate capacity of the human body to conduct energy through contact. Van Gelder’s sculptural instrument integrates our own radiant energy into an electronic circuit which generates sound.

Mira Oosterweghel’s sculptural forms will traverse the upper reaches of the gallery space, signifiers of human activity, threatening and fearful, within the tamed space of the gallery space.

Ruth McConchie is creating a new world to be encountered through a virtual reality headset. This work will begin in the real: situating the visitor in the gallery space, and then pull the viewer down through the watery subterranean spaces beneath the MCA, opening to reveal a vignette of the real and imagined social histories of The Rocks.

Curator, Emily Cormack said: ‘It is an honour to reveal the depth of curiosity and creative intelligence in Australia’s younger generation of artists through presenting these innovative works in Primavera 2016.’

‘This exhibition imagines that the ‘brain’ is distributed throughout the body, spreading across its various system, dispersed and alive throughout. Each of the works will affect the viewers’ body in different ways, through the lungs, the muscles or the nervous system, meaning that the viewer will be unable to view the exhibition without some part of their body feeling it.’

Audi Australia will continue its support of the MCA, joining Primavera as Major Partner in 2016. This will be the first year that Audi has sponsored this exhibition and starts a new era for the company’s support of the MCA.

‘As a German brand, culture is important to Audi’s heritage, and as an Australian company, we feel it’s important to foster the creativity of Australian artists,’ said Audi Australia’s Managing Director, Andrew Doyle.

‘We are excited to kick-off our Primavera partnership in 2016, as it allows us to engage with a sophisticated, arts-loving audience, at the same time as we support Australia’s most inspiring and talented young artists.’

Several public programs will examine the emergent themes in the exhibition. On Thursday 29 September, the artists will discuss the process of making new work for the exhibition with curator Emily Cormack. There will be performances throughout the exhibition and further artist talks on Thursday evenings in November. On Friday 30 September, the artists will come together for MCA ARTBAR to curate a night of performances and live music.

The Nelson Meers Foundation is again generously supporting the exhibition and in June of this year, the artists and Emily Cormack visited Sydney ahead of the exhibition with the support of the Foundation. It is the first time the MCA has been afforded this opportunity to connect as a group prior to installation of the exhibition.

Primavera 2016 will be accompanied by a publication featuring an essay response to the ideas in the exhibition, written by author and academic Douglas Kahn. Further commissioned writers include Jared Davis, Blair French, Peter Johnson, Amita Kirpalani, Kelly McDonald, Megan Robson, Pip Wallis and Alex White.

Primavera is an annual exhibition for young Australian artists aged 35 years and under. It 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. The exhibition commemorates Belinda Jackson by celebrating the creative achievements of talented young artists who are in the early stages of their careers.


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