Green Room: Material Politics
Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane
Conceptualism, frugality and politics combine to create powerful reflections on the society we live in the group show Material Politics. In 1985 artist, curator, and then IMA Director, Peter Cripps, curated the landmark show Recession Art and Other Strategies, coining a local art movement “made under the pressure of the little money and an insignificant market”. The tendencies pointed out by Cripps’s exhibition, which featured Gunter Christmann, Robert MacPherson, John Nixon, Peter Tyndall, and the curator himself, carry forward today but with a varied set of more or less political agendas. Many Australian artists are still turning to the curbside or ubiquitous hardware stores such as Bunnings for readily-available materials but the motivations are not purely economical.
This exhibition brings together a number of recent and newly commissioned works by artists who are using everyday materials and approaches to explore issues of ecology, inequality, surveillance, and sovereignty. As in 1985, capitalism and its relationship to art bring about some of the strategies employed. However, their approaches are coloured by the last three decades of rapid socio-economical changes brought on by increased mobility and the advent of digital technology, the lasting legacies of the colonial era, and the ongoing impacts of fast-paced gentrification in Australian cities.
Images courtesy of Carl Warner (photographer) and IMA