Emily Hunt
The Grotto

22 Jun – 7 Oct 2024
Art Gallery of New South Wales

Above: Emily Hunt in Studio 11 during her studio residency at Artspace for upcoming The Grotto at Art Gallery of NSW, 2024. Photo: Anna Kučera
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Naala Badu, north building
Lower level 2

Berlin-based Australian artist Emily Hunt draws inspiration from the extraordinary history of the occult and spiritualism in Australia.

In this exhibition, Hunt presents six handmade marionettes, which incorporate sculpture, ceramics, costume, woodwork, silk painting and printing on fabric. Each is modelled on an esoteric individual whose spiritual convictions defied social conventions, including artist Rosaleen Norton (1917–1979), art critic James Smith (1820–1910) and violinist Leila Waddell (1880–1932). These characters’ stories will be recounted by Hunt in a series of ‘puppet show’ performances, held during the exhibition period, which collapse distinctions between reality and fantasy, truth and fiction, life and death.

The themes of death and the afterlife are augmented by a psychedelic watercolour drawing based on the design of a ouija board, and painted murals, glazed ceramics and etchings depicting ‘psychic places’ in Sydney, haunted by history and memory.

The Art Gallery of New South Wales gratefully acknowledges the support of Contemporary Projects patrons Andrew and Cathy Cameron.