Panel Discussion

Ever Changing, Ever Challenging: 40 Years of Artspace

Sat 16 Dec 2023

Above: The Gunnery, 1991. From the Artspace Archive.
Sat 16 Dec 2023, 3:00pm
43–51 Cowper Wharf Roadway
Woolloomooloo NSW 2011
Sydney Australia
This is a free event. RSVPs essential.

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Join artists Daniel Boyd, Mikala Dwyer, Shaun Gladwell, Deborah Kelly, Eugenia Raskopoulos, Keg de Souza and Stelarc, moderated by Julie Rrap, for an insightful panel discussion celebrating 40 years of Artspace.

From the first meetings in 1981 that catalysed Artspace’s establishment, artists’ voices have always been at the core of everything we do. Conceived as a much-needed alternative to commercial galleries and major collecting institutions, Artspace opened in 1983 as an artist-run gallery for emerging and early-career artists. The organisation has since evolved into a funded contemporary art space with professional staff and a focus on supporting artists at all stages of their careers.

As part of our reopening and 40th birthday celebrations, hear from eight artists who have all been keenly engaged with Artspace numerous times across their careers. They come together to reflect on their relationship to and experiences of Artspace over the last four decades and discuss visions for the future of the organisation and the Australian arts landscape more broadly.

Julie Rrap has been a central figure in Australian contemporary art for over three decades. Her involvement with body art and performance in the mid-70s in Australia continued to influence her practice as it expanded into photography, painting, sculpture and video in an ongoing project concerned with representations of the body. Rrap is Co-Director and Co-Chair of Sydney College of the Arts.

Daniel Boyd’s practice is internationally recognised for its manifold engagement with the colonial history of the Australia-Pacific region. Drawing upon intermingled discourses of science, religion and aesthetics, his work reveals the complexity of perspectives through which political, cultural and personal memory is composed. Boyd has both Aboriginal and Pacific Islander heritage and his work traces this cultural and visual ancestry in relation to the broader history of Western art.

Mikala Dywer has been exhibiting internationally since 1982 and has developed a distinctive and highly engaging practice that explores ideas about shelter, childhood play, modernist design and the occult. Influenced by early twentieth-century art movements, including dada, constructivism and arte povera, her work pushes at the traditional limits of performance, sculpture and installation. Integrating a range of quotidian materials, her works are experimental and experiential architectures that play with the permeable and changeable nature of objects and our relationship with them.

Shaun Gladwell uses disciplines of human movement to investigate function and meaning within urban, natural and extended reality environments. His oeuvre is considered an important contribution to the cataloguing and celebration of movement based sub-cultures that have emerged within his generation. The artist has also been recognised for pioneering work with immersive, extended reality technologies. Gladwell contextualises ‘the new’ by identifying parallels and patterns throughout the history of art, cultural production, and philosophy.

Deborah Kelly is a Sydney-based artist who works across disciplinary and geographical boundaries to produce artworks which encompass collage, installation, event and performance. Her projects are often collaborative and concerned with lineages of representation, politics and history in public exchange, and practices of collectivity on small and large scale, from epic to intimate. She has hosted open workshops around Australia, in Leipzig, London, Istanbul, Zagreb, Aarhus, Berlin and Bandung, variously generating dance steps, iconography, portraiture, textiles and text.

Eugenia Raskopoulos explores aspects of the female body, linked to concepts that include identity, language and translation; and body fragments with an overriding context associated with feminism and performance. As the daughter of immigrants, and a product of a bi-lingual upbringing, she has been concerned with how language is used as a tool outside its functional parameters, where language breaks down, focusing on text, translation, writing and drawing. Technically her work explores the margins of photography and video, an interdisciplinary zone that synthesises performance, neon and installation.

Keg de Souza is an artist of Goan ancestry who lives on unceded Gadigal land in Sydney. Architecturally trained, she creates social and spatial environments, making reference to her lived experiences of squatting and organising with projects that use plant and food politics, temporary architecture, publishing and radical pedagogy. De Souza also draws from personal experiences of colonialism to inform her layered projects that centre voices that are often marginalised, for learning about Place. Themes of displacement – through lenses such as colonialism and gentrification – filter through her work, sharing (often lesser-known) stories of plants, people and Place.

Stelarc is a performance artist who explores alternative anatomical architectures, interrogating issues of embodiment, agency and identity. His projects incorporate prosthetics, robotics, biotechnology and online interactivity. He has performed with a Third Hand, a Stomach Sculpture and Exoskeleton, a six-legged walking robot. In 2006 he had an ear surgically constructed on his arm. Reclining StickMan, a 9m-long, 4m-high stick-figure robot was commissioned for the 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art. In 2010 he was awarded the Ars Electronica Golden Nica Hybrid Arts Prize. In 2015 he received the Australia Council’s Emerging and Experimental Arts Award.

Daniel Boyd Mikala Dwyer Deborah Kelly Keg de Souza Stelarc Shaun Gladwell
Eugenia Raskopoulos
Julie Rrap

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Artspace opening celebrations

Fri 15 Dec and Sat 16 Dec 2023