The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia is celebrating twenty-five years of Primavera – the annual exhibition dedicated to showcasing the work of young Australian artists – with ‘Primavera at 25: MCA Collection’, touring around Australia and exhibiting at Gold Coast City Gallery until September. Curated by Megan Robson, MCA Assistant Curator, the exhibition includes work by 19 artists and collectives who have previously exhibited in the exhibition. ‘Primavera at 25’ brings together established and emerging artists working across a range of disciplines from painting, sculpture, video, performance, kinetic and installation art.
“It’s an exhibition where we invite a guest curator every year to travel around Australia, meet young artists and put together an exhibition,” explains Megan Robson on our exhibition tour.
“The MCA has been collecting Primavera artists for a long time, and the works in this exhibition are all drawn from our collection.”
For many artists, Primavera marks the start of a long relationship with the MCA. Since 1992, 206 artists have exhibited in Primavera with the MCA acquiring over 230 works by artists in the exhibition for the MCA Collection. These include artworks that were first exhibited in a Primavera exhibition and works made many years afterwards.
“An anniversary presents a moment for reflection, an opportunity in which to consider the past and contemplate the future, as well as our relationship with the artists,” says Megan.
“It was a really interesting process to look back at the history of Primavera but also to look back at the works that we’ve collected over the years. I was drawn to particular works and at the same time I was thinking about what an anniversary means and how you could celebrate that within an exhibition. So what I came up with was looking at interrelated themes that kind of relate to the ideas of anniversary. So artists that deal with history in some way, artists that deal with time, artists that also deal with transformation.”
Tim Silver is one such artist, dealing with transformation and time in his work. A small boat perfectly cast from watercolour pigment was set into water, and then photographed as it slowly melted. The resulting series shows an almost eerie disintegration, and an incredibly clever crossover between watercolour, photography and sculpture.
The exhibition contains a number of extraordinary and disparate works: a haunting and powerful representation of the character of Caliban by Abdul Abdullah, and an eye-drawing moving sunset by Nell, entitled ‘Unlimited Radiance’. ‘Native Gold’ by Danie Mellor is a searing exploration of Indigenous people displaced by colonisation, and the land which was irrevocably changed by conquest and exploitation, while Rebecca Bauman’s ‘Automated Colour Field’ utilises an obsolete technology in a wholly unique way, seeking to explore the intimate relationship between colour and emotion, and the way specific colours and colour combinations can elicit particular feelings or moods.
‘Primavera at 25’ is exhibiting at The Gold Coast City Gallery from now until 3 September 2017. More information at theartscentregc.com.au/gallery