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Curtin University of Technology
John Curtin Gallery

Past exhibitions



Invisible Genres

Bella Kelly Retrospective


Perth International Arts Festival 2016


Invisible Genres
Opening 21 September, 6pm
Exhibition 22 September - 4 December, 2016


In 2016, on the 400th anniversary of the first European landing on the coast of Western Australia, the contemporary art exhibition Invisible Genres foregrounds the possibilities of this often-overlooked Dutch 'discovery'. Gathered around an important work by the Dutch video artist Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Invisible Genres draws together the works of several generations of Western Australian artists, major pieces by the South Africans William Kentridge and Candice Brietz and the paintings of the undiscovered Balinese master Dewa Putu Mokoh to provide new insights into our part of the Indian Ocean world.

Underlying Invisible Genres is the view that the innovations made by Dutch artists during their Golden Age in the 17th Century were a product of the democratisation of commerce and art which led to the energising of those kinds of art or “genres” that escaped the dogmas of the Catholic Church. Invisible Genres derives its themes from the four most common types of Dutch painting: portrait, landscape/seascape, still-life, and “genre”, the art of depicting everyday life.

Commemorating the anniversary of Dirk Hartog's landing in north Western Australia with an exhibition of contemporary art rather than with an exhibition of centuries-old paintings and maps, Invisible Genres emphasises the continuing ramifications of the connections and parallels that exist between the four countries, in their histories and politics. Having van Oldenbourgh's No False Echoes at its core, a work that addresses the issue of the Dutch colonial history in Indonesia, Invisible Genres also uses the work of important artists from Bali and South Africa to reframe local art. The exhibition includes work of the painters Julie Dowling, Gregory Pryor and Joanna Lamb, photographers Tony Nathan and Jacqueline Ball, the sculptor Abdul-Rahman Abdullah and the interventionist PVI Collective.

Instead of viewing history as a thing of the past, Invisible Genre's kind of reframing of history is a means of reimagining the present. As Wendelien van Oldenborgh has said, echoing the American novelist William Faulkner, “The past isn't over; it's not even past.”

Curated by John Mateer



Image: William Kentridge, Horse series (Promised Land), (detail), 2008, hand woven mohair tapestry, edition 3, 3.8 x 4.16m, courtesy of the artist, Private Collection.

Bella Kelly, Untitled (Sleeping Lady),1988, watercolour and gouache on paper, 36.2 x 49.2cm

Bella Kelly Retrospective
20 June - 21 August, 2016

The Bella Kelly Retrospective is an exhibition of paintings by the renowned Noongar artist Bella Kelly (1915-1994) including three from the City of Albany Collection as well as approximately 40 others borrowed from private and public collections.

The Bella Kelly Retrospective will build on the research undertaken for the Ripples in the Pond exhibition presented by Vancouver Arts Centre in 2014, which was developed to support the Great Southern Regional Tour of Koolark Koort Koorliny (Heart Coming Home); selected works from the Herbert Mayer Collection of Carrolup Artwork presented by John Curtin Gallery.

Through the Ripples in the Pond exhibition, Bella Kelly’s place in Noongar art history was re-evaluated. Bella Kelly had been previously described as being influenced by the Carrolup Style, whereas the research suggested that she may have been an important early influence on the Carrolup child artists.

Curated by Annette Davis

Developed with assistance from Department of Culture and the Arts: Connect Community Collections Grant.


Janis Nedela, Rose portraits, 1995-2004, collages and mixed media on black and white photographs, 64 x 52.5cm, 13 images in total

20 June - 21 August, 2016

Drawing from the Curtin University Art Collection, Assemblage features sculptures, paintings, jewellery and collage that are linked by a use of found or appropriated materials, and an experimental and playful approach to art-making. The exhibition showcases a range of artworks that are rarely publicly seen due to their fragile, complex or ephemeral nature, and many of the works have recently been restored.
With its roots in cubist collage, and connections to art movements including Dada, Surrealism, Futurism, Pop-art, Fluxus and Arte Povera, ‘Assemblage’ is a diverse and wide-ranging art form. William C Seitz, Curator of the seminal 1961 exhibition, The Art of Assemblage (New York Museum of Modern Art) described assemblages as being made up of both natural and salvaged or recycled materials that were not intended as art materials. For Seitz, the interplay between elements: both created and borrowed, creates new meaning (often through an “aura of associations”) that functions much like a poet’s use of metaphor.i

For the Contemporary art audience this ground breaking and progressive approach may now seem common place, however assemblage art was, and continues to be, a dynamic and inspiring art form. As Seitz describes, the term ‘Assemblage’ denotes, “not only a specific procedure and form . . . but also a complex of attitudes and ideas”ii. Paramount to this ‘attitude’ and conceptual approach is an embracing of experimentation and risk. As Anne Ellegood states, “Defying a classical notion of truth or a conventional idea of beauty in art, these earlier unorthodox practices sought out something new for art with an urgent commitment, ultimately asserting that art can, and should, be risky, contradictory, confrontational, and even unstable.”iii It could be argued that, as a use of found objects is central to its defining characteristics, so too is its eclectic and experimental nature and it is the latter that underpins its continuing relevance and fascination today.

Curated by Lia McKnight, John Curtin Gallery Collection Manager

Click the link to view curator Lia McKnight give a preview of selected pieces from the ASSEMBLAGE exhibition.

i William C Seitz; 1961; The Art of Assemblage; New York: The Museum of Modern Art; p13
ii Ibid, p 10
iii Anne Ellegood; Joanna Burton; 2006; The Uncertainty of Objects and Ideas: Recent Sculpture; Washington, D.C.: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution; p22



Shaun Gladwell, Carsten Höller and Jon Tarry
Perth International Arts Festival
11 February - 1 May, 2016


Image: Shaun Gladwell, Self Portrait Spinning and Falling (Paris), (2015), Single–channel HD video 16:9 , colour, silent, duration 11:00 minutes

Face to Face juxtaposes multi-faceted works by three distinguished artists: Shaun Gladwell, Carsten Höller and Jon Tarry. It is the first time Höller has exhibited work in Western Australia, and it also premieres new work from Gladwell and Tarry. In dedicated gallery spaces the work of each artist provides a dialogue between sound, image and the viewer. Featuring film shot in diverse situations in the Congo, Paris and Perth, the artists unravel the intoxicating power of performance be it solitary or to a mass crowd, competitively or in private.

Face to Face is a mesmerising experience where the intensity of three distinct works is amplified by their engagement with each other and their enticement to share in their energy.


Image: Carsten Höller + Måns Månsson, Fara Fara, (2014), 2–channel video installation, digitised 35 mm film and archival VHS material, colour, sound, projected on two screens, duration 13:00 minutes

Dark Mirror White Noise artwork preview, Jon Tarry on Vimeo.

Image: Shaun Gladwell, Self Portrait Spinning and Falling (Paris), (2015), Single–channel HD video 16:9 , colour, silent, duration 11:00 minutes


Image: Carsten Höller + Måns Månsson, Fara Fara, (2014), 2–channel video installation, digitised 35 mm film and archival VHS material, colour, sound, projected on two screens, duration 13:00 minutes

Image: Jon Tarry, Dark Mirror White Noise, (2015), immersive sculptural, drawing installation, digital projection, sound, performance, duration 11:00 minutes


A Perth International Arts Festival event supported by Visual Arts Program Partner Wesfarmers Arts.