Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution
Frida Kahlo is one of the most recognisable and influential artists of all time, renowned for her unflinching self-portraits and radical exploration of identity. This month, the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) is presenting an exclusive exhibition that puts her legacy in conversation with that of her husband, painter and muralist of revolutionary Mexico, Diego Rivera, as well as a raft of their peers. It’s the most comprehensive exhibition of Mexican modernism ever seen in Australia – with more than 150 works, as well as photographs, video and personal artefacts, immersing visitors in Mexico’s art world of the early to mid-20th century. Alongside the duo’s passionate and political art, spanning the Mexican revolution and their own turbulent love affair, will be works by contemporaries including Manuel and Lola Álvarez Bravo, Miguel Covarrubias, María Izquierdo, Carlos Mérida, David Alfaro Siqueiros.
Ramsay Art Prize
Held every two years, the $100,000 Ramsay Art Prize is the richest prize for Australian artists under 40. This year’s winner is local artist Ida Sophia for her performance-based video work Witness, which is now showing at AGSA. Informed by an early childhood epiphany of sorts at her father’s baptism, Witness was shot in a single take at the Pool of Siloam in Wirmalngrang/Beachport, SA. The single-channel video work, which will go into the gallery’s permanent collection, depicts the artist being repeatedly submerged in an intense series that takes a single baptism to the level of relentless obsession. Sophia was selected from 27 finalists from across the country, among them Abdul Abdullah; Sundari Carmody; and Zaachariaha Fielding, who recently won the $50,000 Wynne Prize. All the shortlisted works are being shown at AGSA until August 27. A People’s Choice Prize of $15,000 will be chosen by the public and announced on August 11.
Rockamora at Ace is the first major gallery exhibition by multidisciplinary Adelaide artist Kaspar Schmidt Mumm, who’s also a member of performance art collective The Bait Fridge and band Slowmango. The titular work – named after his mum’s primary school bully – is a large-scale interactive animatronic puppet. Audience members are invited to feed, clean and care for this “bully”, encouraging them to empathise with a misunderstood antagonist as a way of countering experiences of harassment and discrimination. (Influenced by his mother’s own art therapy programs in hospitals and aged care, Schmidt Mumm’s practice is based in a belief in the rehabilitative qualities of art.) The work is the outcome of Schmidt Mumm’s 2023 Porter Street Commission – Ace’s annual $20,000 contemporary art award – and builds upon his experimentation with absurdist and comical art-making. The exhibition runs from June 10 to August 12.
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The gallery is also hosting a one-off dinner on Thursday June 29 as part of its Diner Club series, with a menu by chef Jessie Spiby (My Grandma Ben) that draws inspiration from the Rockamora exhibition. Each course will be accompanied by "narration-as-performance" by Schmidt Mumm. Tickets are $175 per person and available online now.
An Australian-first experience fresh from its premiere run in Montreal, Mirror Mirror is a playground of immersive digital installations inside the remodelled Illuminate Pavilion in Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga. The multi-room experience, including a reimagined hall of mirrors, changes with every audience interaction via cutting-edge interactive technology – transforming your words into dazzling light displays, or sending ripples through a river of time with your movements. The ticketed show runs from June 28 to July 30. It's by Montreal-based multimedia studio Moment Factory, who are also behind Resonate in the Adelaide Botanic Garden – this year's follow-up to the group’s sell-out show Light Cycles, which lit up the gardens in 2021 and 2022 – featuring six newly created installations along a 1.7-kilometre night-time trail. Resonate runs from June 29 to July 30.
The free, city-wide Illuminate Adelaide centrepiece City Lights returns this winter with 40 new installations, projections and large-scale activations. Among them is a towering, sculptural floral field that awakens at night to put on the ultimate fireworks display; a “supersized musical jungle” of light, colour and sound; and an east end-wide series of portraits by chef and artist Poh Ling Yeow, based on her signature series, The Girl. There’ll also be a work – Into the Light – projected onto Government House, highlighting innovative women in South Australian history. And a new series – Augmented Revolution – sees contemporary First Nations artists using AR as a storytelling platform. Three artists – Carly Tarkari Dodd, Jaydenlee Tong and Temaana Yundu Sanderson-Bromley – will explore themes of identity, connection to Country and disruption. City Lights will run nightly around the CBD from July 7 to 23.
Still Self and Flower Punk: Permaculture for Arts’n’Craft
Still Self at The Mill brings together artworks that explore connection to, and disconnection from, the self. Each work exists as a glimpse, a moment captured and shared, revealing traces of emotions, spaces and bodies through different mediums including painting, sculpture, moving image and installation. The group exhibition is curated by Adele Sliuzas and features works by Crista Bradshaw, Steel Chronis, Hamish Fleming, Honor Freeman and Angelique Joy. Also on at The Mill, Flower Punk: Permaculture for Arts’n’Craft is the debut exhibition for studio resident Peter Owen. Celebrating the history of repurposed materials, it features collaborations with other studio residents Fleming, Julianne Brandt, Blake Canham-Bennett, Eleanor Green, Evie Hassiotis, Kate O’Callaghan, Bob Window and Robyn Wood. Both exhibitions are running until June 16.
By the Time You Read This We Shall All Be Dead
After more than 10 years showing in Melbourne and Sydney, SA artist Rebecca Hastings will exhibit for the first time at Bowden’s Praxis Artspace with a survey of recent work. Hastings’s practice reflects and draws on both personal and collective existential anxieties. Adopting the conventions of figurative and still life painting, her classically rendered works merge uncanny and gothic tropes with the everyday to convey surreal, otherworldly narratives. The exhibition, which runs until July 1, acknowledges the inexpressible fears of our time, playing out as a memento mori for the planet, our innocence, and humanity.
Sine Qua Non (Without Which, Not)
Over at Feltspace, artists Aleda Laszczuk and Morgan Brazill Barry are also examining the discomfort and precariousness of today’s world. This exhibition is a collection of interactions, an attempt at connection through increasing intolerance, disassociation and alienation. The pair are transgressing shape and meaning, shifting and intersecting found and created objects, and blurring metaphorical lines between spectator-actor, exploiter-exploited and looker-observed. Some questions the exhibition poses: Does the object exist without your perception of it? Can art exist without meaning? And does that make you, the observer, a part of the art itself? It's showing in the front gallery until June 24.