A painting or a photograph is a visual memory, with all the flaws and romanticisms of human recollection. These four shows deal, in their own ways, with memory: beautiful, false, degraded and unreal.

After… by various
Arts Project Australia, Northcote
There are multiple Vermeers, including four girls with pearl earrings, several Van Goghs, a Matisse, a Nolan and a Hockney … they’re names that would make it the biggest, most eclectic show in town, if they weren’t explicitly re-makes or copies. No art exists in a vacuum. It all recalls what’s gone before. After… is a collection of works that shows their influences a little more prominently than most, often through a simple, naive lens. The originals aren’t always immediately recognisable, but what lingers is seeing the classics through other people’s eyes. After… is in its last week, so catch it before August 22.

For Future Reference by various
CCP, Fitzroy
This beautiful group show at the Centre for Contemporary Photography doesn’t limit itself to that medium – it also incorporates elements of painting and sculpture. Justine Varga’s series, Moving Out, records the off-white, stained walls of a freshly vacated studio space. Julian Aubrey Smith photographs a painting of a sculpture, and then runs it through a Google-image search to find a similarly coloured, but entirely unrelated image. Most captivatingly, Rodney Glick and David Solomon’s installation Joe Binsky’s Tree of Life presents a series of stock photographs – the sort that come in K-Mart photo frames – as keepsakes of an old man’s constructed “family”. All these and more explore the deterioration of reality into an imperfect but personalised history of memory.

das schwerste Gewicht by Emily Hunt
Chapter House Lane, CBD
Continuing the themes of the exotic grotesqueries that made up Hunt’s last show, Doctrine of Eternal Recurrence, the works on display in Chapter House Lane seem at first to be miniature paradises. On closer inspection these colourful landscapes are in fact hellscapes, constructed from massive, featureless facemasks and populated by tiny figures, murderous and desperate. It’s a tropical, uncanny world that forces you to see tiny acts of brutality in the midst of the flippant and colourful.

What noise does a pig make? by Tully Moore
Gertrude Glasshouse, Collingwood
The first artist to exhibit in Gertrude Contemporary’s new Glasshouse space is Tully Moore with his show What noise does a pig make? Exploring recession, austerity and government cutbacks, Moore’s work started while travelling in the wake of post-financial-crisis protests in Spain and Ireland. “I’m re-presenting these graffiti markings I kept coming across,” Moore told us a few weeks ago. “They were all fat-cat bankers and pigs.” They’re satirical representations of wealth, and despite being essentially outdated, they keep coming back to haunt us. These huge banner collages of the chaotic images of poverty and protest benefit from the 360-degree view the new Glasshouse space gives them.