Francis Plagne
Elizabeth Newman

Elizabeth Newman

Neon Parc City

16 October – 16 November 2019

In 2010, Elizabeth Newman exhibited a work called 1988, a brown envelope (propped up on a log), on the lower left hand corner of which 'Derrida' is written. The piece can be seen as emblematic of the concerns of much of her work of the last decade or so. Containing Newman's study notes from a course in continental philosophy she took many years before, the humble brown envelope is charged with a suggestion of meaning. Yet its...

Francis Plagne
Janet Burchill and Jennifer McCamley: Temptation to Co-exist

Janet Burchill and Jennifer McCamley: Temptation to Co-Exist

Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne
6 April – 14 July 2019

By Francis Plagne

It is a somewhat disconcerting experience setting out to review an exhibition when one has the distinct feeling that whatever might be said about it has already occurred to the artists and is already, in some sense, factored into the work itself. This is precisely the feeling one has moving through this well-curated retrospective of the work of Janet...

Francis Plagne
Visions of Paradise

Visions of Paradise: Indian Court Paintings

National Gallery of Victoria, Southbank

7 Dec 2018 – 29 Apr 2019

By Francis Plagne

Visions of Paradise is an unexpected delight. Bringing together nearly 200 works on paper from the NGV's 1980 Felton Bequest acquisitions of Indian painting, the exhibition offers up a feast of fine details, lavish lifestyles and sizzling colours. Even for the historically uninformed viewer like me, the offerings are an irresistible invitation to rekindle the jo...

Francis Plagne
Spencer Lai: A smile forms into a grimace | Matilda Davis: Too Many Dinner Parties

Spencer Lai, A smile forms into a grimace mid-slumber as the earth spins—it's funny, such is the sound of laughter—it is like god's hands on the shoulders of a troubled world


Matilda Davis, Too Many Dinner Parties

Bus Projects
31 October – 24 November 2018

By Francis Plagne

The fascination of bad taste continues to exert its somewhat mysterious pull on certain sub-scenes in the Melbourne artworld. Spencer Lai's current show in the front room at Bus Projects—part of the gallery's 'Wi...

Francis Plagne
Robert Smithson: Time Crystals

Double Issue

This week Memo Review publishes two separate reviews of Robert Smithson: Time Crystals at Monash University Museum of Art.

Below Francis Plagne considers the show as a whole, including an in-depth engagement with the curators' positioning of Smithson's practice.

Philip Brophy, whose review is available by clicking here, considers the sound that lightly floats throughout the gallery's spaces, emanating from two films: Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty (1970) and Nancy Holt an...

Francis Plagne
Abstraction 17: A Field of Interest, c. 1968

Abstraction 17: A Field of Interest, c. 1968

Charles Nodrum Gallery, Abstraction 17: A Field of Interest, c. 1968, 26 April - 19 May, 2018.

By Francis Plagne

What is the art museum for? What is its distinctive function? Is it, as the traditional humanist explanation holds, to preserve the treasures of humanity embodied in art works, collective treasures to which the public has the right of access as a source of ‘ennobling enjoyment’ (as a Parliamentary Commission in 1857 explained the ro...

Francis Plagne
Tony Clark: Chinoiserie Landscape 1987 - 2017

Tony Clark, Chinoiserie Landscape 1987 - 2017

Murray White Room, Melbournee, 16 February – 29 March 2018

By Francis Plagne

Paul Taylor’s famous ‘Popism’ manifesto of 1982 included an exhortation to Australian artists to embrace the gulf separating them from the traditional centres of Western art history, to craft an art ‘born in mediation, gestated within the camera, where things are naturally upside-down, and expressed in a carnivalesque array of copies, inversions and negatives’. The sa...

Francis Plagne
Douglas Lance Gibson: What Was Once Yesterday Today & Tomorrow

Douglas Lance Gibson, What Was Once Yesterday Today & Tomorrow

Tolarno Galleries, Level 4/104 Exhibition St, Melbourne, 16 November 2017 - 16 December 2017

By Francis Plagne

As I was about to leave Tolarno Galleries after spending some time with Douglas Lance Gibson’s What Was Once Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow, his first show with the gallery, I was stopped by two men. One, who I assume was some sort of building manager, informed me that a theft in the gallery had just been reported and...