Elyssia Bugg
Prima Materia

Prima Materia

Bundoora Homestead
11 May – 7 July 2019, curated by Emily Jones

By Elyssia Bugg

Honey, ore, vinegar, lead, venom, urine and lye. These are among some of the fifty or so elements used in Martin Ruland the Younger's 1612 text, Lexicon Alchemiae Sive Dictionarium Alchemistarum, to describe the concept of prima materia. Translating from Latin as "first matter", prima materia is a recurring, elusive object of alchemical and philosophical research. It is also, in name, one of...

Amelia Winata
Angelica Mesiti: ASSEMBLY

Angelica Mesiti, ASSEMBLY

Australia Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale
11 May – 24 November 2019

By Amelia Winata

Angelica Mesiti's sumptuous three-channel video ASSEMBLY takes democracy as its central concept. Curated by Juliana Engberg, the work slickly weaves together the artist's trademark vehicles of music and non-verbal language.

This is the third time that Denton Corker Marshall's black box pavilion has housed the Australian exhibition in the Giardini. 2017's offering, My H...

Rex Butler
Hans and Nora Heysen: Two Generations of Australian Art

Hans and Nora Heysen: Two Generations of Australian Art

The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia
8 March – 28 July 2019

By Rex Butler

I was quite prepared to come to Hans and Nora Heysen: Two Generations of Australian Art like a Countess blogger. Yet again the pairing of Nora Heysen with her father Hans, as though her story could only be told through him. Yet again the "Australianising" of Australian art history when this is also a German story and, when Nora goes overseas to study at the C...

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...

Audrey Schmidt
Octopus 19: Ventriloquy

Comedy and Chaos


Octopus 19: Ventriloquy

Gertrude Contemporary
31 May – 20 July 2019, curated by Joel Stern

By Audrey Schmidt

The 19th edition of Gertrude Contemporary's Octopus series, curated by Joel Stern, centres on the generative theme of ventriloquy. The comic, the sinister, the vaudevillian, the carnivalesque, the macabre, the puppet master, the pathological, the perverse all strike me as the most immediate connotations.

It is no surprise, however, that the curatorial focus i...

Anna Parlane
Michael Stevenson: <i>Serene Velocity in Practice: MC510/CS183</i>

Michael Stevenson, Serene Velocity in Practice: MC510/CS183

Monash University Museum of Art
22 May – 6 July 2019

By Anna Parlane

Serene Velocity in Practice: MC510/CS183, recently opened at the Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA), is the first major exhibition by the Berlin-based New Zealand artist Michael Stevenson to be held in Australia in some years. Since his survey show at Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art in 2011, Stevenson has generated a new body of work that demands a shi...

Philip Brophy
Christian Thompson: Baya Gardiya

Double Issue

This week Memo Review publishes two separate reviews of shows in Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Sophie Knezic considers Arlo Mountford's current show, Deep Revolt, for its visions of death and museological disaster at the Shepparton Art Museum.

Below Philip Brophy considers the idea of our moving image subjectivity in his review of Christian Thompson's VR commission at the Australian Centre of the Moving Image, Melbourne's 'other' national art institution in the wake of t...

Sophie Knezic
Arlo Mountford: Deep Revolt

Double Issue

This week Memo Review publishes two separate reviews of shows in Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Philip Brophy considers the idea of an ACMI subjectivity in his review of Christian Thompson's VR commission at the Australian Centre of the Moving Image, Melbourne's 'other' national art institution in the wake of the federal election.

Below Sophie Knezic considers Arlo Mountford's current show, Deep Revolt, for its visions of death and museological disaster at the Shepparton A...