New book celebrates AGSA’s collection

A book launched this week showcases 500 key works in the Art Gallery of South Australia’s collection ­– from a pair of 18th-century six-panel Japanese screens depicting battle scenes, to Australian contemporary artist Lindy Lee’s 6m sculpture The Life of Stars which sits on the gallery’s forecourt.

“The works of art selected for this publication represent just 1 per cent of the entire AGSA collection,” says gallery director Rhana Devenport. “This spirited compilation nonetheless harnesses the liveliness, rigour, beauty, intellectual force and expressive power of an exceptional collection ­– one that will continue to inspire long into the future.”

Lindy Lee, The Life of Stars, 2017; acquired through the James and Diana Ramsay Fund 2018 to honour the achievements of former AGSA director Nick Mitzevich; Art Gallery of SA, courtesy Lindy Lee. Photo: Saul Steed

AGSA says the artworks were selected for their relevance and “ability to act as touchstones to myriad ideas”. They are arranged broadly within the groupings of Australian, Asian and international art, and are presented in reverse chronology so readers can time travel as they browse the pages and explore the diverse artforms within the gallery’s collection.

Highlights in AGSA 500 (available in the gallery’s gift shop and online) include a painting by 20th-century Australian artist Clarice Beckett, who was the subject of an acclaimed exhibition at the gallery in 2021; a 6m-long painting depicting the ancestral bond between sisters, made by the Ken Family Collaborative in Amata in the APY Lands; a tableau of works by celebrated Adelaide glass artist Clare Belfrage; landscape artist Tom Roberts’ 1891 painting A break away!, depicting an Australian drover and his mob of stampeding sheep; and British artist Claude Flight’s 1929 colour linocut Brooklands, which is said to capture the excitement of living in a new era post-World War I.

The book also includes works by the late SA designer Khai Liew that were made in collaboration with Bruce Nuske.

As well as information about each of the 500 works, the publication shares the stories of gallery directors, curators, donors, artists and other suppoters. In particular, AGSA pays tribute to arts philanthropist Max Carter, who passed away last month, saying his generosity made possible both the book and many of the highlighted acquisitions ­– including a pair of six-panel screens by Japanese artist Takaya Koho that are currently on display in the exhibition Misty Mountain, Shining Moon.

New step for ADT dancer

ADT artistic associate Briana Kell.

Dancer and choreographer Brianna Kell has been appointed artistic associate at Australian Dance Theatre as the company prepares to premiere its latest work as part of the Adelaide Festival program in March.

Kell joined the ADT ensemble in 2022 and has danced in works including artistic director Daniel Riley’s SAVAGE. One of her recent choreographed pieces was presented as part of the company’s Cultivate: One season at the end of last year.

As artistic associate she will work alongside Riley, who says she brings “a wealth of experience, knowledge and heart with her to this role”.

Kell is currently in rehearsal for Marrow, which will open at the Odeon Theatre on March 13.

Marrow is shaping up to be a really important and moving piece that has a lot to say about this country and where we all find ourselves,” she says, “It’s a privilege to make work that you believe in, and I’m looking forward to contributing to the company in a whole new way as artistic associate.”

Check out these works-in-progress

Ten new works-in-progress spanning theatre, dance and storytelling will be presented as part of the Adelaide Festival Centre’s inSPACE program in 2024.

Established more than 20 years ago with the aim of supporting the development of performance works by South Australian independent creatives, inSPACE also offers an opportunity for audience members to take part in the artistic process.

Paper Trails is part of the 2024 inSPACE program.

Artists in this year’s program include dancers and choreographers Ade Suharto (recently profiled on InReview) and Alison Currie, who will present their new interactive dance piece Maintain Rest Value;  Zoë Dunwoodie and Tim Overton, with a children’s theatre show following “a puppet’s journey through the cosmos and the mind”; and theatre-maker and performer Hew Parham (Symphonie de la Bicyclette), with new work Visions of God Support Group.

The first performance of the year, Paper Trails by Sarah Wilson, will be presented on February 1 at the Festival Centre’s Drama Centre Rehearsal Room and is described as a reflection on the histories of loved ones, while the season will close out in December with Fish Bowl Productions’ work-in-progress The Rat Race, which explores what it is like to experience the world differently. Among the other works in between will be Cheryl Pickering’s French Guise, inspired by the life of 17th-century French bisexual sword-fighting opera singer Julie d’Aubigny.

Callan Flemming, inSPACE programming executive, says the program is “a vital incubator for groundbreaking artistic voices”.

“We are excited by what these incredible artists have in store for us this year – the line-up promises to challenge, inspire, and educate on the artistic process.”

All the performances are free. You can see the full program and register your interest in attending events here.

Career-launching opportunity for guitar players

Applications have opened this week for the Adelaide International Classical Guitar Competition, which offers a top prize of $10,000, a Jim Redgate guitar worth $23,000 and the chance to perform at the Adelaide Guitar Festival.

Described as a career-launching opportunity, the online audition round is open to musicians from around the world until April 3, 2024. Entrants must be aged 35 years or younger. Full details are available here, with the competition final scheduled for September 15 during the 2024 Adelaide Guitar Festival.

Green Room is a regular column for InReview, providing quick news for people interested, or involved, in South Australian arts and culture.

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