Installation Contemporary presents an exhibition of innovative, site-specific and interactive installations ranging from the minute to the monumental throughout the fair. For 2018 we are pleased to present works curated by Nina Miall.



Call me by my name, 2018
Manual embroidery made with the assistance of DGTMB Studio
150 x 120 cm each
Yavuz Gallery, Singapore

Abdul Abdullah’s installation Call me by my name features several new embroideries hung in a circle at face height. The tapestries feature portraits with the subject’s eyes peering out at the viewer behind scrawled smiley-face emojis.

In making the work Abdullah was concerned about the accusations directed at younger generations that they are not living up to the former generation’s expectations. In these embroideries, young people each look out at the viewer from behind the superficially qualifying symbol of a smiley-face. The contrasting smiley-face icon and the figure lurking behind suggest a façade of joy, shielding the viewer from a deeper, more ominous truth concealed within the stoic sitter. It is used by the artist as a way to reflect the contemporary use of the emoji as a reductive form of written language, as hieroglyphs that rely on particular cultural understandings that can be cynical and dismissive. In Call me by my name the emoji acts as both a shield and a cover from charges of generational failure, and by hanging at face height the installation positions itself as a direct request for civility and respect. It asks the audience to afford others the specificity and complexity in judgement that they afford themselves.


Choices, 2016
Acrylic on board
300 x 160 cm
Galerie pompom, Sydney

Ron Adams’s large multi-panel works command attention and are like being shouted at. They often feature text, which is in some instances like a puzzle that is hard to work out. The works are autobiographical and formed out of personal experiences and influences. A large majority of the text Adams uses is borrowed from the 80s English pop band The Smiths, who played an enormous role in his life during this period. Adams likens Morrissey to a modern day Oscar Wilde - for Adams such important text needs not to be forgotten, and shouted to the world. For Installation Contemporary, Adams will exhibit the multi-panel painting Choices.

Adams’ large text installation declares: ‘I am the son and heir of nothing in particular,’ referencing The Smiths’ 1984 song How Soon is Now?, as well as an earlier iteration of this text work, exhibited in Our Lucky Country (still different) at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery in 2007. Naomi Evans wrote of the work’s 'observation that we are of a time where the past no longer promises a grand inheritance. These words haunt the uncertain territory of the arts in Australia today. But they also speak to opportunity, 'the fact that not one thing defines us, that we are a composite of parts, not one leading above the others.'*

* Naomi Evans, ‘Five Choices of Death’, exhibition essay for Our Lucky Country (still different), Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, 2007


Bagu of Girringun, 2018
Clay and mixed media
Dimensions variable
Sabbia Gallery, Sydney

The Bagu have been created by ten contemporary Indigenous artists from Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre. The Girringun artists generally work across many art forms and materials and are well known for their traditional weaving skills. Ceramics have become a major part of the artists’ practice, and the Bagu (firesticks) are a good example of this process. Traditionally, the firesticks were made up of two parts, the Bagu (body) and Jiman (sticks). Bagu is normally made from the boogadilla (milky pine tree) and Jiman are made from mudja (wild guava tree). The imagery on the Bagu is based on traditional patterns and motifs, storylines, the rainforest environment and contemporary culture of the rainforest Aboriginal people of the Girringun region in Far North Queensland. The artists use clay, string and other materials to evoke the spirit of the old people. This large installation of Bagu is representative of the artists’ connection to Country and the use of clay is a strong medium for their storytelling.

The Girringun Aboriginal Corporation represents the land and sea interests of Traditional Owners of nine tribal groups – the Nywaigi, Gugu-Badhun, Warrgamay, Warungnu, Girramay, Bandjin, Jirrbal, Gulnay and the Djiru people. These tribal groups are the Traditional Owners of the country which covers over 25,000 square kilometres ranging from Rollingstone in the south, Clarke River in the south-west, the Mission Beach area in the north, west to Mt Garnet area and east to include Hinchinbrook and the Family Group Islands in Far North Queensland. The Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre began full time operations in September 2008.


yetmorecontemporaryart (detail), 2017
Plywood, ceramic, earthenware
Dimensions variable
Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney

theheartisahousewiththedoorsleftopen is a continuation of Glenn Barkley’s interest in the grotto and the horror vacui – fear of empty spaces. The title of the work comes from a poem by Brisbane based poet Shastra Deo. The walls will be adorned with thousands of ceramic tokens that fill every surface, along with new vessels forms and collaborative works made with Sydney ceramicist Mechelle Bounpraseuth and Melbourne fibre artist Louise Meuwissen. Intense and jewel-box like, the work has connections to the idea of the ‘wunderkammer’ (cabinet of curiosities ), with many of the tokens based on forms from the natural worlds of the garden and the sea. The work will have an element of joy and the sheer abundance of tokens and density are both memorable and humbly spectacular.


Old Kahibah, 2018
Parish maps on vinyl, Old Kahibah sound extraction and abstraction,
locally sourced rocks and hollowed timber, violin, cello and bass strings
Dimensions variable
Photograph courtesy Lake Macquarie City Gallery
THIS IS NO FANTASY dianne tanzer + nicola stein, Melbourne

Megan Cope’s Old Kahibah is an interactive sound sculpture responding to the lands of the Awabakal people, a place of significant alteration and extraction, geological movements and extensive industrial histories. In this work the artist combines timber and rocks from Awabakal country together with metal strings that enable the elements of country to sing its story of change upon colonisation. Aboriginal artists and performers are invited to activate and create a passage of sound for Old Kahibah, mapping both country and sound vibrations.


2 Drop, 2013
Furniture, fluorescent tubes
Dimensions variable
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

Appearing like a grandiose chandelier, Bill Culbert’s 2 Drop comprises a cascade of upside-down chairs and tables with each piece of furniture pierced through by a single, five-foot-long fluorescent tube, at once simple and splendid. 2 Drop has a rhythm of its own, at the same time elegant, lyrical, humorous and sublime, welcoming all who wander under this light-filled sculptural installation. Culbert’s ability to transform ordinary and often discarded objects into an extraordinary ‘otherness’ is uplifting. Combining light and things with rare economy, he produces art that is austere, poetic and challenging in the way it invites us to revalue familiar objects and focus our perceptions. One of the world’s leading light artists, Culbert has had more than 100 solo exhibitions worldwide spanning an incredible 60-year career.


Anticipation Machine, 2017 
Acrylic mirror
190 x 70 x 70 cm
Dominik Mersch Gallery, Sydney

Sydney-based artist Lucas Davidson engages in a process of both forging and fracturing images of the self. For Installation Contemporary, Davidson will present Social Construct, a series of mirrored columns that use geometries and repetition to reconfigure the body. Social Construct stands as an anti-object in the way that it reflects and deflects visual attention away from the sculpture itself. What is on view is a fragmented mirror image of the viewer’s body, juxtaposed with other bodies and the immediate environment. By making his surfaces both self-referential and fluid Davidson aims to highlight the mutability of perception and identity, encouraging us to consider ourselves not as an uninterrupted whole but as pieces that are continuously shaped and informed by the broader context of our surroundings.

Penelope Davis

Sea Change, 2017
Silicon, nylon thread, plastic
Dimensions variable
Photograph: Matthew Stanton
MARS, Melbourne

Penelope Davis’ Sea Change is a sculptural installation that evokes the precarious beauty of the ocean environment and human impact upon it. Using jellyfish as a motif to examine consumption, environmental degradation and issues surrounding global warming, the work’s delicate beauty and unsettling hybridity invites viewers into an enveloping, contemplative space to reflect on their own relationship with the ocean environment, the natural world and the issues emerging from future climate change.

The works are silicone moulds cast from a range of objects – discarded industrial devices, electrical equipment, mass produced plastic items, organic vegetation and other sources. The artist hand sews these fragments together to create Frankenstein-like amalgams –plausible but mutant jellyfish. Displayed as an installation suspended from the ceiling, the works form a swarm, or smack, of jellyfish. Selected individual works are lit from within using LED lighting to animate the installation. These subtle lighting effects create an immersive installation that recalls the uncanny, dream-like space of the ocean depths


Downer, 2016
Oil on paper mounted on aluminium panel, timber, enamel on concrete, Hubba Bubba chewing gum
155 x 155 x 120 cm
Photo: Document Photography
Galerie pompom, Sydney

Using self-deprecating and wry humour, Chris Dolman employs self-portraiture, still life, and interior motifs, to explore absurd psychological narratives and tragicomic scenes of misfortune and loss. Mixing formalist tendencies with sometimes ad hoc materials, his figurative paintings and discreet ceramic objects mine the mundane melodramas of personal and artistic life and death.
For Installation Contemporary 2018, Dolman will use his typical mix of absurdist humour and gravitas to create I looked up and saw that we are alone, a small mise en scene in a corner of Carriageworks.

A single spot light. A monochromatic melancholy head in profile with its enormous protruding nose raises its gaze from under venetian blinds. Long thin legs in over sized tracksuit pants tower into the cavernous space above. Two hands hold open the blinds as a pair of eyes stare back through. Piercing. Blank.


L'Incivil (after maquette dated 2 August-December 1973), 1973/2014
polyurethane paint on epoxy
420.1 x 269.2 x 200 cm, overall installed
393.1 x 211.1 x 61.9 cm, sculpture
Work of art by Jean Dubuffet © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Pace Gallery, New York, Hong Kong, London, Beijing, Seoul, Palo Alto and Geneva

Jean Dubuffet’s L’Incivil (1973/2014) is one of the five figures that comprise the artist’s monumental sculptural complex Welcome Parade, originally conceived by Dubuffet during a long collaboration with architect I.M. Pei. This unique sculpture was produced in 2014 based on a model the artist made in 1973; it is the largest version of its figure and part of the only grouping that can be installed individually. Most recently presented in a major outdoor sculpture exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in 2017, L’Incivil highlights the artist’s continued interest and support of art brut – “raw art” – which for Dubuffet sprang from a spontaneous and obsessive need for the artist to express himself and rely on his own language and means of expression. .


'Radio Painting Station: Looking for the Waterhole' in Open Codes: Living in Digital worlds
December 15, 2017 to February 7, 2018
Zentrum für Kunst und Medien, Karlsruhe, Germany
Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland

Simon Ingram’s work develops an art/science conversation, often looking at knowledge and experience outside of art and embedding this within an electronic, painting-based framework. Over the last ten years, he has exhibited internationally at notable museums including MoMA PS1 in the US (2008), Frankfurter Kuntsverein (2012) and ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (2017/18) in Germany. Ingram’s project at Sydney Contemporary builds on the approaches he uses in his ongoing Radio Painting project, where invisible electromagnetic energy is collected and interpreted with custom antennae, electronics and software and then made visible as painting. Using new software and electronic tools, Ingram’s project will cultivate and interpret information from new sources to produce a series of paintings made by a machine built into a free-standing open framework.


Kaokao, 2017-2018
Powder coated mild steel, powder coated aluminium, mirror pane glass, neon
240 x 400 x 60 cm

Kaokao is a tukutuku chevron pattern found in Maori tribal houses that signifies fortitude and virility. Compositionally it aligns with the haka stance assumed as a prelude to war or in celebration of victory. The Kaokao chevron configuration is created by bringing together two crosses (X’s) with a bilateral inversion of the chevron to create the ‘K’ figure associated with Polynesian art. It is a motif that appears as an inverted ‘W’ pattern representing rows of headless humans, elbows on knees, on Austral Islands adzes. It is no coincidence that the double cross also aligns with many of the Maori signatures on the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi.

Kaokao continues Robert Jahnke’s engagement with transformative tukutuku (tribal house lattice work), conditioned in its first showing at headland Sculpture on the Gulf on Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf by an engagement with site (the Whetumatarau land block on the Island) and tangata whenua (Ngati Paoa). It was conceived as a cultural beacon to create a viewing portal that framed a heritage site on the Whetumatarau headland to remind people of a history of land alienation and the two waves of settlement on Waiheke Island: Maori and European.

ASH Keating

Gravity System Response, 2017
Synthetic polymer on linen
3 panels, each 350 x 200 cm
blackartprojects, Melbourne

In his most recent series of Gravity System Response paintings Ash Keating scales up his canvases to reach similar magnitude of his exterior public works.  Keating’s practice is a broad study of colour and the emotive influence of its properties. It is, at once, both minimalist and maximalist in its scope. In this work, swathes of pink, magenta, lavender and white fields fold in on each other, cascading down the lengths of canvas. Keating asserts that he ‘is not seeking awe in this way, but offering a space in which the viewer is distanced from the everyday hubbub for as long as they feel comfortable, be that a fleeting moment or an hour or two of contemplation.’  In his abstraction of space we find a moment to stop and consider our reaction to place. He is able to do so through the enormity of displacing time – time spent producing, experiencing and understanding its worth on a very personal level.


The Four Innumerables (detail), 2017
Mirror polished stainless steel
Dimensions variable
Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney

Lindy Lee’s practice explores her Chinese ancestry through Taoism and Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism – philosophies that see humanity and nature as inextricably linked. She employs chance and spontaneity to produce a galaxy of images that embody the intimate connections between human existence and the cosmos. Her works are meditative, often revealing themselves through time.

Installation Contemporary presents two of Lee’s Four Innumerables, sculptural objects that use light to create an immersive installation. Installed in a darkened space with the objects lit from within, the sculptures cast dapples and shadows around the interior surfaces, reflecting the Zen conception of ‘who’ and ‘what’ we are extending well beyond the boundaries of our skin.


Strontium – 90: Fallout Babies (installation view), 2016 
Blown glass, acrylic, found hospital cribs and vinyl wallpaper
Dimensions variable
THIS IS NO FANTASY dianne tanzer + nicola stein

Yhonnie Scarce’s work references the ongoing effects of colonisation on Aboriginal people. In Strontium – 90: Fallout Babies, Scarce returns to her birthplace in Woomera, South Australia, to investigate the British Atomic testing carried out in Maralinga area during the 1950s and 60’s and the effects radiation had on the local indigenous population. The work is a poignant and evocative installation consisting of five 1970’s neo natal baby cribs containing Scarce’s iconic hand blown bush fruits set against a large scale wallpaper mural of Woomera.


The Golden Calf, 2018
Polyethylene road barriers, printed vinyl
350 x 191 x 191cm
Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney

The Golden Calf is a large stack of  barriers of the kind used in road safety, arranged in a cross-hatched pattern, and crowned with a single gold barrier. The work serves as an effigy to a world ever-more intent on throwing up walls to divide us.

In an age of closing borders, and the seemingly endless rebuilding of our cities in the name of progress, the wall and barrier are potent symbols of our age. Installed in Carriageworks as part of Sydney Contemporary, The Golden Calf disrupts the lines of sight of visitors within the art fair, through which so much money and influence flows. It asks us to consider where our attention and values are focused, and what we fail to see behind the wall.

This work represents a revisiting of Seton’s previous work with marble barriers, created in 2007 in response to the APEC summit and the post-9/11 world. Revisited some 10 years on, the work asks us to consider how far we’ve come in that time, and if anything has really changed.


Oneirophrenia (Blue), 2015
Concrete, plywood
160 x 340 x 40 cm
Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney

Tim Silver’s recent sculptural series Oneirophrenia (Blue) presents one facet of Silver’s exploration of the interface between time and decay, particularly in relation to the human body. Rather than using traditional sculptural materials that strive towards a sense of permanence, Silver often uses organic or entropic mediums that degrade and change over time. For this body of work, Silver has filled busts with bread dough and, as it has risen, breaks through the plaster skin. From this he has created unique concrete casts of each bust. Silver dismantles the traditional concept of the classical bust and creates random mutations of matter.

‘Oneirophrenia’ derives from the Greek works oneiros, meaning ‘dreams’, and phrenos, meaning ‘mind’. It is defined as a hallucinatory, dreamlike state caused by prolonged sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, or drug use. In Greek mythology, the Oneiroi were the three sons of the god of night or sleep, and personifications of the act of dreaming. Morpheus, the winged god of dreams, could take on a human form, Phobetor personified nightmares, masked as animals or monsters,  and Phantasos created surreal or illusionary dreams.


Light Shifter, 2017
Powder coated stainless steel, reflective glass, mirror, LED lighting, fan and concrete plinth
120 x 85 x 85cm (including plinth)
Photograph: Pippy Mount
MARS, Melbourne

Jason Sims works in the realm of perceptual art. Utilising the properties of light and reflection, he constructs wall works, freestanding sculptures, large-scale installations and public artwork that create simple illusions of space and form. These objects, that appear to defy limitations of three-dimensional space, invite a kind of examination of the world as we see it, or at least believe we see it. Light Shifter is his first exploration into designing work suitable for outdoor conditions. During the day it reflects the surrounding environment, tracing movement and re-presenting elements of the adjacent built environment, green spaces and sky. At night, it transforms and the illusion within comes alive to create a seductive expanse of infinite space.

Sims has exhibited across Australia as well as in Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA. His work is held in major public and private collections, including Artbank, the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Gippsland Art Gallery.


Scape, 2017
226 sheets of hand-carved plywood
240 x 200 x 30 cm
Utopia Art Sydney

Kylie Stillman's Scape is a free-standing stack of over 200 hand-cut plywood panels. The work continues Stillman’s use of everyday materials and follows her use of books and papers to form the objects into which she carves. These often enigmatic ‘blocks' have a presence in themselves and, in this case, from one side Stillman has formed a solid and impenetrable wall. But on the other side she has carved into each sheet to reveal a small section of a forest. In her trademark style the form is removed from the block and it is the resultant shadow lines and revealed textures that create the pretence of a forest that is in fact not there at all.

This is a conundrum too, as the view of the woods is created by the removal of wood. This absence of the trees is not accidental, it is a lyrical prompt for the viewer to reconsider the origins of the materials we use to assemble our constructed world. The tangle of trees forms its own barrier of sorts but exists too as a picturesque view, a framed reminder of the natural world.


Gold Waves (detail), 2017
Digital work
4 channels, 6 channels, 8 channels and 12 channels, continuous loop
Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney

The movement of waves in water is simulated in a computer-generated three-dimensional space. The water is expressed as a continuous body after calculating the interactions of hundreds of thousands of particles. To visualize the waves, the behavior of the particles of the water was then extracted and lines were drawn in relation to the movement of the particles. The wave created in a 3-D space is then turned into an artwork in accordance with what teamLab refers to as ultrasubjective space.

teamLab is an ultra-technologists group comprised of programmers (user interface engineers, database engineers, network engineers, hardware engineers, computer vision engineers, software architects), mathematicians, architects, CG animators, web designers, graphic designers, artists, editors and more. They create works through "experimentation and innovation" making the borders between science, technology, art and design more ambiguous. They are one of the hottest new artist groups working in the world today with exhibitions opening in a number of major international museums over the next year.


Pointing figure (detail), 2017
Painted cast urethane on expanded polystyrene, fibreglass, clothing,
wig, expanded urethane foam, painted acrylic plaster
152 x 70 x 60cm
Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney

'Ronnie van Hout’s tragicomic oeuvre references a wide range of sources, from science fiction, cults and cinema to art history and popular and celebrity culture. He frequently draws upon childhood experiences and recollections to create wryly amusing yet heart-rending micro fictions. Casting fragile, lonely figures in the midst of perplexing scenarios, van Hout masterfully evokes familiar and yet strange interior worlds. His unsettling tableaux unleash deep social anxieties and feelings of self-consciousness, triggering the impulse to simultaneously laugh and cry.'

Melissa Keys - Curator, No one is watching you, Buxton Contemporary, 12 July – 21 October 2018

Van Hout works across a wide variety of media including sculpture, video, painting, photography, embroidery and sound recordings. Drawing from an extensive range of sources, his unsettling works mine his own life experiences with humour and pathos, exploring concepts of identity in a changing world. His work often focuses on his own persona as an artist and inherent notions of ambition, success and failure.


Untitled (detail), 2012
Paint pen on clear acetate plastic
81 × 61.5 cm
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

Acclaimed for her extraordinary gift of mark making and storytelling, Nyapanyapa Yunupingu's work recalls practices of graffiti; her minimal, repeated figures invoking the spontaneity of this urban mark-making gesture. This is complemented by material experimentation, as Yunupingu often integrates organic pigment with industrially produced texta-pen. Nyapanyapa Yunupingu was most recently selected to present an installation of bark and larrakitj paintings titled Gäna (self) in the Encounters sector of Art Basel Hong Kong 2018, curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor. Yunupingu was a finalist in the Wynne Prize 2017 with her exquisite bark painting titled Landscape, and in 2016 was selected for the 20th Biennale of Sydney: The future is already here - its just not evenly distributed, curated by Stephanie Rosenthal.




Nina Miall is an independent curator and writer based in Sydney. Primary among her curatorial concerns are socially engaged and relational practices, and the politics and poetics of performance. From 2012–2017, Miall was a curator at Carriageworks, Sydney, where she commissioned ambitious new work across a variety of disciplines and media. At Carriageworks, she co-curated the inaugural multi-venue biennial exhibition The National 2017: New Australian Art and was responsible for a major cross-disciplinary project 24 Frames Per Second, 2012–2015. Other exhibitions include 1917: The Great Strike, Nick Cave: HEARD.SYD, 2016, Francesco Clemente: Encampment, 2016, Ross Manning: Melody Lines, 2016, and One Year Performance: 1980-1981, by Taiwanese performance artist Tehching Hsieh, 2014. Prior to Carriageworks, Miall was based in London for 12 years where she was a director of leading contemporary art gallery Haunch of Venison from 2006–2011, curating numerous exhibitions with artists such as Philippe Parreno, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, and Jitish Kallat across the gallery’s four spaces in London, Berlin, Zurich and New York, as well as surveys of contemporary South African art and Soviet Non-Conformist art. Throughout this time she was also a Trustee of the non-profit art space Beaconsfield in Vauxhall, London. In 2010, Miall participated in the ICA’s mentorship program for young cultural leaders and in 2009, she was shortlisted for the Hayward Touring’s Curatorial Open competition. From 2003–2005, Miall was Head of Public Programmes for the Royal Academy of Arts in London, working with artists such as David Hockney, Ed Ruscha, Jeff Koons, and Frank Auerbach.