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MCA Exhibition Explores Intersection of Australian Artistic and Literary Worlds
Destiny Deacon, Whiteys Watching 1994–2003 light jet print from Polaroid 100 x 120 cm. Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased 2005 © the artist.

SYDNEY.- The intersection of Australia’s literary and contemporary art worlds is the subject of a new exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) opening this autumn. avoiding myth & message: Australian artists and the literary world presents works by 28 contemporary Australian artists whose practice has been informed by literature.

Curated by Glenn Barkley and running from 7 April until 12 July 2009, avoiding myth & message take up major themes within the Australian literary and visual traditions themes which often overlap such as the landscape/interior, text and image, urban life, politics and the personal.

Predominantly an MCA collection based exhibition it will include ephemera, publications and media-based works produced by artists and publishers from 1968 onwards.

Artists on view include Destiny Deacon, Rosalie Gascoigne, Shaun Gladwell, Vernon Ah Kee, Robert Macpherson, Sandra Selig, Ruark Lewis, Mike Parr, Noel McKenna, Imants Tillers and Jenny Watson.

avoiding myth & message presents artists who have worked in an illustrative mode; artists who use words and texts within their work; and practitioners who adopt a more poetic, narrative-based approach inspired by literature’s ability to create a visual world based on language.

Works range from Vernon Ah Kee’s vinyl wall piece Many lies (2004) which has been specially reconfigured for the exhibition cascading down an 11 metre wall, to Sandra Selig’s Surface of Change (2007), a work created using pages from a children’s science book that have had words removed, leaving a new kind of poetry.

The work of popular zinester and author Vanessa Berry is included. Berry’s 12 year career has seen her create more than 120 zines culminating in 2007 with the publication of her book Strawberry Hills Forever.

Two works from the early 1970s by Mike Parr, Wall Definition (1971) and the seminal conceptual artist’s book, Black Box of Word Situations (1971–91), will be displayed as they were in Inhibodress when first exhibited in 1971.

Later key collaborative book works and journals such as Assembly Book, Magic Sam, Surfers Paradise and Cocabola will be included in the exhibition, as well as individual writer and artists’ texts and publications, performance footage and works that trace the emergence of feminist, multicultural and gay voices within the literary and artistic scenes.

This historical section of the exhibition will also include a number of texts reproduced straight onto the wall, as well as works and publications by major figures within the Australian literary and artistic worlds, such as
Tim Johnson, John Forbes, Tim Burns, Anna Couani, Vicki Viidakis, John Tranter, Pam Brown and Micky Allan.

To coincide with the exhibition, the MCA will be host its annual MCA Zine Fair on Sunday 26 May. This popular event, launched in 2008, has already earned a large supporter base and the 2009 fair is eagerly anticipated by Sydney Zinesters.

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