press release

The Image is not Nothing

26 February - 24 April 2021

Mareike Bernien and Kerstin Schroedinger (DE), Kumanara Boogar (Yalata, AU), Phil Collins (DE), Megan Cope (Quandamooka), Trent Crawford (Naarm, AU), Pam Diment (Ceduna, AU), Niki Hastings-McFall (Aotearoa/ W. Samoa), Korpys/Löffler (DE), Rosemary Laing (AU), Hayley Millar Baker (AU), Sanja Pahoki (Woiwurrung, AU), Warren Paul (Ebay) (Yalata, AU), Ashley Perry (Quandamooka), Nina Sanadze (AU), Jelena Telecki (AU), Unbound Collective (Kaurna Yarta, AU), Judy Watson (Waanyi)

Curated by Lisa Radford & Yhonnie Scarce

The Image is not Nothing (Concrete Archives) is a group exhibition that explores the ways in which acts of nuclear trauma, Indigenous genocide and cultural erasure have been memorialised by artists and others. It comes as the result of research by curators Lisa Radford and Yhonnie Scarce whose fieldwork has encompassed sites of significance including Auschwitz, Chernobyl, Fukushima, Hiroshima, Maralinga, New York, Wounded Knee and former Yugoslavia.

In the wake of the historic devastations that have occurred at these sites, architecture (brutalist buildings, monuments and memorials) and imagery (photographs, diarised accounts) remain⎯an archive of human history and loss scattered across the globe. They are the physicality of immeasurable atrocities and attempts at representing the intangible. When acts of genocide that have occurred in Australia since colonisation are routinely overlooked or disregarded, The Image is not Nothing (Concrete Archives) ultimately looks here and elsewhere in order to grapple with traumas that Australia as a nation has not processed.

The exhibition presents new and existing work in a range of material forms by over 20 emerging and established artists from the lands that make up Australia and abroad. It will be accompanied by the launch of a special edition archive (complementing the pre-existing online archive published on Art + Australia) and exhibition catalogue (featuring essays by Yankunytjatjara Anangu woman Karina Lester and Azza Zein), designed and published by Person Books and available to purchase.

A series of public program events will accompany the show—we will release more information in due course.

The Image is not Nothing (Concrete Archives) premieres at ACE Open as part of the 2021 Adelaide Festival program before touring to Margaret Lawrence Gallery, The University of Melbourne.

This project has been made possible by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, The Centre of Visual Art (CoVA) at the University of Melbourne and the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria – Creators Fund.