Artspace, Sydney


28 July, 2017 – 2 October, 2017

Francis Alÿs, Brook Andrew, Del Kathryn Barton, Farida Batool, Vivienne Binns, Leigh Bowery, Destiny Deacon and Virginia Fraser, Christine Dean, Kelly Doley and Diana Baker Smith, Ella Dreyfus, Regina José Galindo, Amala Groom, Samuel Hodge, Geumhyung Jeong, Kate Just, Samson Kambalu, Deborah Kelly, Barbara Kruger, Radha La Bia, Pat Larter, Richard Larter, Leigh Ledare, Gary Lee, LIP, Teresa Margolles, Dani Marti, Chris Mason, Marie McMahon, Ebecho Muslimova, Eileen Myles and Jill Soloway, Rabbya Naseer and Hurmat Ul Ain, Tracey Rose, Patrick Staff, A.L. Steiner, Martine Syms, VNS Matrix, Gillian Wearing, David Wojnarowicz, William Yang, Women’s Domestic Needlework Group, Cao Yu

Curated by Talia Linz and Alexie Glass-Kantor

The second exhibition in a three-part speculation on one idea, this year THE PUBLIC BODY .02 brings together the work of over forty artists and collectives from the 1970s to the present, integrating the archival and the contemporary to draw connections between works across decades.

Extending on THE PUBLIC BODY .01’s exploration of contemporary representations of the body and, in particular, the naked and/or sexualised body, the second iteration delves further back to highlight a range of practices embedded in feminist, queer and anti-racist subjectivities. The exhibition includes new works alongside key contributions from renowned artists whose practices have been central to contemporary art’s consideration of the body as agent and instrument.

In THE PUBLIC BODY .02 bodies are displaced, contaminated, insatiable and vulnerable; attempting to function within the constraints of the flesh and challenging its limits through a performative refrain. Bodies are both witnessed and witnessing. Some take refuge in the safety and power of distinct communities and networks, while others struggle to free themselves from the dictates of systems that reduce and subjugate.

The public body underscored is not a linear and knowable entity, but rather consciously fractured, complex and multifarious. It’s wild and perverse, uncertain and unstable. The exhibition is deliberately troubled and thorny, juxtaposing a range of divergent works from emerging to deceased artists not previously exhibited together. An open, porous architectural structure has been deployed as a means of inviting connectivity throughout, encouraging a textured conversation and fluidity of ideas. In addition, a selection of manifestos billposted around the space illuminate the ways in which artists work with intertextuality to examine the political terrain of the public body.

The inclusion of international artists whose works are rarely seen in Australia is important to ensuring the dialogue has resonance beyond borders. To that end, THE PUBLIC BODY .02 includes artists from 14 countries including China, South Korea, Guatemala, Singapore, Pakistan, South Africa, Mexico and Russia, alongside 19 Australian and 4 Indigenous Australian artists.