The Art Gallery of New South Wales has entered into a three-year partnership with global financial services firm UBS to present the gallery’s contemporary collection in a new dynamic way. This is the most significant contemporary sponsorship the gallery has received.
"The Art Gallery of New South Wales has built one of the finest public collections of Australian and international contemporary art in the Southern Hemisphere. Through its sponsorship UBS enables the gallery to reveal the depth of its collection through regular changes in display and new programs." - Edmund Capon, Director, Art Gallery of New South Wales
"The foundation of UBS’s support for contemporary art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales is the belief in giving back to the communities in which we do business. This relationship further extends our commitment to contemporary art worldwide, which includes support of the Tate Modern, MOMA, the Foundation Beyeler, and the premier arts fairs Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach." - Brad Orgill, Chairman & CEO UBS Investment Bank
To date the gallery has displayed a small proportion of its contemporary collection. This sponsorship will ensure people see more of its rich holdings. There will be a range of activities for families, public talks, an annual keynote international lecture, a film program and a dedicated contemporary website: www.contemporary-art.com.au.
UBS has also supported the publication of the Contemporary Handbook. With 164 individual artist entries and 465 colour images, this publication covers international and Australian art through the gallery’s collection.
The collection displays will change frequently to give far greater access to contemporary art; the first of which opens on Thursday 28 September. This focuses on the work of leading national and international artists and recent acquisitions including works by Anselm Kiefer, Bill Henson and Janet Laurence.
The display also features works by Jan Nelson, Tracey Emin, Jenny Watson, Mike Parr, Mikala Dwyer, Hossein Valamanesh, Thomas Struth, Ricky Swallow, Mat Collishaw and Callum Morton (who will represent Australia at the next Venice Biennale). The centrepiece is Tatsuo Miyajima’s magnificent LED light wall in which vast numerical combinations represent the passage of time and connectedness of life cycles.
Major new acquisitions go on display for the first time
Women of Antiquity: Myrtis, Hypatia, Candidia, 2002
The Art Gallery of New South Wales was one of the first museums to purchase Kiefer's art. In 1984 the gallery purchased Glaube Hoffnung Liebe, now a signature work of the collection.
With this recent acquisition of three sculptural life-size figures from Kiefer’s Women of Antiquity series and a further 2 works (one purchased with funds provided by Geoff and Vicki Ainsworth and Simon and Catriona Mordant, and one gifted by the artist) the gallery has one of the most spectacular representations of this leading European artist in any public museum in the world.
In Women of Antiquity, Kiefer uses attributes to identify individual characters from antiquity; Myrtis carries a vast lead book in place of her head, Hypatia is represented by a melancholia cube made of glass and Candidia is topped with a rusting mass of razor wire. Each of these attributes signifies some aspect of the story associated with the women in question, but they are also recurring themes in Kiefer’s art.
Bill Henson is one of Australia's foremost contemporary artists and the gift of 21 photographs to our already large holdings means the Art Gallery of New South Wales has the finest public collection of Henson’s photographs.
The gift includes photographs of ballet dancers from 1974 exhibited in Henson’s first public exhibition. There are also 11 photographs from a body of work begun in 1976, the Mahler series (after Mahler’s great songs for a dead child). This unfinished series continues to be worked upon by the artist and has been rarely exhibited.
The Art Gallery has purchased through funds raised by the Photography Collection Benefactors three new works from Untitled 2005/2006 which continue Henson’s atmospheric motifs of landscapes, skies and the body.
In stance of memory, 2005
Acquired through funds raised at this years Contemporary Collection Benefactors supper club, Janet Laurence's In stance of memory is a significant addition to the Gallery's contemporary collection. Sydney-based Laurence has examined the traces of memory inherent in images and materials for many years and this is one of her finest works. Laurence has layered images of the claustrophobic courtyard spaces in the Jewish Museum Berlin with pours of chemical substances and fluids. This work touches on personal experience and devastating events.