Future Remains: The 2024 Macfarlane Commissions

Opens 29 Jun

Main exhibition gallery

ACCA is pleased to present Future Remains: The 2024 Macfarlane Commissions, the fourth edition of a multi-year partnership that supports ambitious new artworks by emerging and mid-career artists. Future Remains presents seven commissions by artists from across Australia who variously reclaim, restage and reframe specific material, cultural or ideological inheritances in an effort not only to better understand the past and present but to generate new possibilities for the future.

Future Remains brings together works by Kim Ah Sam, Andy Butler, Teelah George, Alexandra Peters, Joel Sherwood Spring, Nicholas Smith and Salote Tawale. Collectively, these artists engage with a broad range of historical reference points, from family stories and lore, the annals of pop-culture and industry, art and architectural genealogies, to state archives and collections. These works, by turn, honour and critique, celebrate and thwart the legacies they address, inviting us to contemplate the gifts and burdens of that which we inherit.

Spanning the playful and poetic to the bitingly satirical, Future Remains is underpinned by a keen focus on ‘the stuff of the world’, unpacking complex relationships between materiality and regimes of value, cultural narratives and time. The works presented employ a diversity of media and approaches, including ceramics, printmaking, video, sculpture, textiles and casting. Several incorporate the discarded remnants of industry and consumer culture, while others reference treasured ancestral objects or the venerated records and artefacts of the state. These materials are probed to reveal embedded narratives and knowledges, and are recast into novel configurations to cultivate fresh understandings and imaginaries.

Many of the works in Future Remains are deeply personal, baring traces of the artist’s hand, their body, their life. These intimate specifics provide a starting point to reflect on broader social and political conditions. Standing as future relics of our current era, they engage with some of the big issues of our times – the extractive logic of capital and its institutions, geo-political relations in our region, environmental degradation, cultural displacement and dispossession, and the yearning for belonging in an increasingly fragmented world. While mapping the historical dynamics and ideologies that have led to these contemporary circumstances, the exhibition champions the potential for transformation and change, reminding us that the future remains to be made.

Exhibition dates: 29 June – 1 September 2024

Curator: Shelley McSpedden

The Macfarlane Commissions is supported by The Macfarlane Fund to encourage the production of ambitious new work by emerging to mid-career contemporary artists. Each artist is offered a generous artist fee and production budget, with the intention of commissioning a major new body of work especially for the exhibition.

The Macfarlane Fund is a philanthropic initiative established in 2017 to honour the life of respected Melbourne businessman Donald (Don) Macfarlane, who throughout his life took immense pleasure in the arts. The Macfarlane Fund’s primary focus is to offer financial support across the career span of artists, with programs developed to support graduate, mid-career and senior artists. Underpinning the development of The Macfarlane Fund is a rigorous approach to decision-making, and a commitment to being flexible, effective and responsive to artistic practice and initiatives in a way that challenges established modes of giving and serves as a role model for contemporary art philanthropy.