Sidney McMahon: Of sorrow and release, presented at ACE Open, Adelaide

Fri 14 May 2021–
Sat 3 Jul 2021

ACE Open, Adelaide

Sidney McMahon: Of sorrow and release

ACE Open, Adelaide

14 May – 3 July 2021

Originally commissioned by ACCA as part of Overlapping Magisteria: The 2020 Macfarlane Commissions, we are pleased to announce that ACE Open are presenting Sidney McMahon: Of sorrow and release as a solo exhibition in Adelaide from 14 May to 3 July 2021.  McMahon’s latest installation, Of sorrow and release, choreographs the diverse and complex emotional registers that evolve over time when processing experiences of loss, change and revelation.

Bringing together moving sculpture, video and sound, McMahon addresses two significant thematics: the public sense of sorrow spurred on by the climate crisis and recent Australian bushfires in the summer of 2019–20, and the personal experience of mourning and celebration that has accompanied the artist’s own unfolding queer narrative.

Monumental sail cloths rise and fall from ropes and pulleys suspended from the ceiling, while a performative two-channel video sees the artist searching for something they both do and do not wish to find. Dynamic, variable and in a constant state of settling and unsettling, McMahon’s installation interweaves human, environmental, psychological and computational perspectives to ultimately respond to the question: ‘How do I celebrate the person I am now whilst expressing sorrow for my previous self?’

Accompanying the exhibition, ACE Open presents an Artist Talk with Sidney McMahon in conversation with ACE Open Artistic Director, Patrice Sharkey on Saturday 15 May, 2–3pm. 

Sidney McMahon: Of sorrow and release is presented in association with the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. It was initially commissioned by ACCA for Overlapping Magisteria: The 2020 Macfarlane Commissions, supported by the Macfarlane Fund. The development of Sidney McMahon’s new work has been additionally supported by Create New South Wales.

The Macfarlane Commissions

The Macfarlane Commissions is a recently established series of exhibitions at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art featuring new commissions by emerging and mid-career Australian and international artists. To be held every second year for a period of six years, the series is supported by The Macfarlane Fund, 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.

Podcasts and Videos: 

Watch: Hello from the Studio with Sidney McMahon

Watch: Overlapping Magisteria artist interview Sidney McMahon

Listen: Overlapping Magisteria artist talks with Sidney McMahon, Robert Andrew and Mimosa Echard


Sidney McMahon

Presenting Partner