18 Feb 2021

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art – 2021 Exhibition Program

Announcing the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art’s 2021 Exhibition Program.

Until March 14: Overlapping Magisteria: The 2020 Macfarlane Commissions
The second edition of the Macfarlane Commissions, Overlapping Magisteria transforms ACCA’s galleries with ambitious new works encompassing living organisms, kinetic installations and immersive assemblages, each paying attention to multiple ways of knowing, sensing, feeling and interacting with the world. Curated by Max Delany and Miriam Kelly, Overlapping Magisteria presents major new commissions by Robert Andrew, Mimosa Echard, Sidney McMahon, Sam Petersen and Isadora Vaughan.

March 27–June 14: Yhonnie Scarce: Missile Park
Yhonnie Scarce was born in Woomera, South Australia, in 1973 and belongs to the Kokatha and Nukunu peoples. An artist known for sculptural installations which span architecturally-scaled public art projects to intimately-scaled assemblages replete with personal and cultural histories, Scarce is a master glassblower, which she puts to the service of spectacular and spectral installations full of aesthetic, cultural and political significance. Scarce’s work explores the impact of nuclear testing and the removal of Aboriginal people from their homelands, and also engages with the photographic archive and found objects to explore the impact and legacies of colonial and family histories and memory.

Featuring a major new commission alongside a focussed survey of work over the past 15 years, Yhonnie Scarce: Missile Park has been developed by ACCA and association with the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, curated by Max Delany and Liz Nowell working in collaboration with guest curator Lisa Waup.

June 26–September 5, 2021A Biography of Daphne
A Biography of Daphne casts the figure of Daphne, the nymph who turned into a tree to evade Apollo’s assault, in relation to an extended investigation of metamorphosis, hybridity and entanglement in contemporary art, and of the crises separating the “figures” and “grounds” of today’s visual, political and ecological environments.

Developed by Guest Curator Mihnea Mircan, A Biography of Daphne seeks to visualise metamorphosis via juxtapositions between newly commissioned and existing contemporary and historical works, in a polyphonic conversation about the integrity and vulnerability of bodies, their performative or prosthetic extensions, and alliances across species that open identity to the possibility of a radical othering.

September 11–November 14, 2021: Frances Barrett: Meatus
Presented as part of Suspended Moment: The Katthy Cavaliere Fellowship, Frances Barrett draws on her background in performance, curating and collaborative models of making to create a project that encompasses new sonic compositions and live performances by multiple artists. Barrett has conceived of ACCA’s four galleries as “meatus”—openings or passages leading to the interior of the body—staging the gallery as an intense, immersive and sensory environment of sound and light; a body into which the audience may enter to consider the physical, sensual and critical experience of listening.

Alongside a major sound installation developed by Barrett in collaboration with Hayley Forward and Brian Fuata, Barrett curates three specially commissioned sound installations by artists Nina Buchanan, Del Lumanta and Sione Teumohenga. Commissioning curator: Annika Kristensen

December 4, 2021–February 27, 2022: Who’s Afraid of Public Space?
Continuing ACCA’s Big Picture series, Who’s Afraid of Public Space? is a major exhibition, publication and research project exploring the role of public culture, the contested nature of public space, and the character and composition of public life itself. Who’s Afraid of Public Space? engages contemporary art and cultural practices to consider critical ideas as to what constitutes public culture, and who might it be for?

Who’s Afraid of Public Space? is organised according to a dispersed, distributed structure, encouraging a polyphonic and polycentric understanding of our increasingly complex public realm. Adopting a collective curatorial model, the exhibition extends beyond the walls of the gallery into public and urban realms, mainstream and social media, as well as projects developed with cultural partners, community centres and academic contexts.

Developed by ACCA’s curatorial team Max Delany, Miriam Kelly and Annika Kristensen, in collaboration with a curatorial advisory group encompassing Marnie Badham, Eugenia Flynn, Eugenia Lim, Grace McQuilten, Timothy Moore, Nikos Papastergiadis, Nur Schkembi and Jarra Karalinar Steel.

For further information about ACCA’s exhibitions, education and public programs, additional off-site and special projects go to

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art 
111 Sturt Street, Southbank VIC 3006 
Melbourne, Australia


For further media information:
Katrina Hall