2 Feb 2015


Loretta Lux, The Waiting Girl, 2006, ilfochrome print in whitewash wood frame, 50 x 65 cm. © Loretta Lux, courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

MENAGERIE, which opens on December 13, is a trans-historical survey exhibition highlighting the many ways humans have, through time and art, used animals as a metaphorical means of understanding themselves.
Several key contemporary projects come together with works from revered Australian collections including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Bendigo Art Gallery, the Flagstaff Maritime Village in Warrnambool and the Art Gallery of Ballarat, to highlight the intrinsic, ongoing relationship humans have with the animal world. 
The exhibition features iconic works by some of the world’s leading contemporary artists including Maurizio Cattelan’s quixotic labradors, Mircea Cantor’s dueling deer and wolf, Loretta Lux’s The Waiting Girl, Fischli and Weiss’s famous rat and bear; sculpture by Ricky Swallow, new drawings by Patricia Piccinini,  and many more.  Several significant historical paintings including William Strutt’s Eagle Hawk 1860 and the beguilingly curious Baffled, by British artist Herbert Dicksee as well as a major equine discovery, are included.
“From Ovid’s Metamorphoses to this present day, culture has looked to animals to understand, describe and represent aspects of the self.  From animals we learn strategies of survival, mutual existence and use animals to express empathy.  Often the voiceless speak loudest about human existence and our private anxieties and sympathies,” says ACCA Artistic Director Juliana Engberg.
International and national artists include Maurizio Cattelan, Mircea Cantor, Joseph Beuys, Henry Coombes, Robert Gligorov, Ricky Swallow, Anastasia Klose, Caroline Tisdall, Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Amelie von Wulffen, Peter Wächlter, Annika Eriksson, David Noonan, Lucy Gunning, Deborah Kelly, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Patricia Piccinini, Shannon Te Ao, Michael Parekowhai…and many more.
In it’s last two weeks, MENAGERIE will be accompanied by the live art project, Farnsworth’s Republic for Dogs.  Artist Anastasia Klose will turn ACCA’s north-facing forecourt into a doggy free-for-all from 16-28 February as part of the Summersalt arts festival.
MENAGERIE, 13 December, 2014 to 1 March, 2015
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, 111 Sturt Street, Southbank.
Gallery hours:  Tuesday-Friday 10am–5pm.  Weekends 11am-6pm.  Mondays by appointment.  Tel: 03 9697 9999.  Admission: Free.
ACCA is supported by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

Katrina Hall