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Dianne Bauer (right)
The body. The ruin presents contemporary and historical artworks—paintings and drawings, video and performance—that consider human experience in the context of war, nature, and scientific and technological advancement. The selected artists’ practices fall broadly into two groups: those who use the image of the body to describe contemporary experiences; and those who—often through performance art—use the body as a means of expression through action, where the body is pushed beyond its normal boundaries or activities.
Images of violence, the physicality and the presence (and absence) of the human body within a present historical moment are key to The body. The ruin. The exhibition addresses the way that artists use the languages of the body as a means of describing or inhabiting a contemporaneous moment (locating us within that moment), and in doing so, it addresses the body as a contested or devalued entity—through war, through biomedical research, within contested geographical sites, the urban environment and workplace.
The body. The ruin also approaches the body within a temporal dimension through the symbol of the ruin, which has a strange, labyrinthine relationship to time; its present existence is relative to the past but dependent and reinvigorated through the present moment.
Just opened! Activate,animate, complicate, grow: what new acquisitions can do to and for the collection showcases 22 artworks recently acquired by the University of Melbourne in dialogue with existing works from the collection. Presented as individual ‘case studies’, the relationships between works demonstrate the ways that new additions breathe life into permanent collections.
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