Amalia Pica was born in Argentina and is currently working in London. Her exhibition at the IMA is to be presented in two parts, but her first solo in Australia is not the beginning of her relationship with Brisbane. She came to Australia in 1995 for a one-year exchange she describes as “formative.” At that time in her life the Queensland Art Gallery was the largest art museum she had seen. It was also the place where her introduction to conceptual art began and this thread continues to resonate in her practice.
IMA directors Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh commented that, “Amalia’s new work points towards a more inclusive future that respects the knowledge and needs of non-human life on earth.”
The exhibition includes two videos (made with filmmaker Rafael Ortega) and a series of wall-based and other sculptures made with sticks, found objects and coloured Perspex. The first part of the exhibition will present material drawn from a residency Pica under-took in 2014 at the Gashaka Gumti National Park in the rainforest of Nigeria. She spent time observing the lives of chimpanzees, their making and use of tools, and the way in which they communicated. The second part, which opens on 3 February 2018, will feature new work, made in consultation with leading primatologists, and examines chimpanzee language capacities and meaning shared between humans and their distant relatives.
In Pica’s work, contemporary art is presented in parallel with science, like two angles on the same story. Burns and Lundh suggest that her research is timely. “It comes at a moment when many people are coming to grips with the current geological era of the Anthropocene in which human activity has and continues to reshape the environment and climate.”