Unfinished Business tracks the course of feminist art making in Australia, proposing new ways of addressing feminism’s legacy and trajectory. This ambitious and timely project at the Australian Centre for ContemporaryArt (ACCA) has been developed by a curatorial team of six (including ACCA’s artistic director Max Delany and curator Annika Kristensen) and features over 40 artists with widely diverse voices and practices.
Drawing on contemporary dialogues in feminism and intersectionality, the exhibition presents a number of important feminist artworks spanning the last 40 years, alongside new commissions from artists including Salote Tawale and Sarah Goffman.
Key early works by Frances (Budden) Phoenix from the 1970s and 1980s explore body politics and the materiality of ‘women’s handicrafts.’ Alongside these, Fiona Foley’s renowned 1996 series Black Velvet – cotton dilly bags with appliquéd red and black motifs – interrogates the stereotypical representation of black women’s sexuality.
Text, image, publications and the political poster are examined through a number of recent works: Linda Dement’s Feminist methodology machine, 2016; Kelly Doley’s Things learnt about feminism, 2014; and Virginia Fraser and Elvis Richardson’s Femmo posters, 2014-15. Harking back to third-wave feminist practice, Maria Kozic’s legendary 1992 billboard, Maria Kozic Is Bitch, will be re-presented at its original 8 x 13 metre scale. In Cigdem Aydemir’s 2011-12 Extremist Activity series, three video works document the artist performing in a voluminous expanded niqab: a playful exploration of freedom, constraint and pleasure.
Inviting public engagement, debate and doubtless further responses, Unfinished Business promises an enriching study of feminist artwork and dialogues, over the past four decades and into the future.
Unfinished Business: Perspectives on art and feminism was exhibited at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) from 15 December 2017 – 25 March 2018.
Preview by Anna Dunnill