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Tony Albert in dual exhibition and curated showcase at Sullivan+Strumpf Sydney

Sullivan+Strumpf Sydney kicks off the year with a compelling showcase featuring two significant bodies of work by renowned Aboriginal artist Tony Albert.

Tony Albert in dual exhibition and curated showcase at Sullivan+Strumpf Sydney

Spanning both levels of the Eora/Sydney gallery, Sullivan+Strumpf presents a dual exhibition of one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists, Tony Albert. It’s set to take place alongside a curated exhibition highlighting emerging First Nations artists, adding depth and context to the artistic narrative.

On the ground floor gallery, visitors are greeted by a 14-metre-long wallpapered installation drawn from Albert’s acclaimed Margaret Preston series, forming the focal point of ‘The Garden’. Complemented by new canvas works, resin objects and pieces fashioned from vintage materials, this collection reflects a transitional phase in Albert’s artistry.

Sullivan+Strumpf  - Tony Albert Exhibitions

“Planting seeds, growing new ideas and looking to possibilities for the future is always at the forefront of my thinking and practice,” says Albert.

The pieces echo familiar themes in his work, addressing the historical appropriation of Indigenous Australian iconography in domestic design and decorative objects. The body also continues to be a focus, underscoring all of the common themes.

On the upper level, Albert introduces ‘Forbidden Fruit’, a provocative and playful exhibition featuring a monumental installation of 190 collaged canvases exploring the fetishisation of the Other. It was initially conceived in anticipation of Sydney WorldPride 2023, for which Daniel Browning described the body of work as “surprisingly – numbly homoerotic.”

Browning’s accompanying essay for that event noted that Albert’s venture into ‘Forbidden Fruit’ constituted a certain risk for the artist. He wrote: “These ideograms, pictographs or glyphs of the male pubis and genitalia are literally stripped back to their mere exaggerated form, devoid of glistening flesh and saturated with ‘skin’ colours […] ‘Forbidden Fruit’ reckons with sexuality in a straight-up way, a coming out into full disclosure in his work. It is a declarative statement that this Girramay man from the rainforest country around Cardwell in North Queensland, born blak and queer in Brisbane, will no longer excise it from his work in the performative act of self-censorship.”

Related: 8 sculptural furniture objects

Sullivan+Strumpf  - Tony Albert Exhibitions
Sullivan+Strumpf  - Tony Albert Exhibitions

Running parallel to his solo exhibitions, Albert curates ‘The Preview’, an exhibition showcasing new works by emerging First Nations artists Aidan Heartshorn, Keemon Willams and Erica Muriata. Hosted in Sullivan+Strumpf Sydney’s Preview Room, this group show aims to celebrate and uplift the next generation of contemporary Indigenous artists.

The year 2024 holds significant milestones for Tony Albert, as he assumes the newly created role of Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain First Nations Curatorial Fellow. In this five-year partnership between The Biennale of Sydney and Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Albert will collaborate closely with 14 commissioned First Nation artists, bringing their creative visions to life for the 24th Biennale of Sydney, themed ‘Ten Thousand Suns’ and scheduled from March 9 to June 10.

‘The Garden’, ‘Forbidden Fruit’ and ‘The Preview’ are at Sullivan+Strumpf Eora/Sydney from February 8 to March 9, 2024. The opening celebration takes place on Saturday 10 February, 3-5pm.


Sullivan+Strumpf  - Tony Albert Exhibitions
Sullivan+Strumpf  - Tony Albert Exhibitions

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