It's not uncommon to think of art as a generative force, the idea underscores art's long and winding history. But what does this mean, really? Is it the tears we cry before a Rothko or the stories we expel when we put brush to canvas? Is it an auction for a good cause? For the artists showing in Beneath the Surface, Behind the Scenes at the Heide Museum of Modern Art, it's about generating ideas, deeper meanings, possibilities and insights.
The 20 participating artists hail from Latin America and Australia, and a natural dialogue is struck. What are the shared experiences of these artists? How are they different? Are there patterns of erasure that transcend international borders? How do they see their own histories. How are they explained by others?
Beneath the Surface, Behind the Scenes comprises of works from Gunditjmara and Djabwurrung artist Hayley Millar-Baker, Nadia Hernández, Liliana Porter, Arturo Hernández Alcázar, and more. It includes Berna Reale's striking image, Palomo #5, which sees the artist riding atop a red-painted horse, and a site specific installation from Lauren Brincat.
Speaking to curator, Melissa Keys, she told RUSSH, "The exhibition is shaped by an overarching sense of searching, uncovering, and critical looking, exploring and re-examining things spatially, conceptually, socially, geographically and metaphysically".
"It delves into this moment of profound transformation in many senses, the deconstruction, breaking down of entrenched, established ways of defining ourselves and systems of knowledge," Keys continues. "While the art in the exhibition has been created and produced over a period of more than ten years, the works could not be more prescient, relevant or timely."
As the first of its kind in Australia, Keys hopes people will travel to sit with the ideas expressed in Beneath the Surface, Behind the Scenes. After all, it's infrequent for a stable of artists, like those from Latin America, to exhibit here, let alone for their stories to be told in national museums and galleries.
Experience Beneath the Surface, Behind the Scenes Heide until October 22, 2023.