RENT is a kind of survey of Australian contemporary art ‘post appropriation’.
It seeks a way forward beyond the rhetorical and post-structural definition
and determination of recent art practice by considering the relations
between ideas and form as property relations, or as a matter of proprietary
Rent describes the temporary relation many people have to the things
around them. That is, we do not own them and we do not create or produce
them from scratch, though we do use and adapt them. It also applies to
contemporary art in describing the adoption of certain themes, discourses
or narratives which are adapted occasionally by artists for specific
For example, the idea of artistic ownership is less pronounced today than
ever before, particularly following its critique over 20 years, and perhaps
especially in Australia where ownership generally is a much vexed issue.
Coupled with the disenfranchisement from artistic centres which artists
report the world over, 'renting' seems to be a dominant paradigm describing
not only a dilemma (in relation to the desire for ownership or creation) but a
strategy for a relevant, engaged art practice at the turn of the century.
Sure, appropriation is an international standard of contemporary art
practice, dedicating all sorts of forms to new purposes and strategic ends,
but it occurs against diverse cultural and geographical backgrounds which
imbue these sign relations with particular meaning. And in Australia, it’s all
about who owns what.
The artistic appropriation of different motifs, forms and materials is then also
indicative of a wider quandary of disputed land ownership, multi-cultural
origins and uncertain contemporary national identity.
The exhibition was first presented in March/April 2000 in Copenhagen
accompanied by a special Australian issue of Øjeblikket magazine. Its
return to ACCA in July/August enables local audiences to consider the
representation of local Australian culture abroad in larger, more global
contexts — in short to see ourselves through others’ eyes.
Artists included in the exhibition are Philip Brophy, A Constructed World (Geoff Lowe & Jacqueline Riva), Mike
Stevenson & Danius Kesminas, Andrew Hurle, Callum Morton, Mathew
Jones, Ricky Swallow, Louise Weaver, David Rosetzky, Ah Xian, Ruth
Watson, Kenneth Pleban, Kate Beynon, Julia Gorman, Geoff Baker.
Curators Stuart Koop & Charlotte Day
The World Interrupted, 1999