Spain: Photographica Australis at ARCO 2002
Artists: Pat Brassington, Lyndell Brown & Charles Green, Brenda L. Croft, Max Doyle, Rose Farrell & George Parkin, Anne Ferran, Joachim Froese, Phillip George, Deborah Paauwe, Polixeni Papapetrou, Scott Redford, Michael Riley, Glenn Sloggett, Darren Sylvester, Martin Walch, Anne Zahalka
Photographica Australis was an exhibition of the work of 16 contemporary Australian photomedia artists and partnerships. It was created especially for the Sala del Canal de Isabel II by Alasdair Foster on a commission from the Australian Council for the Arts. The exhibition brought together work by established practitioners and emerging talent, and was presented to coincide with Madrid’s international art fair, ARCO 2002, which that year featured the contemporary art of Australia.
Seeking to complement rather than duplicate what was showing at the ARCO fair, the exhibition took its form from the spectacular structure in which it was staged – the Sala de Exposiciones del Canal de Isabel II – a 19th-century water tower with five idiosyncratic levels.
Photographica Australis was very well received at the opening when more than 700 people attended. These included a group of major collectors, the VIP guests of ARCO, who noted how impressed they were by the exhibition. Indeed later in the evening one of Spain’s top contemporary art curators declared that it was the first group show she had ever seen where there was no weak work.
The exhibition featured on the front page of ABC, the main newspaper in Madrid with coverage by four TV companies, including CNN.
Upper: View of Photographica Australis installed in the Sala del Canal de Isabel II for Australia at ARCO (Madrid 2002)
Lower: Part of the Michael Riley installation presented on the spherical top floor of the the Sala del Canal de Isabel II