Karl Fritsch and Francis Upritchard, Give me four 2019, mixed media. Courtesy the artist and Gallery Funaki, Melbourne and Ivan Anthony, Auckland. (c) the artists.


25 July – 28 September 2019

The Abyss explores art that contends with the push and pull of seduction and repulsion. The artists in this exhibition employ strategies to generate schisms in the psyche: those moments where understanding is stalled, language fails, chimeras are registered, and norms are discarded.

In a time of turbulent politics and mediated messages, these artists destabilise and recombine images, forms, and bodies to offer critical perspectives and new ways of being. Their works question normative ideas and explore contemporary issues of race and identity by utilising historical grotesques and various visual strategies—from the horror vacui of elaborate surfaces, through the abject and informé, to the ornamental, erotic, and transgressive.

Many of these artists approach materiality in enigmatic ways to suggest there is value to be found in not understanding. They invite us to consider our individual perceptions, fears, desires, and potential for metamorphosis.

Artists: Tony Albert, Hany Armanious, Gordon Bennett, Krista Berga, Anastasia Booth, Juan Davila, Karla Dickens, Chantal Fraser, Karl Fritsch and Francis Upritchard, Ian Haig, Louise Hearman, Gordon Hookey, Natalya Hughes, Emily Hunt, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Robert Pulie, Dieter Roth, Carolee Schneemann, Tim Schultz, Tyza Stewart, Sophie Takach, Wart, Jemima Wyman, Paul Yore

Curator: Naomi Evans

Downloadable exhibition labels

Image: Karla Dickens Sleeping Beauty IV from the series ‘Black and Blue’ 2016, mixed media, 120 x 120cm.
Courtesy the artist and Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane