If you’re looking to improve your cultural knowledge in 2023, then might we suggest a wander around some of Australia’s best art galleries and exhibitions? Whether you care about brushstrokes and contemporary critique on modern society or you’re just there for the pretty pictures, we have found something for everyone — here are our favourite picks:
This is a collective exhibition featuring over 30 artists from Australia and around the world. The theme of the exhibition is our shared atmosphere, its vitality, its form, and the fact that it is rapidly getting warmer.
Taking up the entirety of the first floor, this exhibition is a journey through the ethereal and often invisible air. From the days before humans, when the earth was just volcanoes and mountainous landscapes, to the modern day where climate change is threatening the very air we breathe. This exhibition is a discussion on air’s form, meaning and importance in our lives.
When: Closes 23 April 2023
2. Fairy Tales
In this magical exhibition artists, designers and filmmakers come together to explore the way fairy tales have shaped our society. Throughout the exhibition, you will be asked to question the traditional archetypal structures so often seen in fairy tales. Imagery such as the wicked witch and the beautiful princess will be put up for display and scrutiny.
The popular narratives and themes so familiar to us all from our childhood will be looked at through a lens of shifting gender norms and otherness. This exhibition will make you see things in a way you might not have thought about before.
When: 2 Dec 2023 – 28 Apr 2024
Peruse a variety of pieces from the NGV collection, all centred around the communal theme of movement. This exhibition crosses the boundaries of cultures, traditions, and mediums to tell complex stories.
Over 60 artworks are included in the exhibition ranging from furniture and sculptures to interactive installations.
Presented in three ‘movements’, each revolving around major works, the exhibition explores, unravels, and critiques contemporary issues.
Where: Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria
When: Closes 10 April 2023
The first female sculptor to receive international recognition, British artist Barbara Hepworth is a trailblazer in her field. “In Equilibrium” is her first exhibition in Australia and showcases over 40 of her pieces from a variety of international collections.
Hepworth’s work is largely concerned with representing relationships: between the human figure and the landscape; between forms; between colour and texture; and between individuals and groups of people.
Mediums used in her art include bronze, wood, stone metal and a select number of paintings.
Where: Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen
When: Closes 13 March 2023
Over her 70-year career, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has earned her place as one of the world’s most popular artists. In this exhibition, we are once again introduced to dots, eyes, nets and pumpkins, which have been recurring motifs in her work over the years.
Kusama is intrigued by the idea of the infinite, and she is inspired by the visual and auditory hallucinations she experienced as a ten-year-old girl. Her world was one of limitless visions, and in this exhibition, our world becomes limitless too.
When: Closes 2nd April 2023
Price: Free entry
This is a group presentation that is themed around the topic of nature and water-based ecologies. Ideas brought up in this exhibition include pollution, climate change and colonisation of land.
Artists participating all make use of different mediums and methods and approach the subjects uniquely and interestingly. As part of the exhibition, you will observe paintings, sculptures, weavings and more.
Where: Adelaide Contemporary Experimental (ACE), Adelaide
When: February 4 2023 to March 18 2023
Australian Capital Territory
Cressida Campbell is a Sydney-based artist, and over the past 40 years has become one of Australia’s most significant contemporary artists. Her works are inspired by the world around her, and she aims to capture the beauty of the everyday.
This exhibition of woodblock paintings and prints showcases the transitory experiences in life, and takes time to celebrate these moments.
When: Closes 19 February 2023
The National Gallery is celebrating its 40th anniversary and to commemorate this event, they have curated an exhibition that tells the complex and diverse story of Australian art.
The artworks that were chosen aim to create a conversation that stretches across culture, place and time. Including a variety of expressions and mediums, this exhibition invites us to reflect on our shared experience of being in this beautiful country.
New South Wales
If you missed it in Brisbane, Michelangelo’s frescoes will be making their way to Sydney. Life-sized reproductions have been created using high-definition photos and special printing techniques and will be exhibited so that you can see every detail of the artist’s 34 frescoes.
Each image is accompanied by descriptions and information, and you can also purchase audio guides if you would like an even more in-depth experience. Whether you have already been to the Sistine Chapel or not, this is an opportunity to view each artwork in more detail than you’ve ever seen it before.
Injured in a bus accident at the age of 18, young Frida Kahlo spent her recovery painting from her bed. As the years passed she became a prolific artist internationally, with many of her works drawing from her traumatic accident. This biographical exhibition will allow you to learn more about this fascinating and multi-faceted artist. The event is a multi-sensory experience comprised of videos, holography and virtual reality.
After learning more about the life of Kahlo, you will then get to make your own flower crowns, turn your drawings into Frida-esque artwork, and immortalise yourself through an illustrated photo. All while enjoying Mexican music and live performances.
Where: Sydney Festival, Barangaroo
When: Closes 7th March 2023
Price: From $39
Al Qasimi presents her first solo exhibition this February showcasing her photography and video work.
Through her art, Al Qasimi aims to show us how photography is not simply about documenting and critiquing the world but is an increasingly important part of how we shape worlds within worlds.
Her multi-layered work shows how photographs can often be used as a coping mechanism, and how we use images to seek out sensations of closeness when we are physically separated from someone.
Where: Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
When: 04 Feb – 30 Jul 2023
Robert Andrew is a descendant of the Yawuru people from the Broome region in Western Australia. His ancestral heritage is a big inspiration for his art and informs most of the work he creates.
In this new installation, Andrew focuses on the language of the Yawuru people and uses the walls of the gallery as a writing space.
By suspending objects from the gallery ceiling, the movements of strings, rocks, and charcoal follow a pattern directed by words in Yawuru that are slowly outlined on a mechanical plotter. In this way, he questions language, and the act of writing itself, as a colonial tool.
When: 10 February – 23 April 2023