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News - 16th of February 2023

PICA opens its Season One: Bunuru exhibitions and performance program for 2023

PICA opens its Season One: Bunuru exhibitions and performance program for 2023

Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts have unveiled their first works for 2023 – and the first of their Bunuru program – now open to the public. Robert Andrew has returned for his first major exhibition in Western Australia, Held within a word, presented in association with Perth Festival; and Elizbeth Willing has transformed PICA’s entrance and stairwell for the inaugural Judy Wheeler Commission in her site-specific installation Roost.

Opening next week – in a real coup for the west coast – Italian-German artist Rosa Barba presents her first solo exhibition in Australia, Emanations; trans artist Archie Barry presents their surreal multi-dimensional video work Scaffolding (Preface); Matthias Schack-Arnott brings his cyclonic sound and sculptural performance Everywhen; and in March, Perth’s Cultural Centre amphitheatre will host Bruno Booth’s exhilarating wheelchair-based interactive installation, Dead Ends and Detours.

“As 2023 begins, PICA is excited to be hosting a stellar line up of artists who are asking challenging questions and sharing important stories,” says PICA’s new CEO/Director Hannah Mathews. “PICA supports artists who respond to the now of social, political and cultural forces. Through their works we all have something to learn about ourselves and each other.”

PICA’s Bunuru program will see visitors, community and Perth Festival goers gather and indulge in a series of exhibitions, performances, open studios, and public programs.

Local, national, and international artists present their ideas of identity, rituals and experiences through language, kinetic technologies, installation and moving image.

Combining kinetic installation with programmable technologies and natural materials such as wood, stone, ochre, and soil, Meanjin (Brisbane)-based Robert Andrew presents Held within a word. Andrew is a descendant of the Yawuru people whose Country is of the Broome region of the Kimberley, Western Australia, and language and identity occupy a central place in his work. For this new site-specific installation, he treats the gallery walls as a writing surface, as suspended objects move and interact over time to create an ever-evolving, ever-building ‘landscape’. Presented in association with Perth Festival, running until 23 April 2023.

Straight off the plane from her opening at Tate London – Berlin-based Rosa Barba opens Emanations on 23 February, running until 23 April. Presented as part of the Perth Festival program and developed in response to this year’s theme of djinda (Noongar for cosmos or stars), Emanations features works from the last 10 years, and will highlight Barba’s long-standing exploration of the connections between film and astronomy, and their shared engagement with concepts of light, time and distance.

Also presented as part of Perth Festival’s program is Naarm (Melbourne)-based artist Archie Barry’s new video work Scaffolding (Preface) – premised on an imagined society of children who create a fugitive mode of non-lingual communication to evade surveillance – showing from 10 February to 23 April. And Matthias Schack-Arnott (also Naarm-based) reveals the power of cyclic motion in sound – surrounding the lone performer with a whirlpool of traditional percussion, ‘found’ instruments and floating sounds for Everywhen, from 21–25 February.

In Perth’s Cultural Centre amphitheatre from 17–19 March, Walyalup (Fremantle)-based artist Bruno Booth puts the audience in a wheelchair and demonstrates that disability is not a dirty word for Dead Ends and Detours. Mixing sculpture and installation, sport, urban design and disability aesthetics, this high-octane work offers audiences a direct insight into the lived experience of physical disability, and the navigational challenges Booth faces as a wheelchair user.

Meanjin (Brisbane)-based artist Elizabeth Willing is the inaugural 2023 recipient of PICA’s Judy Wheeler Commission, a 10-year program that supports contemporary artists to realise ambitious site-specific works within PICA’s public spaces and iconic architecture. Roost sees Willing use food as both material and inspiration as she reimagines PICA’s wrought iron entrance. Manifesting across two levels of the building, a bright wallpaper traverses the entrance foyer and leads viewers up the stairs to a hand-printed and embroidered linen that hangs from the stairwell. Roost is on view from 10 February 2023 to 7 January 2024.

Join PICA for an outdoor celebration, with music from DJ Mother Marls, as they open Robert Andrew: Held within a word, Rosa Barba: Emanations and Archie Barry: Scaffolding (Preface) as part of Perth Festival, and Elizabeth Willing: Roost.

Bunuru Exhibitions Opening
Perth Cultural Centre Amphitheatre
Thursday 23 February 2023, 6:30–8:30pm
This event is Auslan interpreted.

Elizabeth Willing with Roost, 2023, installation view, Judy Wheeler Commission, PICA – Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, photo: Miles Noel

Media Contact

Tiki Menegola | | +61 467 227 822

Bunuru Season

Lasting from February to March, Bunuru is the Noongar season of the second summer. It’s the hottest time of year for those living in Boorloo (Perth); a time for staying close to the waters where the white flowering gums blossom and the seed pods ripen from green to vivid red.

Biographies and more information

Robert Andrew
Rosa Barba
Archie Barry
Matthias Schack-Arnott
Bruno Booth
Elizabeth Willing

Public Program

Bunuru Exhibitions Opening

Perth Cultural Centre Amphitheatre
Thursday 23 February 2023, 6.30–8.30pm
This event is Auslan interpreted.

Scientific Speculations

Saturday 1 April 2023, 2pm

Top image: Robert Andrew, Held within a word, 2023 exhibition view, PICA – Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, photo: Miles Noel