Image: Helen Johnson, The Actual, 2022, synthetic polymer paint and pencil on canvas, image courtesy of the artist
PICA are excited to launch PICA’s Bunuru Season in association with Perth Festival, opening on 8 February 2024. Featuring the trailblazing Joan Jonas (US); celebrated interdisciplinary artist A.K. Burns (US); and world-exhibited Naarm/Melbourne-based Helen Johnson (AUS) the Bunuru program celebrates this year’s overarching festival theme of ngaangk – the Noongar term for sun and mother.
Our major new commission, Yandilup, 2024 by Boorloo-based mural and public artist, J.D. Penangke (WA) is a bold reinterpretation of PICA’s iconic heritage site, which will welcome visitors across the season. This major new outdoor mural offers a colourful and meaningful landmark and reflects on the importance of Aboriginal culture, country and connection. Yandilup sits at PICA’s entrance, acknowledging Whadjuk Noongar boodjar (country), while commissioned works from Australian artists Agatha Gothe-Snape (NSW) and Diana Baker Smith’s (NSW) transform the gallery space inside.
Our new internal foyer will be inaugurated by a major new commission by one of Australia’s most experimental artists, Agatha Gothe-Snape. Previously exhibiting at PICA in 2019 with Trying to Find Comfort in an Uncomfortable Chair, Gothe-Snape’s multi-faceted practice seeks to distil the weight of PICA’s history into the volume of its new foyer space – a welcoming space of function and relation – creating a distinct environment of colour, form and hospitality. Gothe-Snape’s artistic commission is funded by the Ungar Family Foundation.
Also unveiled as part of PICA’s transformation is Gadigal (Sydney)-based artist Diana Baker Smith’s, new site-specific work Falling Towards Another (A Score for the Void) – PICA’s second iteration of the Judy Wheeler Commission, made possible by the generosity of the Simpson Family – will be on display until January 2025. Featuring a text-based score and live performance with local Perth dancers, this work has been created specifically for PICA’s mezzanine level above PICA’s Central Gallery space. Baker Smith works across performance, moving image and installation to explore the relationship between art history and its institutions through a feminist lens.
Sun Signals is the first exhibition in Australia devoted to the work of iconic American video and performance artist, Joan Jonas. Bringing together various disciplines – ranging from performance, video, drawing and installation – the New York artist’s boundary-crossing approach has had a profound impact on generations of artists. Sun Signals presents a selection of early single-channel films from 1968–1976 that focus on Jonas’ early productions and explorations of time, space and self-representation. Jonas’ iconic 1969 performance work, Mirror Piece I & II (1969-60/2024) will be performed by 15 local artists under the direction of Jonas and her Movement Director, Nefeli Skarmea.
Celebrated Naarm (Melbourne)-based artist Helen Johnson is well known for large-scale, figurative works that wrestle with Australia’s colonial histories. More recently Johnson has explored ideas around women and motherhood. Follower, Leader, Johnson’s first WA exhibition, brings together a group of paintings and prints she created while training as an art therapist. This move radically reorients her practice away from the archive, and towards metaphysical conceptions of bodies. Follower, Leader resonates with the maternal principles of ngaangk – of creation, beginnings and re-beginnings.
American interdisciplinary artist A.K. Burns’ work Untitled (eclipse) is a silent film of a total solar eclipse, filmed in Nebraska in 2017 – with shots of the gradually eclipsing sun superimposed on views of the sweeping, bleached desert landscape. Capturing this natural phenomenon, Burns worked with 16mm film, directly recording traces of sunlight onto its photosensitive surface. Untitled (eclipse) evokes sensations of the passage of time and everything being in constant flux.
A site of creation, connection and conversation, PICA continues be at the forefront of artist development and presentation in Western Australia.
Public Program, Saturday 10 February: Join us in celebrating our Bunuru Season with a day of performances and talks!
Public Program, Saturday 10 February
Join us in celebrating our Bunuru Season with a day of performances and talks!
- 10.00am: Joan Jonas Mirror Piece I & II – this restaging of the iconic American performance and video artist’s work explores gender hierarchies, the power of the gaze, and notions of perception and representation.
- 11.00am: Diana Baker Smith, the recipient of the 2024 Judy Wheeler Commission at PICA will present a performance connected to her work Falling Towards Another (A Score for the Void). This performance invites audiences to consider the history of the PICA building as a space for art, education and incubation.
- 11.30am: Helen Johnson in conversation with arts therapist and creative practitioner Cara Flame about Johnson’s exhibition Follower, Leader.
- 12.00pm: Diana Baker Smith in conversation with PICA Curator Sarah Wall.
- 3:30pm: Agatha Gothe-Snape in conversation with PICA CEO Hannah Mathews.
- 4.30pm: Joan Jonas’ Mirror Piece I & II – second performance. Followed by an in-conversation between PICA CEO Hannah Mathews and movement director Nefeli Skarmea.
Season 1, Bunuru
Presented in association with Perth Festival
Opening Thursday 8 February
Exhibition dates: 9 February-31 March 2024