Untitled (Concept for the Art Gallery of New South Wales)
1955 - 03 Jun 2014
'Untitled (Concept for the Art Gallery of New South Wales)' is a scale model of a site-specific 'curatorial' intervention that Bennett devised for the 2008 Biennale of Sydney. His initial proposal involved a radical reorganisation of artworks in the Gallery's collection. Modernist and colonial portraits would be relocated from the Old Courts to the Yiribana Galleries; in turn, paintings by Indigenous artists would be moved from the Yiribana Galleries to the Old Courts. Additionally, Bennett proposed that all the works in these galleries be hung upside down. Through these dual acts of juxtaposition and inversion, his intention was to 'invite new readings' of the collection by highlighting different cultural perspectives onto landscape, the abstract nature of painting, and the antipodean mythology that has informed Australia's national narrative. Ultimately, his proposal was not realised, leading Bennett to exhibit this model instead.
Bennett wrote at the time:
"By dislocating select paintings from their usual exhibition space, and interspersing Indigenous with 'Australian' artworks, the intervention may be understood as breaking down a conceptual framework that is at play within the gallery's established collecting and exhibiting policy. It is my intention that the intervention will create a new set of relationships that will allow the viewer to see the familiar order of the collection anew, creating fresh possibilities for the understanding of these pictures and the conventional history through which they are understood."
dimensions variable :
a - Court 8 model, 36.5 x 141.5 x 49 cm
b - plinth, 81.5 x 124.6 x 32.9 cm
c - Yiribana model, 32 x 163.5 x 119.7 cm
d - plinth, 81.4 x 146.8 x 103.5 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of Leanne Bennett 2019. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Not on display
© The Estate of Gordon Bennett
Shown in 2 exhibitions
2008 Biennale of Sydney: revolutions-forms that turn, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 18 Jun 2008–07 Sep 2008
Outsider/ insider: the art of Gordon Bennett, AAMU, Museum of contemporary Aboriginal art, Utrecht, 21 Jun 2012–09 Dec 2012
Referenced in 6 publications
Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Iwona Blazwick and Charles Harrison, 2008 Biennale of Sydney: revolutions-forms that turn, Fishermans Bend, 2008, 287.
Genevieve O'Callaghan (Editor), The national 2017: new Australian art, Sydney, 2017, 44 (colour illus., detail), 46-48.
Georges Petitjean, Kitty Zijlmans and Ian McLean, Outsider/insider: the art of Gordon Bennett, Ghent, 2012, 70 (colour illus., detail), 71 (colour illus., detail), 72 (colour illus., detail), 73 (colour illus., detail).
John Saxby (Editor), Look, Sydney, Mar 2018-Apr 2018.
Stephen Whiteman and Olivier Krischer (Editors), Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art, 2016.
Art Asia Pacific, May 2012-Jun 2012, 130 (colour illus., detail).