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Australian art

Contemporary art

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Bodies in time



Barbara Cleveland



'Bodies in time' is the fourth in a series of works by the Sydney collective Barbara Cleveland exploring the life and legacy of their namesake: the mythic performance artist Barbara Cleveland (1945–81), who they have recovered from the margins of Australian art history.

The work is based on a series of scores made by Cleveland in 1972-73, in which she accumulated gestures from the history of performance across both dance and the visual arts, interspersing these with pedestrian and 'photogenic' movements.

Working with choreographer and dancer Angela Goh, the artists reanimate Cleveland's score to consider how performance is transmitted between bodies and across time periods. By further translating the action into video, they construct a dialogue between the body as a volatile form of 'living archive' and the mediated status of performance documentation, which foregrounds the multiple levels of authorship at play in the work.

Situated in the gallery that would usually display work from Cleveland's era, 'Bodies in time' insists on the relevance of performance to a history of Australian art, while also addressing the material (and gender) bias of museum collections and art history.

Concept and direction: Frances Barrett, Kelly Doley, Diana Smith
Choreography and performance: Angela Goh
Videography: Gotaro Uematsu
Video editing: Kate Blackmore
Original sound: Andrew McLellan
Production: Bev Shroot
Hair and makeup: Sophie Roberts




Media category

Time-based art

Materials used

single channel digital video, colour, sound




duration: 00:13:46 min; aspect ratio 16:9

Signature & date

Signed Certificate of Authenticity, electronic signature l.l. to l.r. "Francis Barrett" "Kate Blackmore" "Kelly Doley" "Diana Baker Smith". Dated Certificate of Authenticity, electronic signature bot.c. "April 2017".


Viktoria Marinov Bequest Fund 2016


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Barbara Cleveland

Works in the collection


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

Referenced in 2 publications


Erica Green, Divided worlds: 2018 Adelaide Biennial of Australian art, 'Divided worlds', pg. 16-24, Adelaide, 2018, 22, 40, 41 (colour illus., video still), 102, (colour illus., video still).

Anneke Jaaspers, Look, 'In search of Barbara Cleveland', pg. 57-58, Sydney, Nov 2016-Dec 2016, 57, 58.