We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Onion sac wall



Lauren Berkowitz


1965 –

Alternate image of Onion sac wall by Lauren Berkowitz
Alternate image of Onion sac wall by Lauren Berkowitz
Alternate image of Onion sac wall by Lauren Berkowitz
Alternate image of Onion sac wall by Lauren Berkowitz
  • Details

    Media categories
    Sculpture , Installation
    Materials used
    plastic onion bags
    400.0 x 600.0 x 20.0 cm (irreg.)
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Contemporary Collection Benefactors 2019
    South Building, lower level 1, 20th-century galleries
    Accession number
    © Lauren Berkowitz

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Lauren Berkowitz

    Works in the collection


  • About

    To make 'Onion sac wall', Lauren Berkowitz collected and recycled lurid red and orange bags originally used to hold onions. The woven bags have been sewn together to create a large, amorphous rectangle, which hangs out from the wall like a kind of secondary architecture. This simple gesture is charged with an array of associations. The scale of the work refers to monumental sculpture, but conversely Berkowitz's 'wall' is porous and delicate, invoking a more fragile membrane like the translucent skins the bags once held, stockings or fishing nets. The work's minimal aesthetic also recalls abstract monochrome painting, and yet the functional history of Berkowtiz's onion bags remains powerfully present. By massing them together, she amplifies their symbolic power as objects of containment, the excess of economic exchange, and traces of repetitive domestic labour such as shopping, carrying and chopping. While the latter sometimes induces innocuous ‘onion tears’, Berkowitz’s installation suggests the latent potential for a flood of deep emotion.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 4 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 5 publications

    • Anna Clabburn., Moët & Chandon 1997 Touring Exhbition, 'In between and beyond: irony and art of the present', 1997, 21, 25.

    • Charles Merewether., Lauren Berkowitz, 'Anxieties of revelation', Sydney, 2001, 16-18, 41 (colour illus.).

    • Robert Nelson., The Age, 'An installation of authority', Melbourne, 16 Apr 1997.

    • Robert Schubert., Art/Text, '1997 Moët & Chandon touring exhibition', Melbourne, Oct 1997, 87-88 (illus., detail).

    • Lisa Yallama, The Courrier Mail, 'Lauren's prized work is in the bag', pg. 20, Brisbane, 12 Feb 1997, 20 (illus., detail).

Other works by Lauren Berkowitz