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

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Matisse Alive

A view inside a furnished room, in densely patterned brown tones.

Robin White with Ebonie Fifita Soon, the tide will turn 2021 (detail), courtesy of the artists © the artists

A vibrant gallery-wide festival of Matisse featuring new work, projects and art from the collection

Matisse Alive

23 October 2021 – 3 April 2022

Entrance court

Lower level 2

Art Gallery of NSW

🛈 We’re open again. Read about our COVID-safe plans and how you can visit.

Free admission

In conjunction with the major exhibition Matisse: Life & Spirit, Masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou, Paris (20 November 2021 – 13 March 2022), Matisse Alive offers a unique chance to further explore the life, art and influence of one of the world’s most celebrated artists, Henri Matisse.

Flooding the Art Gallery with colour and energy, this free program of art, music, performance and community celebrates Matisse’s art as an inspiration, point of orientation and focus of dialogue for artists today.

The journey begins in the entrance court – now called the John Kaldor Family Hall – with a stunning display of works from our collection, inspired by Matisse’s distinct use of colour and form, on show until 6 February.

At its heart are four new artist projects, on lower level 2, that present contemporary perspectives on this ‘modern master’ and focus especially on his imagining of the Pacific. Ranging from dynamic textile environments to heroically scaled paintings and an immersive video work, these projects are by leading contemporary artists: Nina Chanel Abney (US), Framily Ties; Sally Smart (Australia), The Artist's House; Angela Tiatia (Sāmoa/Australia), The Pearl; and Robin White (NZ), Vaiola.

There is also an electrifying display of tivaevae – the Polynesian art of quilting. This and other Pacific textile traditions profoundly influenced Matisse’s late great works, the ‘cut-outs’.

Matisse’s visions of domestic spaces are explored in the neighbouring Living Space, on show until 16 January, through a series of works from the Art Gallery's collection that reveal how contemporary artists including Betty Woodman and Kamrooz Aram have shaped spaces of intimacy and contemplation.

And anytime before 16 January, you can drop into the adjacent Making Space to decorate a mural with magnetic patterns and objects inspired by the art of Robin White and her collaborator Ebonie Fifita. Perfect for kids and families!

Nina Chanel Abney 'BLUE' 2021 collage on panel, 153 x 154.6 cm Lent by the artist, courtesy of Pace Prints, NYC © Nina Chanel Abney

Nina Chanel Abney BLUE 2021, lent by the artist, courtesy of Pace Prints, NYC © Nina Chanel Abney

Floating in a cloudy ski is a pink plastic clam shell, partially open, on which is balanced a white spiral shell holding a pink hibiscus flower.

Angela Tiatia with Tristan Jalleh for Angela Tiatia The pearl 2021 © Angela Tiatia

A person holds up a large piece of white paper with a black and grey pattern in front of their body. Scraps of coloured paper lie on the floor around them.

Sally Smart Chant (Choreography of cutting) 2019-21 (detail, video still), courtesy of the artist © Sally Smart. Photo © James Wright

A living room depicted in shades of brown.

Robin White with Ebonie Fifita Soon, the tide will turn February 2021, courtesy of the artists © the artists

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