Ken Whisson retrospective travels to Sydney - Art Collector

Ken Whisson, Imaginary America, 1974-5. Oil on composition board. Collection of Tarrawarra Museum of Art, Victoria. Courtesy: the artist

25 June 2012 | The major Ken Whisson retrospective at the Heide Museum of Modern Art in Victoria is about to travel to Sydney.

The exhibition, which closes at the Heide on 15 July 2012, will open at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney in September.

The exhibition’s title,
As if, is inspired by the catchcry of the Paris surrealists: “Let us live as if the world really exists.”

It features more than 200 of his portraits, landscapes and sketches, tracing the development of his work over the past six decades.

The work deals with topics including the Cold War, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, global capitalism, the collapose of colonialism and, more recently, 9/11 and the war on terror.

Whisson comments: “‘My paintings have a much better memory than I do for the things I’ve seen ... a much clearer memory. They seem to remember a lot of things that I don’t remember.”

Heide curator Lesley Harding and MCA curator Glenn Barkley worked together to produce the exhibition. Barkley has long been a believer in Whisson’s work, notably curating him into the 2009 contemporary art showcase
Making it new.

“We are honoured to be working with Ken whose singular vision and dedication to his practice has been, and continues to be, an inspiration to artists across generations,” says Barkley.


As if runs from 25 September to 25 November 2012 at the MCA in Sydney.

Jane O'Sullivan


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