Embracing the contradictions inherent in public art collections and exploring the uses to which they are put.
Chaos & Order celebrates over 80 Australian and international artists in an ambitious survey of the RMIT Art Collection.
A riot of painting, sculpture, photography, sound and new media, the exhibition embraces the contradictions inherent in public art collections. How does one reconcile the academic style of Rupert Bunny with the minimalism of Robert Hunter, or the hyperrealism of Sam Jinks, without retreating to historical narrative?
Public collections can be paradoxical beasts. They strive to adhere to strict criteria (chronology, style or taxonomy; art history, theory and criticism) or be encyclopaedic in their holdings, but are as frequently defined by what they have failed to acquire. Just as often, the curiosities, outsiders and novelties that fall outside the stated ambit of a collection prove to be its great successes: serendipity uncovers many hidden treasures. Chaos underlies the myth of order.
Besides being a showcase for the work of alumni and staff, who rank among the most highly-regarded artists the country has produced, the intended purpose of the RMIT art collection is to tell the story of the university, its ideals and aspirations.
Chaos & Order takes this broad remit, and demonstrates the impossibility of a definitive narrative that accurately traces the evolution of artistic style, thought and technique across decades and generations. Instead, it suggests visual, poetic, thematic, and emotional relationships between works created over the past 100 years, and dispenses with the restrictive dictates of historical, technical or stylistic categories.
Chaos & Order is a collaboration between RMIT Gallery and the RMIT School of Art MA Arts Management program.
Curator: Jon Buckingham
Curatorial assistants [RMIT MA Arts Management]: Ellie Collins, Adelaide Gandrille, Marybel Schwartz, Valerie Sim, Sophie Weston
Artists including Tate Adams, Howard Arkley, Khadim Ali, Peter Booth, Polly Borland, Godwin Bradbeer, Rupert Bunny, Penny Byrne, Maria Fernanda Cardoso, Peter Clarke, Michael Cook, Len Crawford, Daniel Crooks, Craig Easton, Peter Ellis, Neil Emmerson, Juan Ford, Hayden Fowler, Len French, Sally Gabori, Bill Henson, Petr Herel, Clare Humphries, Robert Hunter, Robert Jacks, Sam Jinks, George Johnson, Roger Kemp, Inge King, Grahame King, Juz Kitson, Grace Lillian Lee, Helen Maudsley, Nick Mourtzakis, Trevor Nickolls, Jill Orr, Polixeni Papapetrou, Susan Philipsz, Anthony Pryor, Reko Rennie, Yhonnie Scarce, Greg Semu, Jan Senbergs, Christian Thompson, Kawita Vatanajyankur, Ah Xian.