Contemporary Art questioning the future in South Australia

Sundari Carmody, 'white white (summer and winter solstice)', 2017, neon light

A major new exhibition of contemporary South Australian art, opens in Adelaide in September, If the future is to be worth anything: 2020 South Australian Artist Survey, is an extraordinary declaration of support for and investment in artistic communities.

Featuring ten local artists, collectives and support organisations at all points in their careers, the exhibition celebrates the breadth of art practice and critical perspectives emerging from South Australia’s artistic communities, and is ACE Open’s most ambitious project to date.

Over the past year, ACE Open’s Artistic Director, Patrice Sharkey, and Curator-in-Residence, Rayleen Forester, have been visiting artists, surveying the landscape of contemporary art in the state. Together, they have selected a diverse group of artists that embody a cross section of contemporary art production as opposed to a specific theme.

Invited artists have been encouraged to try something new and/or develop an as-yet-unrealised project, which may take any form. They include: Aida Azin, Carly Dodd, Emmaline Zanelli, fine print, Kate Bohunnis, Matt Huppatz, Sandra Saunders, Sundari Carmody, Tutti Arts and Yusuf Hayat.

Photos by courtesy of artist. Aida Azin in studio by Thomas McCammon, Carly Dodd, Emmaline Zanelli, Matt Huppatz, Kate Bohunnis, Sundari Carmody, and Yusuf Hayat by Sam Roberts

“What brings together the artists featured in this exhibition is an engagement with a world beyond art, directed towards thoughtful and productive experimentation, the re-envisioning of self and structures, and political and aesthetic strategies for survival,” Patrice says.

For local artists, an opportunity to participate in an exhibition of this scale and freedom is rare. South Australian artist, Kate Bohunnis, says “being invited to participate in the 2020 South Australian Artist Survey exhibition has awarded me the confidence to explore an unrealised project that otherwise would not have been possible. With ACE Open’s support, I am able to dedicate the time and the materials integral to creating a new work of this scale and ambition.”

The choice to include independent visual arts writing platform, fine print, makes a statement about the importance and value ACE Open places on critical discourse, and also about the elasticity of creative expression that contemporary art and ACE Open itself possesses.

Kate Bohunnis Axe 2, 2020 (Photo: Sam Roberts)

fine print occupies a slightly different space to the other artists of the Survey, operating with a recognition of the importance that arts writing holds to the vitality of its creation,” says fine print co-editor, Joanna Kitto.

“ACE Open have created a space for fine print to continue our work beyond the digital, affording us a platform to explore the nature and principles of presentations, the architecture of space and people, and creating kinship between art and audience,” she says.

If the future is to be worth anything: 2020 South Australian Artist Survey is the major exhibition outcome for ACE Open’s 2019 fundraising campaign, which raised $80,000. While the ACE Open gallery has been closed due to COVID-19, we have been undertaking refurbishments to the studios and galleries. They are now better than ever for both artists and audiences, and will premiere with If the future is to be worth anything: 2020 South Australian Artist Survey.

Artists' previous works

Public programs accompanying the exhibition will be announced in September 2020.

ACE Open provides transformative contemporary art experiences for artists and audiences from its CBD art space in Adelaide, South Australia. As South Australia’s flagship contemporary art gallery, ACE Open presents a year-round program of free exhibitions by practicing South Australian, Australian and international artists. ACE’s programs extend the edges of contemporary visual art practice, embrace diversity and provide a space for artists and audiences to take risks.

Don't miss out on exhibition If the future is to be worth anything: 2020 South Australian Artist Survey this year!


Location: ACE Open, Lion Arts Centre, Adelaide

Dates: from Saturday 12 September till 12 December 2020

Cost: Free admission

Opening Hours: Tues – Sat; 11am – 4pm

Ace Open Website