Agent Bodies explores the boundaries of existence

Image: Mike Parr, 'La Triviata Bad Son' (still)

Agent Bodies the exhibition explores the fluid and porous boundaries of existence. Seventeen international and Australian artists engage with themes of human agency, identity and the body will be showing at RMIT Gallery from 8 April until 7 August 2022.

Agent Bodies considers new propositions of what a body is, what it has been, and, perhaps most importantly, what it could be. This exhibition interrogates how human bodies, other bodies, and the space between bodies are contextualised and understood today.

The artists in the exhibition share an interest in examining the various freedoms and constraints enacted upon bodies.

Agent Bodies brings together Australian and international artists including: Anonymous (AUS), Brook Andrew (AUS), Georgia Banks (AUS), Leigh Bowery (AUS/UK), Cassils (USA/Can), Megan Cope (AUS), Matthew Davies (AUS), Juan Davila (AUS), Alicia Frankovich (AUS/NZ), Lucian Freud (UK), The Killing (NZ), Claire Lambe (AUS), Mike Parr (AUS), Sam Petersen (AUS), Yhonnie Scarce (AUS), Anne Wallace (AUS) and Ah Xian (AUS).

Exhibition Curators are Mikala Dwyer and Drew Pettifer.

The exhibition includes works that question the performance of identity, bodies in motion, and various states of bodily integrity – birth, sex, and death. Working across a diverse range of media, the artworks in Agent Bodies share an interest in interrogating the various freedoms and constraints enacted upon bodies.

Many of the artists included in the exhibition recognise bodies as fluid, hybrid, permeable, and ambiguous. They explore how bodies dictate the shape of time and space, but also how the shape of time and space can influence bodies. They reflect where the body is, where it isn’t, and the various states in between. In this way, there is an affinity with radical forms of queerness, intersubjectivity, and intersectionality.

Image: Megan Cope, 'THE BLAKTISM' (video stills)

Agent Bodies was initially formed from a personal perception that although we have incredible contemporary artists interrogating bodies – and I mean ‘bodies’ in the most expansive ways – there had been a lack of curated projects critically reflecting on how our understandings of bodies have shifted. It was through a series of critical conversations with Mikala Dwyer that this grew into a curatorial project that gives a diverse range of incredible artists a platform to offer their own thoughts and frameworks for understanding bodies today.”

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with some exceptional artists on this project, but the chance to engage with a creative mind like Mikala in co-curating this exhibition has been eye-opening. Her own practice has engaged with the body in radical and thought-provoking ways, and she has a way of effortlessly cutting through to the essence of things; she understands artists and creative practice in such a visceral way.’’ Co-curator Drew Pettifer says.

A fully illustrated digital catalogue with essays by Professor Sue Best and Professor Edward Colless and curators’ essay by Mikala Dwyer and Drew Pettifer will be available.

RMIT Gallery is part of RMIT Culture, which brings together the University’s cultural spaces, creative programs and art, film, design and research collections, providing valuable support for the university’s learning and teaching activities and opportunities to inspire creativity and collaboration.

See Agent Bodies before it ends this August!


Dates: 8 April - 7 August 2022

Location: RMIT Gallery, Swanston Street, Melbourne

Cost: Free Entry

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