Samstag launches program for a year of celebration

By Nick Carne

It’s back-to-back birthdays for UniSA’s Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, and the gallery has unveiled a year-long program that will see it celebrate in style.

Last year the Samstag was an important part of the University’s 25th birthday; this year marks its own 10th anniversary as a gallery with a reputation for presenting thought provoking exhibitions.

“That decade of proud achievement is quite a platform for us and we will build on it to forge a continuing creative future,” said Director Erica Green. “That’s at least two good reasons to celebrate, don’t you think?”

Things kicked off last Friday with the launch of two quite different exhibitions examining our use and misuse of water.

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James TYLOR, Aotearoa (The Garden of Eden)

Countercurrents, part of the Adelaide Festival, looks at the state of the marine environment, teasing apart the complex history of human passage across the Pacific Ocean, to consider water’s capacity to both isolate us from and connects us to the rest of the world.

The Ocean After Nature, which is produced by the New York-based Independent Curators International and features the work of 18 international artists and collectives, considers the future or the planet through today’s oceans.

And there’s a third part to the story. Troubled Waters, which opens on 28 April, traces the Murray River from its source in Victoria to its mouth in the Coorong region, featuring works created by multimedia artists in collaboration with leading environmental scientist Richard Kingsford.

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Angela TIATIA, Holding On (still from digital moving image)

The second half of the year will begin with two unique exhibitions presented as part of the SALA Festival.

The Summation of Force is a multi-channel video installation by South Australian photo-based artists Trent Parke and Narelle Autio that pitches competitive sport and the mythical power of cricket as a metaphor for life and parenthood. Michelle Nikou’s a e i o u draws on surrealism to transform mundane domestic objects and materials into sculptures of humour, poignancy and marvel.

The 2017 program will conclude with two exclusive collaborative exhibitions.

In an exciting original partnership with Singapore Art Museum and OzAsia Festival, the gallery will present After Utopia: Revisiting the Ideal in Asian Contemporary Art, an ambitious exhibition that explores the mismatch between our ideals and realities.

At the same time, the Samstag and the Adelaide Film Festival will premiere the installation Geoff Cobham: Already Elsewhere, which brings together light, sound and movement to create an environment of technical and sensory surprise.

Full program details are here.

Featured Image: Ken & Julia YONETANI, Sweet Barrier Reef