Arbiters | Group Show

Space one | RECOVER/ REORIENT | Naomi Segal & Mika Benesh

Space two | Constructions | Show Us Your Teeth

Dancing with the Light | Tzeli Hadjidimitriou

The Joke is On You | Group Show

Space one | Ruins | Nicholas Aloiso-Shearer

Space two | Foreign Lands | Karolina Partyka

Space one | Tell me when I can stop | Hope Vanny

Space two | Making Home | Sacha Mishkin

UNSW Art & Design Courtyard | Kudos Live Vol. 3 | Dual Existence

Space one | Currents of Exchange | Kate Brown

Space two | Archiving Apocalypse | Group Show

Les Misérables '18 | Group Show

Space one | Cinema | Group Show

Space two | Dump | Penelope Cain

Kudos Emerging Artist & Designer Award 2018

@jadefad: a social media feed in paint | Amber Boardman

Kudos Live Vol. 4 | Ritual Bodies | The Flinders Hotel

Space one | Familiar Interventions | Scott Duncan & Alex Latham

Space two | pass some water through the hole and then you'll see | Kieran Bryant

Tracing the Archipelago | Curated by Jenny Anagostopoulos and Yarran Gatsby | Early Career Curator Award

2018 Exhibition Program


Orson Heidrich, Vasili Papathanasopoulos, Manon Mikolaitis, Daniel Mitchell, Bryce Noakes, Cat Wratten, Tayla Jay

Curated by Vasili Papathanasopoulos & Orson Heidrich

31 January - 17 February 2018

Opening night Tuesday 30 January 2018, 5-8 PM

An image is a material depiction of an object, subject or place, made visible through the action of being photographed. By focusing on these scenes visually through photography and video, the artist brings it to the forefront. Through this action, the artist becomes the author / arbiter of significance in their world. 

Through photography, video and mixed medium Arbiters examines photography in an expanded sense to gauge the overall contemporary state of the image. Each work in the exhibition implicitly or explicitly explores what we accept within the realm of photography and video. 

Thematics of the work include the exploitation of visual mediums, through intervention or a lack of intervention to create interaction between life and the image, the ways in which visual media and imagery specific to the female body is fabricated, editing techniques and the machinations of manipulation and considerations of where memory sits in relation to the photographic image. Each work reckons with the specific nature of photography and video as media and the meaning they produce in the world. 

Cover Image: TAYLA JAY Baby (2017) Stills from HD Videos, 2 x LCD Screens. Set of 2.

Images courtesy of the artists and Kudos Gallery. Photos: Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer

Space one | RECOVER/REORIENT | Naomi Segal & Mika Benesh

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Naomi Segal and Mika Benesh

21 February - 10 March 2018

Opening night Tuesday 20 February 2018, 5-8 PM

RECOVER / REORIENT examines cultural recovery, friendship and collaborative art-making as sources of comfort. Drawing from Mika’s Jewish background and Naomi’s Chinese-Jewish background, the exhibition emphasises remembrance: the act of recovering personal and intergenerational history.

Much of the work is collaborative – guided by a gentle exploration of materials as well as a mutual sensitivity for transience, fragility and warmth. Fragmental images and narratives are uncovered on paper, video projections, silk and glass, accumulating into a sensory archive that offers stability in the artists’ identities. In this space, you are invited to contemplate the vulnerable experience of memory, becoming conscious of the value of remembrance.

Cover Image: (From left to right) Mika Benesh ‘Nineteen Seventy-Eight’, 2017 Graphite drawing on paper, 15x15cm. Naomi Segal ‘Abu’s hassling me again’, 2018 Graphite and digital print on paper, 15.5x13.5cm. Mika Benesh ‘The History of Remembering’, 2017 Graphite and photographs on paper booklet, 15x10cm. Naomi Segal ‘Abu’, 2018 Heat transfer on paper, 13x20.5cm. Naomi Segal Untitled notebook page, 2017 Acrylic paint and graphite on paper, 7.5x10.5cm. Untitled photo of Yun Xia Segal, taken by Phillip Segal. c. 1997.

Courtesy of the artists and Kudos Gallery. Photos: Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer

Space two | Constructions | Show Us Your Teeth

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Show Us Your Teeth (featuring Doodad and Fandango)

21 February - 10 March 2018

Opening night Tuesday 20 February 2018, 5-8 PM

Constructions present’s new works by performance collective Show Us Your Teeth. The fun, colourful artworks explore the fluidity and incompleteness of personal identity and the role that disguise and camouflage play in the perception of who we are.

In 'Tableau', performers oscillate between exhibitionist and camouflaged displays of self-­expression. The performers move freely between environments in the gallery marking the consciousness with which many people disguise their identities, camouflaging themselves in the encoded visual language of different communities to survive. 'Piece by Piece' see’s the artists work to piece them(selves) together, attempting to complete a series of five 1000 piece self­‐portrait puzzles from memory.

Cover Image: Show Us Your Teeth, Tableau, 2018. Performance and mixed media installation.

Courtesy of the artists and Kudos Gallery. Photos: Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer

Dancing with the Light | Tzeli Hadjidimitriou

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Dancing with the light

Tzeli Hadjidimitriou  

13 – 17 March, 2018 

Opening night Tuesday 13 March, 2018, 6-8pm

Greek photographer and travel writer Tzeli Hadjidimitriou shares with us various moments from Lesvos, the island where she was born and raised and Kythera the island she fell in love many years ago, while avoiding the superficial ease of digital photography and its modern gaze. The two islands emerge in Hadjidimitriou’s photographs through their diverse “nature”. This natural diversity is above all due to the light; not just the sunlight but also the light of the moon and the stars.                                                                                                                                        

The photographs of Lesvos and Kythera, are not simply a presentation of a beautiful landscape. They invite us to hear the sounds of its waters, calm and stormy, to feel the heat of its earth, burnt by the sun, gaze at its moonlight, feel the humidity of its forests. Hers is an insider’s view, a view through the eyes of the heart. Tzeli shares with us her love for Lesvos and Kythera. 

Dancing with the Light is presented in association with the Greek Festival of Sydney.

Image Credit: Tzeli Hadjidimitriou

The Joke is On You | Group Show

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The Joke is On You 

Kieran Bryant, Theresa Chromati (USA), Beth Dillon, Fresh and Fruity (NZ), Emily Galicek, Matthew Harris, Ben Thomas Jones, Shahmen Suku, Natalie Synnott , Alana Wesley 

Curated by Emily Galicek

4 - 21 APRIL 2018

Opening night Tuesday 3 April 2018- 5-8 PM

Opening Night Performances

6:30PM: Radha La Bia (Shahmen Suku)

7:15PM: Beth Dillon

The Joke is On You provokes differing uses of humour as artistic strategy, with a particular focus on its potential for critique of wider social and intersectional issues. The works in this exhibition pay homage to and expand upon moments of humour within art history: at times they present a humorous and queer re-imagining of histories. 

As a collection of works in dialogue with one another, there is a sense of oscillation between highbrow and lowbrow humour. The works don’t “laugh at,” but instead “laugh with.” They are nuanced: appearing serious until you look hard enough and realise they aren’t, or works that tread a fine line between laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy.  

The mediums utilised among the artists are reflective of current contemporary practice: the use of phone and computer-generated photographs and videos, text-based works, performance and expanded painting.  

Special thanks to Georgia Hobbs 

Image: Matthew Harris, Dom Top, 2017, synthetic polymer paint on linen.

Images courtesy of the artists and Kudos Gallery. Photos: Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer

Space one | Ruins | Nicholas Aloiso-Shearer

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Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer 

26 April - 12 May 2018

Opening night 24 April 2018, 5 - 8pm.

Ruins is an examination of the relationships between photography, 3D video games and vision. In the exhibition virtual spaces, both photographic and computer-generated, are materialised in images and objects. These representations are reminiscent of ruins and fossils, the capturing of their likeness serving as an archaeological examination of how the material and virtual might impact upon each other. 


Image: Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer

Photos courtesy of the artists and Kudos Gallery. Photos: Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer

Space two | Foreign Lands | Karolina Partyka

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Foreign Lands

Karolina Partyka 

26 April - 12 May 2018

Opening night Tuesday 24 April 2018, 5 - 8pm.

By interrogating our relationship with place and land, Foreign Lands looks at utopias, frontiers, and what it means to be ‘native’. Belonging and foreignness are explored through technological and science fiction tropes, transposing the lived experience of migrants, refugees and ‘others’ into the currently developing narrative of humanity’s next frontier and imagined utopia - Mars.  

Literally meaning ‘no place’, the idea of Utopia has enthralled humans throughout history. As an Australian-born child of Polish refugees, Partyka’s work draws upon the experience of navigating between cultures whilst carrying inherited traumas, many of which directly resulted from the failures and distortions of attempted utopian ideologies (Nazism and Socialism). Her work also speaks to the persistent Australian attachment to a mythologised Anglo utopia of the ‘good old days’, a time before non-British immigrants or Indigenous citizenship. 

Mars, myth, and science fiction act as allegorical mirrors of Earth-bound migrations, colonialisations, and the generational impacts thereof, as well as examining the implications of placing a human presence on Mars, and how it may evolve our understanding of our humanity. The gallery space itself is treated as a frontier for exploration, strategically placing and lighting works to form a cohesive sense of place.  


Image: Karolina Partyka, Land Mythology (#2), 2017 Digital Photographic Print, 420 x 594 mm

Images courtesy of the artists and Kudos Gallery. Photos: Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer

Space one | Tell Me When I Can Stop | Hope Vanny

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Tell Me When I Can Stop

Hope Vanny

16 May - 2 June 2018

Performance Times Wednesdays - Fridays: 11:00am - 2:00pm Saturdays: 11:00am - 1:30pm

Finissage 29 May 2018, 5 - 8pm.

Tell Me When I Can Stop is a durational performance in which the artist expresses her lived experience of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The work speaks to the isolation experienced by many sufferers as a result of their need to follow compulsions. This time-based performance reflects the process of becoming lost in, disillusioned and controlled by these compulsive behaviours. The artist will perform for 3 hours each day of the exhibition, creating a continuous, expanding line drawing within a ‘cell-like’ performance space. The segregation of the artist and surveillance-style filming of the her in the space speaks to the marginalised, clinical and impersonal climate that currently overshadows mental health treatment

Photo credit Nicholas Chu (Madeye Photography)

Space two | Making Home | Sasha Mishkin

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Making Home 

Sasha Mishkin

16 May - 2 June 2018

Finissage 29 May 2018, 5 - 8pm.

What can a living space say about those who inhabit it? How do household objects manifest as mementos of past and present landscapes? Making Home consists of portraits in the homes of immigrants living in Sydney. A home is a material and functional space. Simultaneously, ‘home’ as a concept represents societal norms and ideals of comfort, belonging, security, and family. Reflecting on her own experience of ‘making home’ in a new country, Mishkin considers what it looks and feels like to establish a corner of comfort in a society where many migrants are made to feel they don’t belong. In direct consultation with the participants in this series, Making Home explores the domestic environment as a site where personality is performed and interior worlds portrayed.

Image: Sasha Mishkin, Making Home, 2018. Archival inkjet print.

Images courtesy of the artists and Kudos Gallery. Photos: Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer

Kudos Live Vol. 3: Dual Existence

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UNSW Art & Design Courtyard

Kudos Live: Volume 3: Dual Existence

Eugene Choi, Get To Work, Amy Claire Isabelle, Loc Nguyen, Ella Byrne Curated by Kate Stodart

5 June 2018, 6 - 9:30pm Kudos Gallery

Join Kudos as we take over the UNSW Art & Design courtyard for an evening of experimental performance practices for 'Kudos Live: Volume 3: Dual Existence' 'Kudos Live: Volume 3: Dual Existence' focuses on the relationship between the live act and its documentation. It considers the way certain narratives are edited, framed or removed in the process of documentation and the affects on audience’s later engagement and understanding. 'Dual Existence' looks to the potential for creative experimentation to find alternative ways of viewing live art. What role does documentation play? Can it be an extension of the performance? Or will it morph into something new? 

An exhibition, in September 2018, will further interrogate the documentation of 'Dual Existence' (be it visual, non-visual, re-enacted, collaborative, or ephemeral) with an aim to reflect on the scope of documentation’s possibilities and limitations.

The 'Kudos Live: Volume 3' night will also precede 'TALKIN’ ABOUT TALKIN’ ABOUT ART', a writing workshop exploring on approaches to writing on experimental and temporary performance works.

TALKIN’ ABOUT TALKIN’ ABOUT ART 6 June 2018, 11am - 2pm Kudos Gallery. Registration is required, to register and for more on TALKIN’ ABOUT TALKIN’ ABOUT ART HERE

Image: Ella Byrne, Traces, 2018, (video still), HD digital video, 3:30

Photos by Dominique Berns-Blackwell.

Space one | Currents of Exchange | Kate Brown

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Currents of Exchange

Kate Brown

13 June - 30 June 2018

Opening night Tuesday 12 June 2019, 5-8 PM

CURRENTS OF EXCHANGE explores the relationship between objects, how they are observed, interpreted and interacted with during vocal performance. The representation of an object can be defined by a single reality, position and cultural perspective. Over the duration of the exhibition Kate will present 3 vocal performances where she will change or shift some components in the space.

Object Oriented Ontology and Participation Mystique are two key frameworks relevant to the research that has influenced this current body of work.

Sound is absorbed or ricocheted via a vocal body in a designated space. Some sounds notated and improvised, however the interaction across the space will determine the vocal outcomes volume and extension or brevity. As images develop during this interaction an audience can interpret the evolving framework. There are designated parameters within each performance alongside an unfolding of ephemeral, otherworldly and physical vocal elements that will continue to change the pace of the work as it develops.

Cover image: Courtesy of the artist

Images courtesy of the artist and Kudos Gallery. Photos: Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer

Space two | Archiving Apocalypse | Group Show

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Archiving Apocalypse

Joel Hedge, Blake Wilson, Tahlia Carr, Bruno Panucci

Curated by Melissa Mills

13 June - 30 June 2018

Opening night Tuesday 12 June 2018, 5-8 PM

Rather than an event insurmountable, universal and definitive, ARCHIVING APOCALYPSE considers the idea of ‘apocalypse’ as a lived experience, which is often personal, political and cultural. Engaged with the idea of living through and with apocalypse, the artists in this exhibition turn to experimental methods of representation to produce meaning, community and critical discourse surrounding what is recorded (and how), and what is left behind.

Working with installation, video work, VR, ceramic, and material collage, each artist takes up an individual idea of ‘apocalypse’ in the form of colonisation, the history of HIV, experiences of mental illness and gender dysphoria, and ecological disaster. Reaching back through the past, into the present, and imagining the future for these temporal spaces of crisis also allows us to work with and through our global anxieties and histories.

Ideas of tangibility, temporality and duration also coalesce through the course of the show – works will be altered, destroyed or become different between the shows opening night and its final day. This brings to the fore a number of questions surrounding the role of the archive, and its susceptibility to destruction, misrepresentation and political control.

Special thanks to: Patrick Younis, Niko Plaskas, Celeste Carnegie, Matthew Shields, Joel Hedge, Fei Gao, Beau Mourer, Jarri Heydar, Phươngg Uyên, Dileepa Dayananda, Caitlin Welluno, Sophia Perilous Compton, Alana Anne Cotton, Cara David, Sïan Kelly, Luca Rex Holden, Mai Kanhukamwe, Brendan Donnellan, Mahn Lion, Tomasz Sierakowski, Miranda Longhurst.

Cover image: Courtesy of the artists

Images courtesy of the artists and Kudos Gallery. Photos: Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer

Les Misérables '18 | Group Show

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Les Misérables ‘18 

Liam Benson x Cassandra Bird, Dean Cross, Beth Dillon, Heidi Lefebvre, Daniel Mudie Cunningham, Luke O'Connor x George Haddad, Katy B Plummer, Em Size, Marcia Swaby, Alexander Tanazefti, Athena Thebus, Amanda Wolf and Zoe Wong. 

Curated by Heidi Lefebvre x Katy B Plummer and Luke Létourneau

Exhibition runs: 4 - 21 July 2018 

Exhibition opening: 3 July 2018, 5 – 8pm

Artist Talk: 21 July 2018, 2 - 4pm

The central concern of Les Misérables '18 is how we consume narratives. It understands that history is being forged not by reasonable adults building a considered future, but by passionate individuals tangling on a gut level. The exhibition asks us to reconsider our perceptions of history and its figures—and the uncanny ways pantomime reflects how our culture actually remembers. 

While the curators draw inspiration from the many adaptations of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables (and particularly Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil's 1980 megamusical), it’s going to be really helpful if you recognise that the works in this exhibition are, by and large, uninterested in that story. The sensibility of Les Misérables is what the curators were drawn to; it re-focuses the story of revolutionary Paris as a sprawling bombastic series of stories. It embraces camp and high drama, sure, but all as a method to subvert and rewrite narratives anew. 

Image credit: Katy B Plummer

Images courtesy of the artists and Kudos Gallery. Photos: Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer

Space one | Cinema | Group Show

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Paul Matereke, Hanna Tai, Elise Harmsen, Kuba Dorabialski 

25 July - 11 August 2018

Opening night Tuesday 24 July 2018, 5-8pm 

In Runway Experimental Art Journal Issue #37 [Cinema], twelve artists were invited to respond to a film from a program put together by editors Alifa Bandali and Sarinah Masukor. Together, the films explore ideas of guilt, love, race, belonging, landscape and place. The responses are loose and personal, with many artists reflecting on their place in society and the power of cinema to question how we look at ourselves. At Kudos Gallery, four video works, by Paul Matereke, Hanna Tai, Elise Harmsen and Kuba Dorabialski, will be screened alongside the issue, featuring work by Erin Crouch, Matt Chun, Carla Uriarte, Amelia Mertha, Jaya Keaney, Athena Thebus, Hannah Donnelly and Audrey Lam.

Image: Paul Matereke 'A Tribute to Do The Right Thing (1989)', 2018. HD Video. Commissioned for Runway Experimental Art Journal Issue #37 [Cinema].

Images courtesy of the artists and Kudos Gallery. Photos: Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer

Space two | Dump | Penelope Cain

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Dump (with a view of some trees and the wind over water)

Penelope Cain 

25 July - 11 August2018

Opening night Tuesday 24 July 2018, 5-8PM

Dump is a pejorative term for a place used to dispose of waste. It is also the low-value central disk of the ‘holey dollar’, the first local official currency of colonial Australia, devised by Lachlan Macquarie.  

This exploration takes into consideration both of these meanings in an object-led enquiry.  

In the face of insufficient British currency in the colony, in 1812 Lachlan Macquarie had holes punched in a consignment of Spanish silver dollars, creating two pieces - the outer holey dollar and the inner dump - thus doubling the number of coins. This singularly innovative act of official currency mutilation was subsequently recognised by the Macquarie Bank, who adopted the holey dollar as its logo.  

Dump traces at a molecular level the silver of the holey dollar, through a linked series of anthropogenic landscapes, from Spanish colonial silver mines to Broken Hill and on to the Antarctic.  

Penelope Cain is a Sydney-based interdisciplinary artist with a science background. Landscape, in its widest terms, is central to her practice. She completed a MFA from SCA (2016). She has been awarded a Power Institute Residency, Cite des Artes, Paris, and was a finalist in the Sulman Prize and the Glenfiddich Contemporary Art Prize. She has exhibited in Australia, Seoul, Shanghai and London. 

Image: Penelope Cain, 'View across the hill (biomapping with bees)', 2018. HD Video (still). Courtesy of the artist 

Photos: Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer

Kudos Emerging Artist + Designer Award 2018

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Kudos Emerging Artist + Designer Award 2018

22 August - 8 September 2018

Winner's Announcement Night : 4 September 2018, 5-8 PM

Our 2018 Kudos Award Finalists are: Aris Ioannou-Marsh, Ava Williams, Beth Dillon, Billy Bain, Brenton Alexander Smith, Cindy Kavanagh, DanDan Wang, Dennis Golding, Elijah Innes, Ella Byrne, Em Size, Emily Galicek, Eva Nolan, Fei Gao, Jake Parker, Jen Friedland, Jennifer Brady, Joshua Bentley, Karam Hussein, Kate Stodart, Kieran Bryan,t Linda Sok, Loc Nguyen, Marisa Suen, Mika Benesh, Millie Mitchell, Naomi Segal, Nolan Ho Wung Murphy, Rabeea Soomro, Romy Groth, Sabrina Basuki, Shahroud Ghahani, Sian Kelly, Soraya Nematollahi, Tiani Schaefer, Zoe Gojnich

The Kudos Award is an annual award that seeks to recognise, nurture and support innovation and excellence across all disciplines at UNSW Art & Design. This year the award was judged by Shireen Taweel, Adam Porter and Josh Harle. During the judging process, all three judges found that they kept returning to this work and found it to be an incredibly well realised work that shows an artist working hard to evolve the use of process and techniques in their practice.

Kudos Gallery is proud to announce Eva Nolan as the Major Prize winner of the Kudos Emerging Artist + Designer Award for their work The Pinned Moth Cannot Fly, 2018.

The 17th annual Kudos Award also marks the fifth consecutive year the Girl Genius Award has been awarded, with this year's guest judge Liz Ann Macgregor Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, selected Naomi Segal's No word for loneliness, 2018.  

Kudos Gallery also congratulates the recipients of the highly commended awards: 

Soraya Nematollahi Mothers, 2018 

Rabeea Soomro A Daughter of Diaspora Paper, 2018 

Marisa Suen Play It By Ear, 2018

Karam Hussein Umm Kemil, 2018 

Linda Sok Mediating remembrance, 2018 

Loc Nguyen Two Skins, 2018 

Dennis Golding Overlooking Botany Bay, 2018 

Kudos Gallery also congratulates the inaugural winner of the People's Choice Award Ava Williams, awarded for their work World Dichotomy, 2018  

Images courtesy of the artist and Kudos Gallery. Photos: Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer

@jadefad: a social media feed in paint | Amber Boardman

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@jadefad: a social media feed in paint

Amber Boardman

12 - 29 September

Opening night Tuesday 11 September 2018 from 5pm-8pm

Artist to Artist Workshop to be held on Saturday 22 and Wednesday 26 September. Book here

Amber Boardman paints the endless desire to improve the body as promoted by Internet and social media culture through makeup, hair dye and spray tans —the transformative ‘paint’ women use in everyday life. This exhibition comprises 32 paintings which become the Instagram posts of Boardman’s invented character, Jade. The exhibition exists both physically in the gallery and online through a series of social media feeds. This exhibition explores how contemporary painting can collide with Internet beauty culture, and in the process, create new forms of narrative and commerce on social media. Programme highlights include a print catalogue produced for the exhibition with an essay by Brigitte Mulholland, Director of Anton Kern Gallery in New York. Boardman will conduct Artist-to-Artist Workshops during the exhibition, engaging in one-on-one dialogues with artists and offering her experience as a fellow artist, university lecturer, and PhD student. Boardman first engaged in Artist-to-Artist Workshops during an exhibition in America last year as a way of rethinking what it means to have an exhibition. She will offer artists assistance with grant proposals and artist statements, as well as informal chats about art and what it means to be an artist.

Image: Amber Boardman '@jadefad: Before and after open bar. Complete carnage last night. I’m thinking I must be a character made out of paint?!', 2018. Oil on canvas, 76cm x 204cm.

Print catalog available with an essay by Brigitte Mulholland, Director of Anton Kern Gallery, New York

Photos: Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer

Kudos Live Vol. 4: Ritual Bodies

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Kudos Live Vol. 4: Ritual Bodies

Thursday 20 September, 6 - 10:30pm, The Flinders Hotel

Artists: Radha La Bia, Māra Māyā Devi, Kirsten Packham, Em Size, Devon Mer, Jessica Fogarty. 

DJs: Rydeen, Genergy.

Curated by Loc Nguyen.

Kudos Live Vol. 4: Ritual Bodies is an art party presenting performance-based works that materialise rituals and mythologies through the body.

The performances will expose the Flinders Hotel bar lounge as a space already pulsing with rituals and myth. The rituals of the body will come in contact with the rituals of the performance site to expose and subvert the assumptions of both. The boundaries between performer and audience will be dissolved and all of our stories, avatars and identities will meet and create one amorphous ritualistic performance.

First 75 Arc members receive 3 drink vouchers.

Kindly sponsored by Art & Design Student Council.

Em Size for Kudos Live Vol. 4: Ritual Bodies

tonight is cancelled, the performance is cancelled, my body is cancelled, this industry is cancelled

Unfortunately, this is not one of the most articulate, lyrical or well-researched things I’ve ever written. But there are things I want to start saying that I don’t quite know how to say yet, and which are hard to express and hard to explain and hard to even begin to contain in text. These things I want to talk about feel uncomfortable and difficult and, most of all, important – important in the sense that I don’t want to fuck this up or miscommunicate anything to you. I’ll try and speak as directly as I can.

In lieu of a performance, I want to briefly talk about what I won’t be performing tonight and why I won’t be performing tonight. Lately I feel like my career and my life has been carved out of negative space; what I make public, how I work and how I exist in the world often has less to do with what I want to do and more to do with what I’ve decided that I won’t do. I imagine many of you may have had or may be about to have careers that are, in part, defined by the process of defining what you will and will not do – for money, for your own mental health, for your artistic and political integrity, and so on.

I’m talking about my career at large instead of just this performance tonight because everything I experience in this world as a person and as a professional is part of a bigger life, a bigger career, and a bigger set of problems than just one one-off. The problem that I want to address right now is that my career to date has been much more about negotiating the labour conditions and political conditions around making and publishing or exhibiting my work, than it has been about actually making, publishing and exhibiting work.

Which is to say, the infrastructure around art determines what art is made and how it is received. The infrastructure around performance art determines what performance art is made and how it is received. I’m not performing tonight because the infrastructure to support the work that I want to make does not exist.

That’s not to say that I couldn’t make the art I want to anyway, while consciously working against and navigating inadequate systems. Many, many artists do this everyday. Not everyone chooses to, or is able to, have a politics of refusal. But I’m getting to a point where I’m realising that my politics isn’t (I feel like it can’t be!) masochistic. And after so many fucked up ‘work’ experiences to do with my body, my ‘identity’, my politics, and their high stakes intersections, I just wonder, why the fuck should I put myself through an underpaid, undervalued career of pushing shit uphill? Why the fuck should I endure the ritual shitness of using my body to make art to change the infrastructure of the art world, the infrastructures of seeing, and the infrastructures within which I am read and written into being? Who does that serve? What does that cost me? The infrastructure around art, spectatorship and their politics needs to change before I make the art that I want to make.

The infrastructure/s I’m talking about isn’t necessarily curators and venues – neither have affected my decision not to perform tonight. In this specific instance both have been supportive. The infrastructure around performance that I’m talking about is much bigger than that and it’s to do with patterns and behaviours of watching bodies, and patterns and behaviours of paying and positioning bodies. Broadly speaking it’s just lots of different dementors sucking your fucking soul out of you through your perpetually clenched sphincter. More specifically, the infrastructure that works against my work is toxic spectatorship, gazes, people feeling entitled to your body, people feeling entitled to your identity, people feeling entitled to your politics, people feeling entitled to your labour, people assuming that because they’re paying you in a chronically underpaid or not-paid industry that they can treat you (and your work which is your body, identity, politics, emotions, vulnerability and resilience) like a piece of shit commodity, and yes, a lot of it is just the commodification of identities and politics, a lot of it is the careful containment of anything actually radical or actually truly threatening to white supremacy, het-patriarchy, the ongoing occupation of this land and capitalism – and better yet the careful profiting off of critique as a way of deflating its social value while turning it into social, cultural and literal capital, a lot of it is art-at-night events like art bars and art parties and art cubes which perpetually recast and reinscribe certain bodies into marginality; a lot of it is the impossibility of working in the late night slots reserved for the ‘cool’ bodies that are forever gawked at outside of the gallery, and which are constantly given space in institutions only in the roles of entertainment, lurid spectacle, elevator music and/or ambiance, blah blah blah the greatest infrastructural demon of all is the fact that the people who feel infrastructural inequalities the most are the ones who constantly have to do the pedagogical labour of explaining, explaining, explaining what’s wrong. Privilege (which we all have in different measure) is the freedom to think about or act however you want because you don’t have to think about or act on what’s wrong.

What I was going to perform tonight was a strip tease; a work called Magic Dyke ***LIVE*** that imagines the requisite male stripper at hen’s nights as a dyke, transmasculine or butch sex symbol. I don’t need to tell you all my hopes and dreams for this work – what it was supposed to do, how it was supposed to make you feel, who it was made for. The point is that when you’re coping it from all angles in your actual life outside of the gallery, the last thing you need is to feel the fuckery you feel all the time, amplified, in that space. Artists working with high personal stakes should be getting extra support to express themselves, not an unending series of reasons to maybe quit the industry. There needs to be infrastructural change so that I can take my clothes off without feeling, in the audience’s gaze, the same carelessness and disregard for my welfare that I’ve felt when being outed, repeatedly misgendered, expected to hate myself, asked to give mp4 files of myself stripping to people for free, asked to write about how I feel the world compressing and crushing my autonomy and self-esteem for free, expected to not care when people knowingly and wilfully disregard my autonomy and wishes, etc. etc. etc. I could go on and on and on but the last thing I’m here to do tonight is to explain to you how this all feels and how everything I feel is starting to feel like the doubling and tripling up of personal and professional and personal-professional moments of hostility, self-effacement, anxiety, strategic denial, boycotting and hiding, fear, sadness, frustration and overwhelming disappointment in all the things that conspire to make simple things feel like impossibilities (simple things like being in my body or being in a room or being in a room full of people in my body or performing in a room full of people in my body). I’m not here to tell you exactly how this body and this life feels and how it feels to make work with (be hyper-public with) my body and my life. How could I be?

My refusal to explain in exact detail my body and my life and their relationship to my work and my inability to do my work is a decision partly born from the fact that it feels shit to have to focus on this kind of shit all the time, again and again and again. And that’s what so much of both my life and my practice and just being seen and interacted with feels like; my experience of queerness and trans-ness is a never-ending feeling of never getting to ask but always being prompted to answer; never just entering a room, but always being on the backfoot. I want to be careful in how I address that feeling as much as I can now. But my refusal to explain things in exhaustive detail also comes from the belief that explaining how this all feels to you feels both exhausting and futile. At the end of the day, if you don’t already get it there’s a good chance you’ll never get it. It’s impossible to understand how someone else’s body and someone else’s life feels.

But what I want and what I am starting to demand from infrastructural change is that people acknowledge that they don’t understand other people’s bodies and lives and to then act accordingly. Make concessions. Make change. Make things more bearable for people that feel the world and this particular industry and the particular problem of performing in and with certain bodies, unbearable. I want people to do what they can – sometimes more than what they think they can – to make impossible things more things possible. And I want people to understand that not performing tonight is not a boycott of art; it’s an invitation, an ask and maybe a demand that we actually engage with what art is, how it feels, why I’m ‘not working’ tonight and what isn’t working, at large.

Space one | Familiar Intervention | Scott Duncan and Alex Latham

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space one

Familiar Intervention

Scott Duncan and Alex Latham

Exhibition Runs: 3 – 20 October 2018

Opening night: Tuesday 2 October 2018, 5 – 8pm

Scott Duncan and Alex Latham call on the images of their lives and re-purpose them through ceramics and paint. Both take familiar images and objects and process them into hyper self-referential works that reflect the abundance of images that make up their world-view. The resulting works are absurdist, playful and esoteric portraits of the artists as experienced through their references. 

After all, we are all just the make-up of our references.

About the artists:

Scott Duncan’s body of work explores the method of collage in ceramics, drawing on kitsch, decorative art and craft. The motif of the mask is employed as a method for hiding kitsch, to create something new from the otherwise ordinary. He repurposes graphic design and layers visual themes in an incongruous juxtaposition to create something that on the surface seems familiar and nostalgic but at its heart challenges how we perceive traditional form.

Alex Latham’s body of work explores the navigation of the virtual and physical as spaces with increasingly waning distinctions. The artist’s subject matter is manipulated, amputated and repeated upon before being frantically sewn back together to create something new. The glitch aesthetics of a digital landscape are recalled but made permanent through the process of paint. For the artist, this process has come to symbolise a ‘scatter brain’ phenomenon produced by the hyper-prescience of digital information in seemingly non-digital landscapes.

Image credit: Scott Duncan ‘A most sinister fruit’, 2018. Earthenware and glazes 200 x 230 x 150mm. Photo by: Tim Ford

Photos by Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer.

Space two | pass some water through the hole and then you'll see | Kieran Bryant

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space two

pass some water through the hole and then you’ll see 

Kieran Bryant

Exhibition Runs: 3 – 20 October 2018

Opening night: Tuesday 2 October 2018, 5 – 8pm

pass some water through the hole and then you’ll see presents a series of video and mixed-media installation that examine how water, through its relationship with holes and orifices, can be a conduit of shame and regret in queered visibility and corresponding queer body dynamics. By exploring the interplay between situated wateriness and liquid autobiographical narrative, this exhibition attempts to locate holes in and suggest alternatives to dominant viewpoints concerning queer fluidity, visibility and the body in contemporary arts and culture. It focuses on interpretations of re-contextualised images, text, and sound taken from popular culture; and constructed urban waterways as conductive queer sites that hold particular emotions as codes to a narrative of visibility. Further it defines the hole as an escape or portal within the queer body, and seeks to understand how it exists as a site to connect the differing aspects of a fluid body experience.


A huge thank you to my supervisors Grant Stevens and Tim Gregory. This would have been impossible without their time, patience, guidance and kindness. 

Special thanks to the following people who helped me both in this process, in my practice, and in my life. You are angels. 

Beth Dillon, Lachlan Herd, Jake Gordon, Amy Mills, Caroline Lukaszyk, Spence Messih, Eugene Choi, Paloma Gould, Ben Strum, Claire Johnson, Samuel Hodge, Clare Powell, Marcus Whale, Meg Clune, Neil Beedie, James Gatt, James Nguyen, Emily Galicek, Chris Dolman, Elena Papanikolakis, Elena Paulina, Evan Dorrian, Robin Hearfield, Taloi Havini, Siân McIntyre. 

Thanks to Performance Space, Mr Ross Steele AM, and Verge Gallery for the incredible opportunities that helped shape my work. 

A big thank you to Sebastian Henry-Jones for the beautiful piece of writing he put together for this show. 

And a extra special thank you to Kelvin and Linda Bryant. I couldn’t have done this without their unwavering encouragement, support and love. 

Image credit: Kieran Bryant, wetness quartet (digital still), single-channel video (loop), 00:34:18, 2017 

Tracing the Archipelago |Early Career Curator Award

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Tracing the archipelago

Kalanjay Dhir, Shivanjani Lal, Gus Mcgrath, James Nguyen, Harrison Witsey, Kaytsen Jama, Dean Cross, Grace K Blake, Desire Lines

Curated by Jenny Anagnostopoulos and Yarran Gatsby

Exhibition: 31 October - 17 November 2018

Opening night: Tuesday 30 October 2018, 5 - 8pm

Public Program:

Desire Lines, Tracing the archipelago: 10 November 2pm At the threshold, Tracing the archipelago: 17 November 12pm (exhibition closing event)

Tracing the archipelago explores the idiosyncrasies involved with the occupation and navigation of space - whether it be socio-political, structural or digital. Through a series of conceptual and material investigations, artists examine multiple terrains of everydayness that are shaped by political, cultural and economic models and envision new ways to traverse and disrupt them. Relating to the fragmented experience of space, the exhibition utilises the metaphor of the archipelago as it envisions microcosms and the movement between each (simultaneously tethered and dislocated by water). Artists reflect on the processes of movement between various sites and the ways in which documentation is harnessed as a way to reflect, make visible or archive these movements. In addition, a public program will be developed by Sydney-based collective Desire Lines who will lead an explorative walking tour across the various sites surrounding the university, drawing attention to the planning of and everyday use of space particular to the area. The exhibition ultimately seeks to survey the effects of hyper-documentation within the current digital ecology and present artists who draw attention to the more nuanced and politically entangled relationship between movement, space and subjectivities.

WARNING: Some videos contain flashing images.

Tracing the archipelago is curated by Jenny Anagnostopoulos and Yarran Gatsby as part of the Early Career Curator Award, supported by Kudos Gallery with Arc @ UNSW Art & Design. The curators have received mentorship by Dr. Lee-Anne Hall, Director Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest.

Image credit: Shivanjani Lal 'Taxi bhaat' (still), 2017. Single-channel video, dimensions variable.

Images courtesy of the artists and Kudos Gallery. Photos: Kristina Savic

Kudos Exhibition Archive

2017 Exhibition Program

2016 Exhibition Program

2015 Exhibition Program

2014 Exhibition Program

2011 Exhibition Program

2010 Exhibition Program

2009 Exhibition Program

2007 Exhibition Program


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