Critics’ Picks


Archie Moore

Griffith University Art Museum
226 Grey Street South Bank
March 8–April 21, 2018

Archie Moore’s largest solo exhibition to date is titled “1970–2018,” which is the span of time he’s spent on Earth. For this show, the Australian artist has taken over every inch of the Griffith University Art Museum and transformed it into a multisensory experience in which visitors are encouraged to touch the objects. The eponymous work on display comprises several rooms associated with the indigenous artist’s earliest memories.

Through one doorway, Moore’s first angsty art-school paintings hang along a narrow hallway that smells of disinfectant. Around the corner, a living room: Clips from 1970s and 1980s programs play on an old fuzzy television set, and sad, heavy breathing sounds come from inside a refrigerator. Next is a classroom complete with a film projector showing a documentary on “natives,” as well as old wooden desks storing a range of antiquated textbooks. Elsewhere, a dirt floor is surrounded by corrugated-iron walls. The bare, metal-framed bed in one corner and kerosene lamp in another reveal this space to be someone’s extremely humble dwelling, likely that of a family member.

Without wall text, the secondhand objects, with their obvious wear and age, speak for themselves. Everything is made with tacit, pre-used materials. The TV-viewing couch, for instance, is so worn the vinyl has peeled from the cushions. Past users have left graffiti along the armrests. This exhibition demands not just vision; instead, all the senses are addressed to tell the artist’s story in as much ugly and nostalgic detail as possible.