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New Year, new art at the Art Gallery of South Australia

Adelaide, Australia: Now open to the public, Metamorphosis in The Melrose Wing features new acquisitions by leading Australian and International artists.

Dr Lisa Slade, Assistant Director, Artistic Programs, AGSA, says, ‘A new year heralds new beginnings and new ways of seeing and we are thrilled that recent acquisitions by globally recognised artists feature in the fresh display titledMetamorphosis. This title speaks to art and humanity’s capacity for transformation – fitting themes for the new year. Indeed the space itself has undergone a transformation with a blush of fresh colour and some new collection conversations.’

Minister for Arts Andrea Michaels MP says, ‘AGSA is well known for its innovative and thought-provoking collections and we will see that continue in 2024 with Metamorphosis. This new displayincludes exciting works created by Australian and international artists with new acquisitions at the heart of the collection’s storytelling. The display also underscores the critical role of philanthropy in collection development with acquisitions supported through The James and Diana Ramsay Bequest. Metamorphosis is a stunning example of how the gallery acquires, cares for and shares the state’s collection with the people of South Australia as well as drawing visitors from around Australia and the world. 

‘As we embrace the new year this is a perfect time to visit. Over coming weeks we will welcome first-time visitors, those making their annual pilgrimage while they are in SA visiting family and friends, and of course, our incredible community of regular visitors. Open 364 days every year, our buoyant public programs, including First Fridays, Start and The Studio, and the ever-popular Tarnanthi Festival of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, provide added motivation.’ Slade continues.

Metamorphosis combines the work of Australian, including First Nations, artists alongside their international peers and includes sculpture, ceramics, painting, installation, furniture, jewellery and much more.

Some of the highlights include:

Newly acquired, Marc Newson’s Cloisonné Blue Chair – an extraordinary enamelled sculptural and functional object – sits alongside his now iconic LC1 Chaise Longue, an early prototype for his 1988 Lockheed Lounge. Nearby is the @chair a new work by Brodie Neill, Tasmanian born and London-based industrial designer. Its mirror polished perfection speaks at once to the infinity symbol of the Möbius loop and to the ‘@’ symbol made famous by email and social media.

Brodie Neill says, ‘I am delighted that my @Chair was acquired by the AGSA, and is being presented as part of Metamorphosis. The @Chair reflects my early explorations into form and function, as a seamless mobius-strip entity. Guided by a framework of material consciousness combined with state-of-the-art technology, the @Chair went through over 10 years of transfiguration to be realised as the shining symbol of modernity seen in the exhibition today.’

New to AGSA’s international painting collection is A fairy’s abode by Filipino artist Rodel Tapaya. Described as a contemporary magic realist, Tapaya who collides symbols and imagery from folklore and religion to make contemporary statements. A fairy’s abode complements arguably AGSA’s most loved painting – Circe Invidiosa  by John William Waterhouse which Was acquired with the support of the state government in 1892, the year it was made. 

Made possible by AGSA’s Contemporary Collectors is a fun and disruptive sculptural work by Danish-born, Berlin-based artist Jeppe Hein.  Titled Medium Red and Ruby Mirror Balloon the seemingly airborne work invites visitors to embrace a sense of play and wonder.

One of the smallest pieces on display is Onagadori on a Cherry Tree an exquisitely detailed painting by acclaimed Brisbane based artist Michael Zavros. The oil painting depicts a Japanese breed of fowl perched majestically upon a cherry tree within a quintessentially Japanese landscape. This work is accompanied by Zavros’ The Phoenix, a large painting where objects from AGSA’s own collection assume the shape of the legendary incendiary bird.

Other recent acquisitions include a bronze sculpture by South Australian artist Margaret Sinclair, an illuminated mirror titledShadow Light, Sand by Dutch artist Sabine Marcelis, a ceramic sun mat by Ngan’gikurrungurr artist Regina Pilawuk Wilson and an optical wonder crafted by Australian artist Jonny Niesche.

These new additions are punctuated by the major acquisition of The Swing by acclaimed British artist Chris Ofili with AGSA being the first public gallery in Australia to acquire his work. Purchased through the James and Diana Ramsay Bequest, The Swing was recently exhibited in London as part of a major new series completed by Ofili in Trinidad where he currently resides.

AGSA’s Curator of Contemporary Art, Leigh Robb says, ‘Metamorphosis continues the spirit of curatorial collaboration that AGSA is known for and evokes the fun we had in bringing these works together. These new acquisitions are complemented by the return of some of AGSA’s most loved works of art including Camille Pissarro’s Prairie à Éragny), Untitled (TBOMB) by Daniel Boyd and Giorgio de Chirico’s Piazza d’Italia.’

Metamorphosis is open to the public and will be on display indefinitely. 

For full program details, visit  

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