Imaginary Accord

Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane | 2015

11th April to 11th July

Artists:

Agency (Belgium); Vernon Ah Kee (Australia); Gerry Bibby with Janet Burchill and Jennifer McCamley (Australia/Germany); Zach Blas (USA); Ruth Buchanan (Aotearoa New Zealand/Germany); Céline Condorelli (France/Italy/UK); Peter Cripps (Australia); Sean Dockray (Australia/USA); Goldin+Senneby (Sweden); Raqs Media Collective (India); Ross Manning (Australia); Marysia Lewandowska (Poland/UK); and Hito Steyerl (Germany)

  • Install shot, Imaginary Accord. Photo: Carl Warner.

  • Install shot, Imaginary Accord. Photo: Carl Warner.

  • Install shot, Imaginary Accord. Photo: Carl Warner.

  • Install shot, Imaginary Accord. Photo: Carl Warner.

The Institute of Modern Art (IMA) is one of Australia’s oldest independent art galleries, and its history coincides with the development of contemporary art in this country. Its original mission from 1975 was to foster research and experimentation by Australian and international artists through exhibitions and publishing, and to educate the public about contemporary art.

It's no coincidence that the IMA emerged at a time when artists were mounting a critique of art institutions in the 1970s. It was an opportunity to imagine what a new, non-collecting space for contemporary art in Australia might look like. Within a couple of decades, the critique of art institutions had been well and truly absorbed by curators and institutions themselves. But are art institutions still subject to re-evaluation and even transformation? How might we reimagine and redefine the contemporary art institution in our current decade, a time of great change for both contemporary art and the spaces it's exhibited in?

To mark our fortieth anniversary, the IMA embarkined on a year-long project, Imaginary Accord, which explored this institution’s historical mission, while imagining what it could mean today and for the future, through an exhibition, a lecture series, a symposium, and a publication. The title suggests that the connection between each artwork, idea, and participant lies initially in the imagination of the curator and artists and finds new form in the minds of audiences. This proposition was extended through the symposium and lecture series. Is an art institution only an imagined state—a temporary constellation of agreements, negotiations and arrangements—or is it something more fixed? Featuring artworks and contributions by fifteen Australian and international artists and groups, the Imaginary Accord grew and changed over the course of three months.