Issue 50

Read this issue online now


No one who saw Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro’s Life Span installation in The Ludoteca Castello, Venice, for La Biennale di Venezia, in 2009 has ever forgotten it: a huge black rectangular solid block made from 175,218 VHS video cassettes (weighing ninety tonnes) below a fresco in a twelfth century chapel of a deconsecrated former nunnery. A poetic representation of the 1975 human lifespan average of 60.1 years, the experience of Life Span surpassed that of every other memento mori. Outside the chapel, the summer’s warmth was full of life’s energy. Inside, the black crypt seemed to ignite anxiety for a life needing to be lived; not wasted. Anyone familiar with the content of the videos would probably get Claire and Sean’s critical humour. Life Span is one of the big ideas I discuss with both artists, in what is Artist Profile’s fiftieth issue; and the magazine’s first cover featuring collaborating artists.

Perhaps more than any other issue of Artist Profile, the studio – as a relatively early modernist space for study and production – is highlighted. From our first issue, the studio has always been the crux of Artist Profile’s visual and textual critique. Without any specific intent on our part, the significance of the studio appears in the conversations with the cover artists and other featured artists including Robin White, Stelarc and Brendan Huntley. They describe varying instances where the spatial dynamic of the studio has changed slightly or severely their art making processes.

Reaching fifty for any human today can be realistically regarded as a halfway mark. Erin McFadyen’s essay ‘Burning Bright: Art for the next 50 years’ considers the next five decades through the works of the late William Blake. Other articles in this issue reflect on the legacies of artists Robert Klippel, Laurie Nilsen, Joseph Beuys, Peter Kingston and John Conomos.

To celebrate our fiftieth issue, we have commissioned artist Mai Nguyen-Long to make a 100 woodblock prints inspired by the Ðông Hồ genre, which we’ll offer to the first 100 people who take a two-year subscription (valid from 27 February 2020). Ðông Hồ images are often satirical coded critiques of society. Nguyen-Long’s print Rat Wedding II depicts a rat making a fish offering to a cat – a tacit critique of power structures. This act of referencing is about overcoming fear, reviving heritage, and connectivity. It’s also an acknowledgement that 2020 is the year of the Rat.

An unavoidable aspect of the fiftieth issue was the devastating fires across Australia. In Saskia Wilson’s photographs of Claire and Sean, the shoot – taken on film – was a few days after the summer fires in which the artists’ Blackheath home and studio narrowly survived, only by a shift in the wind. Saskia has captured Claire and Sean in this smoky aftermath; everything seen through a strange haze.

Visual artists have always been at the forefront of the environment movement, not only through their art, but their activism and, as we’ve seen recently, through fundraising efforts, with creative workers in other art forms collaborating to help re-establish communities and rehabilitate the bush and its inhabitants. Artist Profile acknowledges and respects the energy and commitment of these efforts, which have united us globally.

Kon Gouriotis


CLAIRE HEALY & SEAN CORDEIRO photographed by Saskia Wilson


THE FUTURE OF ART by Erin McFadyen 


KAT SHAPIRO WOOD by Sebastian Goldspink
KATE BAKER by Kathleen Linn
ROBIN WHITE by Kirsty Baker
PETER BOOTH by Ashley Crawford
STELARC by Julianne Pierce
LAURIE NILSEN by Michael Aird
PETER KINGSTON by Luke Sciberras
JOHN CONOMOS by Catherine Payne


PROCESS Anna Carey
PROCESS Zoë Croggon
TRIBUTE Robert Klippel by Geoffrey Legge
ESSAY Drew Pettifer by Ted Snell
ESSAY Adam Geczy in Iceland
PREVIEW Adelaide Biennial by Fulvia Mantelli
PREVIEW Anna Louise Richardson by Louella Hayes
PREVIEW David Noonan by Ellinor Pelz
PREVIEW Angela & Hossein Valamanesh by Courtney Kidd
PREVIEW Joseph Beuys Cafe by Amelia Winata
REVIEW Japan Supernatural by Soo-Min Shim
REVIEW John Molvig by Bruce Heiser
REVIEW Shirin Neshat by Nicholas Nedelkopoulos
BOOK High Wire by Joe Frost
DISCOVERY Gabriella Lo Presti by Emma Finneran



Latest  /  Most Viewed  /  Related