ACCA: Lecture 4: First Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 1993

‘Defining Moments: Australian Exhibition Histories: 1968-1999’ is a two-year project across 2019/2020 at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) exploring the legacies of significant exhibitions and art events in Australia during the last three decades of the 20th century presented across a series of lectures and illustrated videos online.

In Lecture 4, 2020 Doug Hall AM, writer, critic and former Director of Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) brings focus to the ‘First Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (APT1) at Queensland Art Gallery in 1993. Hall was at the helm of the Brisbane art institution from 1987 until 2007, he played an integral role in bringing contemporary art from the Asia Pacific to Australian audiences, and was key in the making of the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), which opened in December 2006 with the ‘5th Asia Pacific Triennial’ exhibition.

Hall shares his knowledge and experiences of the development of the triennial model, which ultimately paved the way for the continuing representation of contemporary art from Asia and the Pacific regions that we see in Australia today.

Montien Boonma, Lotus sound 1992. Courtesy Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, the Kenneth and Yasuko Myer Collection of Contemporary Asian Art, purchased 1993 with funds from The Myer Foundation and Michael Sidney Myer through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation. Copyright the artist.

The inaugural ‘Asia Pacific Triennial’ exhibition showcased nearly 200 works across a range of media by 76 contemporary artists from South-East Asia; Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, the East Asia; China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and the South Pacific; New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Australia. And was brought to fruition during pivotal moments in Australian politics, including the demise of Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s leadership, the commencement of the Fitzgerald inquiry and the election of Wayne Goss as Premier of Queensland and Minister of the Arts. Hall notes the relevance of the political climate at that time in his lecture.

“The APT was central to an institutional and geo-cultural realignment, one which shaped the advocacy for building the Gallery of Modern Art. This lecture presents the unique circumstances of the APT and how it was conceived as inseparable from an art museum’s conduct, from collections development and the reach of other institutional and programming activity,” ACCA conveys.

Montien Boonma (left) installing Lotus sound in the Queensland Art Gallery for The First Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT1), September 1993. Courtesy QAGOMA Research Library. Photograph: Christabelle Baranay

Lecture 4 is available to listen to on ACCA’s website via podcast and video here. As a precursor to viewing ‘APT1’ you can explore Lectures 1-3 in the 2020 series and catch up on the 2019 series here. There are three lectures remaining to complete the two-year project.

Lecture 5: Monday 21 September: Aratjara: Art of the First Australians 1993, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf and fluent: Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Yvonne Koolmatrie, Judy Watson 1997, Australian Pavilion, Venice Biennale. Speaker: Dr Stephen Gilchrist, writer, curator and Lecturer of Indigenous Art at the University of Sydney

Lecture 6: Monday 5 October: Don’t Leave me This Way: Art in the age of AIDS 1994, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Speaker: Dr Ted Gott, Senior Curator of International Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Lecture 7: Monday 26 October: Founding of Gallery 4A and the inaugural exhibition in 1997. Speaker: Mikala Tai, Director 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art