An exhibition of socially concerned posters and prints 1983-1985 organised by the experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide held at the Queensland College of Art Gallery April 4- 24, 1986
PLACE OF BIRTH
From Paul ANDREW Collection
Public Art, Activism, Political Posters
The exhibition of 121 works has been stirring controversy wherever it has been shown. It is challenging on a number of levels. Firstly, it is unconventionally presented. The posters are sealed in plastic envelopes which are attached to the walls by tacks through brass eyelets. The Foundation for Experimental Art is opposed to what it views as preciousness in the way in which art institutions fussily frame all exhibits and sanitize what should be direct communications. This no frills approach is refreshing although disconcerting to viewers used to seeing exhibits smartly offered, tastefully framed and matted.
The stimulus lies in the works themselves. They offer an intriguing glimpse into the underside of the Australian way of life and the alternative politics of the “lucky country”. In the year of the bicentenary, it is something of an antidote to the endless self-congratulatory images that flow from the Australian media. In Truth Rules II, the issues of the less visible Australian poor, Aboriginal land rights, a nuclear-free Pacific, feminism, multi-culturalism, union struggles and environmental conservation are addressed in colourful, energetic, often mordantly witty posters.
Some of the works confront the viewer with no-holds-barred frankness. These have offended some visitors in other centres and during installation at the McDougall, a warning “content may offend some viewers” will be posted at the entry to the show.
Just incidentally, Prime Minister Lange features in a number of the works for his stand on the nuclear-free Pacific issue.
This exhibition shows that the tradition of the poster as a subversive commentator on social concerns and the fine arts should be kept in separate compartments the vigour and innovative graphics of the works are worth the visit alone.
Lively graphics and biting content combine in Truth Rules II to create a simulating and provocative, if unsettling, exhibition.
(‘Truth Rules II’, Bulletin, No.57, May/June 1988, p.2)
Kindly acknowledging the experimental Art Foundation and the artists in Truth Rules II for this influential exhibition.