Circles of dialogue
18 Aug to 5 Nov 2023
Artists: Diana Baker Smith, Lorraine Connelly-Northey, Zoë Croggon, Dean Cross, Narelle Desmond, Emily Floyd, Inge King, Sriwhana Spong, Augusta Vinall Richardson
Curator: Amelia Wallin
This exhibition takes as its point of departure Dialogue of circles by Inge King (1915–2016), a singular work in the La Trobe University Art Collection. King’s site-specific steel sculpture is situated within the moat at the Melbourne (Bundoora) Campus, just south of its centre, the Agora. Since its installation in 1976, the work has functioned as both landmark and backdrop for public gatherings and performances in the Moat Theatre.
The exhibition Circles of dialogue invites a gathering of contemporary artistic responses that centre the body, as a container of memories and experiences, in relation to monumental works of public art and their materialist histories. The artworks on display respond to the dynamic spirit of King’s sculptures from the 1970s, which were intended to mediate between the body of the viewer and the surrounding environment. The exhibition enfolds King’s modernist legacy into a broader dialogue that encompasses First Nations and colonial memory, material conservation and bodily archives.
The exhibition inverts King’s original title, opening an exchange on geometric form and grammar and proposing new perspectives, conversations and interpretation. King, a European postwar migrant, teacher and member of the artist group Centre Five, is renowned for her formal sculptures across public spaces in Melbourne. She is one of few female artists in an art form dominated by men. King’s influence can be traced through the practice of contemporary artists such as, in this exhibition, Emily Floyd and Augusta Vinall Richardson.
Image: Diana Baker Smith, 'She speaks in sculpture' (production still), 2022, two-channel 4K video, 9 min 35 sec. © Diana Baker Smith. Photo: Lucy Parakhina