As one of Australian’s most important commissioning exhibitions for emerging artists, the annual NEW exhibition series at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) has been a cornerstone of support and mentorship since its inception 11 years ago. It has helped propel the careers of many young artists, bridging the gap between the contemporary art world and the broader community.

Each year, a select group of artists are invited to create an entirely new original work, often in a completely new medium, process and/or techniques. The resulting exhibition, amplifies the spotlight for some of the country’s finest young talent and offers a diverse overview of what is critically current in Australia’s contemporary art landscape.

NEW13, curated by Charlotte Day, brings together a group of artists of varying backgrounds whose works are not based on any thematically ties, yet as one moves through the exhibition—threads and connections begin to emerge.

The first thing you will notice on entering the space is an assortment of mirrors placed–contrary to their appearance–at precise angles and and positions on the ceiling, floor, and walls. These are the work of Scott Mitchell whose calculated piece reflects light from the ACCA rooftop into the gallery’s darkest recesses. It could be seen as an invisible thread linking from the outside world to each if the individual pieces residing inside the exhibition walls.

This play with light and attempt at controlling the environment is continued in Linda Tegg’s video performance work Tortoise (2013). Set against the ridged, structural stone columns of NGV’s Federal Court, the work features trained dancers who are concealed behind a carapace of flexible, mirrored discs. As the performers move, the outwardly mirrored surfaces warps and distorts with it—constantly altering and fracturing its surrounding environment, captivating our gaze and at the same time shattering any preconceptions or associations we may have had with the space.

A notion of re-contextualizing the past, the present and the future within each other, runs through several of the works. From Jess MacNeil’s exploration of analogue filming technicals to Joshua Petherick’s attempt to use old scanners beyond their lifespan—each results in wonderfully abstract representations. Through digital computational algorithms, Benjamin Foster’s work transforms an ancient, indecipherable text—twisting and repositioning its context in hunting for potential meaning and patterns.

The exploration of text and communication is also central to Alex Martinis Roe installation, where stories of friendships and support among women inspired by the Women’s Bookstore Collective in Milan is enacted and reiterated. In Sanne Mestrom’s suite of sculptures, the juxtaposing great masterworks of Picasso and Italian artist Giorgio Morandi are re-imaginged to create thoughtful dialogue between the feminine verses masculine; strength and power versus calm and muted.

NEW13 runs until May 12 at ACCA.

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA)
111 Sturt Street,