Julie Gough: Tense Past

Tense Past

The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) is proud to present a major new contemporary art exhibition, Julie Gough: Tense Past.

This exhibition by Tasmanian Aboriginal artist Julie Gough and curated by Dr Mary Knights, Senior Curator of Art at TMAG, interrogates colonial history and the impact of colonisation on Tasmania’s first people—then and now.

Artworks from Gough’s 25 years of practice will be exhibited alongside selected artworks and artefacts from TMAG and other major collections to create new interpretations and layers of meaning. Julie has also created new site-specific artworks for the exhibition.

An off-site component of Julie Gough: Tense Past is a ephemeral installation on the Queens Domain, part of the Dark Path public art walk activation for the 2019 Dark Mofo festival. Gough’s Missing or Dead is a memorial to more than one hundred and eighty Tasmanian Aboriginal children stolen or lost during the early 1800s.

Tense Past is Julie Gough’s first major solo exhibition in a state or national institution. The exhibition is part of TMAG’s contemporary art series that shines a spotlight on significant Tasmanian artists who have achieved success and recognition at a national level.

TMAG Director Janet Carding said that TMAG is committed to showcasing the work of leading contemporary Tasmanian artists.

"TMAG is thrilled to present such an important exhibition that celebrates a Tasmanian artist of national significance who has created new work about Tasmania from an Aboriginal perspective”.

“The exhibition has also facilitated new research by a Tasmanian Aboriginal artist into the TMAG collection. Through her investigation of objects and artworks, Gough has brought new aspects of the cross-cultural colonial past to light as well as past museum and collection practices”, Ms Carding said.

Julie Gough notes, “it is important for First Nations people to openly access museum and archival collections. Aboriginal artists can reverse the gaze and challenge the mainstream given perspective of things”.

Curator, Dr Mary Knights said the presentation of Tense Past at TMAG provides a wonderful opportunity to bring Julie Gough’s work to the attention of a broader audience.

“Julie Gough’s artworks are conceptually and aesthetically powerful. She frequently creates sculptural, sound and video installations, and often engages with charged sites, materials and objects. Ephemeral video and sound artworks can allude to absence and loss, create spaces for reflection, and evoke emotional responses”, Dr Knights said.

“While the subject matter relating to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal histories in colonial Tasmania is challenging, Gough presents difficult issues in ways that are poignant, poetic and inventive – opening up spaces for reflection, dialogue and debate”.

Alongside the exhibition is an extensive public program of special events, talks and guided tours at TMAG including Entangled Histories, a panel event presented in collaboration with ABC Radio Hobart on Monday, 10 June at 11:00 am and a special live broadcast of ABC RN’s The Art Show, hosted by Ed Ayres on Wednesday, 12 June at 10:00 am.

Julie Gough: Tense Past is presented in partnership with Dark Mofo with assistance from the Australia Council to support the artist to undertake preliminary research. Gandel Philanthropy has supported TMAG to develop a vibrant public program of workshops and events aimed at young people as well as the Missing or Dead installation on the Queen’s Domain. TMAG also acknowledges the assistance of its Production partner, Godfrey Hirst Australia as well as supporting partners, the University of Tasmania, the City of Hobart and the TMAG Foundation and our media partners, the Mercury, Southern Cross Austereo and ABC Radio Hobart.

Julie Gough: Tense Past opens to the public on Friday 7 June with a late night event from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

There will be a special public holiday opening on Monday 10 June from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

During Dark Mofo, there will be late night openings from 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm on 14-15 June and 21-22 June.

The exhibition continues Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm until 3 November.

Missing or Dead is part of the Dark Path activation on the Queens Domain during the Dark Mofo festival from 14 -23 June 2019.

Tense Past Exhibition 1Tense Past Exhibition 2