A marble sculpture depicting the washed-up lifejackets of asylum seekers is one of 10 artworks from the 2014 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art bought by the Art Gallery of South Australia for its permanent collection.
Titled Someone died trying to have a life like mine, the sculpture by Alex Seton is inspired by an incident last year in which 28 lifejackets washed up on Cocos Islands, off Western Australia.
Other works acquired by the gallery from the Biennial exhibition include Julia deVille’s taxidermy work Victorian Cat Mummy, sculptures by Dani Marti and Brendan Huntley, and moving image works by Del Kathryn Barton and Brendan Fletcher (the human dress), Shoufay Derz (Depart without return) and Richard Lewer (Worst luck I’m still here).
The gallery said the biennial, which had the theme Dark Heart and finished on Sunday, attracted more than 110,000 visitors over the almost two and a half months it was on – up 10 per cent on the 2012 biennial.
“By being able to expand the reach of the Adelaide Biennial with off-site projects, including [Patricia Piccinini’s] Skywhale and Caroline Rothwell at the Botanic Gardens, we’ve been able to build on the success of the 2012 Biennial,” said gallery director and 2014 biennial curator Nick Mitzevich.
“Dark Heart also commanded more gallery floor space than ever before, extending across three levels, and again broadening our reach.”
Mitzevich also announced that Lisa Slade, the gallery’s current project curator, has been appointed curator of the 2016 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art.
Full artwork captions:
detail: Alex Seton, Someone died trying to have a life like mine, 2013, Wombeyan marble, nylon webbing, dimensions variable © Alex Seton. Courtesy the artist, Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane, and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney
Julia deVille, Victorian Cat Mummy, 2012, cat, glass, linen, sterling silver, antique lace, Victorian baby boots, Victorian baby’s cape, 15.0 x 77.0 x 60.0 cm, © Julia deVille. Courtesy the artist, Sophie Gannon Gallery, Melbourne and Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane, photo: Terence Bogue