With a career spanning more than four decades and her work represented in every major public collection in Australia, Fiona Hall AO is one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists. Her already substantial international presence grew this year when she represented Australia at the 56th Venice Biennale of Art with Wrong Way Time, a project which tackled the big issues of globalisation, environmental degradation, capitalism and corruption.
Long before Wrong Way Time, Fiona graduated from the National Art School in 1973 with a Diploma of Painting. Despite enrolling in painting, Fiona was drawn to photography, an interest that led her to study for a Master of Fine Art in Photography at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York.
She first came to prominence as a photographer and during the 1980s extended her practice to include sculpture, installation, garden design, painting and film. Her work, while varying in medium and materiality, is characterised by repurposing ordinary, everyday materials, often accompanied by almost domestic processes such as knitting and weaving. Fiona’s practice is deeply engaged with global politics and finance, and the environment. Her complex and allusive objects highlight the fraught relationships we have with each other and the planet.
Her 2015 exhibition at the Venice Biennale, Wrong Way Time presented a wunderkammer-like display of hundreds of objects, permeated by a deep concern with the destruction of our natural resources and a feeling of urgency that “the planet earth is going to hell in a handbasket, whipped and prodded by the apocalyptic monsters of ignorance, greed and self-interest”. However, she also manages to remind us that we can make the world a better place through our own actions, despite the perilous time in which we have placed ourselves.
Wrong Way Time is showing at the National Gallery of Australia in mid-2016.
Fiona was made a Fellow of the National Art School. In 2012.
Fiona Hall: Wrong Way Time, installation view, Australian Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2015.
Image credit: Christian Corte