Document Type

Creative Work

Publication Details

Van Den Berg, J. G. & Gibson, R. (2004). Conversation #1 / Pacific Exhibition part of Sydney Biennale 2004 Sydney : The Cross Arts Projects.

Link to exhibition website here.



Research Background
The research for the 4 suites of paintings is centred around the notion that a person who paints finds formal restraints, both in terms of the historical significance of abstraction, and in the contemporary re-emergence of the narrative structures in the processes of painting.

Research Contribution
This exhibition, a collaborative project with Professor Ross Gibson (University of Technology Sydney), was curated by Isobel Carlos as part of her Parallel Program for the 2004 Biennale of Sydney: On Reason and Emotion. The exhibition comprised Van Den Berg’s paintings of the ocean's horizon-line and Gibson's looped film containing footage of a highly ambiguous encounter between Indigenous and incursive peoples on a Torres Strait Island in the early years of the twentieth century. The scale of the work and the return to domestic-size painting emphasises the need to bring the work out of the public space into the environment where a painting functions as an anchor for everyday relations.

Research Significance
The importance of this body of work lies in the fact that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Four painters collaborated through one artist, questioning the expectations of artists who work in this genre and who focus on the conversational, the anecdotal and a purposeful lack of style in order to create a less hierarchical structure. The exhibition was selected as a part of the satellite program of the 2004 Biennale of Sydney; exhibited at Cross Art Projects, and included a Conversation between the artists.