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Julia Gutman

Lighting of the Sails Artist Talk

27 May 2024

In the Concert Hall Northern Foyers

Contemporary Music

Free event, registrations essential.

Join Archibald Prize winning artist Julia Gutman in conversation with Sydney Opera House’s Curator, Contemporary Art, Micheal Do to mark the opening of Julia Gutman’s Lighting of the Sails commission, Echo.

Truly in the hands of a new generation.

Art Guide Australia

Hear from acclaimed Australian visual artist Julia Gutman

Widely recognised as one of Australia’s most important rising artistic talents, artist Julia Gutman uses textiles to create original and tender compositions that challenge art history. 

In 2024, Julia Gutman received the Sydney Opera House’s prestigious annual Lighting of the Sails Commission, co-commissioned with Destination NSW for Vivid LIVE. 

Across seven minutes, Gutman’s new work, Echo reaches deep into literature and art history, remaking Roman poet Ovid’s myth of Narcissus for our contemporary age. By digitising centuries-old fabric making techniques, Gutman and creative animationist Pleasant Company have transformed humble textiles donated to the artist from her community into an animated epic.

Join us for an insightful conversation with Julia as she delves into her process for making this new work, Echo.    

Lighting of the Sails: Echo is commissioned by Sydney Opera House and Destination NSW for Vivid LIVE 2024.

Echo brings together my interests in narrative, materiality and the psychological in a story that I hope can be simultaneously personal and universal.

Julia Gutman

Meet the panel

Julia Gutman

Julia Gutman is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice is anchored by an experimental textile process, with which she interrogates her own relationships and the performance of selfhood. Her figurative works are made primarily from donated fabric – worn clothes, slept-in sheets – and often replicate compositional moments from historical artworks, using her friends as models to respond to and reinvent the originals. Garments often become physical artifacts of the past – stand-ins for those we have lost, or relics of who we once were. Gutman works with the textures of memory, using found textiles as a vehicle for connection and collaboration.

In May 2023, Gutman was awarded the Archibald prize, making her the youngest winner in 85 years. She was one of six exhibiting artists in Primavera at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in 2022. She was a finalist in the 2021 Ramsay Prize at the Art Gallery of South Australia and the 2020 NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship at Artspace Sydney.

Her work has been exhibited across Australia and internationally in Rome, Milan and New York.

Michael Do

Micheal Do is a curator, programmer and writer working across Australia, New Zealand and Asia with a record of developing immersive exhibitions that bridge research practices into contemporary contexts. 

His recent curatorial projects include ‘Primavera: Young Australian Artists’ (2022) for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia. Recently, his exhibition ‘Soft Core’, exploring soft and inflatable sculptures developed for Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Sydney, recently concluded its tour of twelve regional and rural galleries throughout New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. Micheal curated ‘Not Niwe, Not Nieuw, Not Neu’ (2017) and ‘The Invisible Hand’ (2019) for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and among other exhibitions curated ‘5X5: The Artist and The Patron’ (2018), a survey of 5 artist/collector relationships for Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest and ‘A Proxy for a Thousand Eyes’ (2020) for Sydney Opera House.

He was the recipient of The Freedman Foundation’s Travelling Scholarship for Curators, the recipient Museums and Galleries NSW Artist and Curator Residency Grant and the Gordon Darling Travelling Scholarship for Curators . His writing appears in publications including 4A Papers; Art Collector Australia; Art Monthly, Australasia; Art Review Asia, Artist Profile Magazine, S+S Magazine, VAULT Magazine, and 10 Magazine, along with artists’ catalogues.

Watch Julia Gutman

Watch Julia Gutman on Lighting of the Sails: Echo

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