Harbinger Consultants

Culture + Complexity + Change

ART | Soft Sculpture at the National Gallery

Harbinger Consultants’ Director, John Armstrong, had a former life as a conceptual artist working from the late 1960s to the mid 1980s. At this time, he pursued an academic career, developing the first postgraduate visual art program in Australia. John continues to make art, having discovered the pleasures of social media for photo sharing, as well as works with communities in artistic practice. Through Harbinger Consultants, he draws on his experience in the arts in the design and delivery of cultural and public art planning. He also draws on this imaginative and visual thinking background in the design of consultation and engagement processes.

John’s three dimensional works renegotiated ideas about sculpture, materiality and space in contemporary Australian art and are included in many public collections. John achieved international prominence when he was awarded first prize at the 12th Bienal de Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1973. The three large scale installations presented in the Biennale are all part of the National Gallery’s collection. His work has also been featured in the Biennale of Paris and Sydney Biennale.

We recently heard that John’s work is to be included in an upcoming National Gallery exhibition titled Soft Sculpture, which looks at the ways artists use unconventional materials to challenge the nature of sculpture. The exhibition features treasures from the national collection, complemented by some loans. It includes sculptures and installations by Eva Hesse, Robert Morris, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, Joseph Beuys and Annette Messager, and works by Australian artists such as Mikala Dwyer, David Jensz and Ricky Swallow. Included in the exhibition is John’s 1972 work, 1,2,3, fur.

Soft Sculpture
will run from 24 April until 12 July. A comprehensive thematic website is currently in development. In the meantime, you can read about the exhibition and view some of the works online at http://nga.gov.au/softsculpture/index.cfm


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