London: THERE IS NO GLOBAL; a discussion of Australian views of contemporary art practice

Wednesday 30 May

Drinks: 7pm 
Talk: 7.30pm – 9.00pm
Goodenough College, Mecklenburgh Square, Bloomsbury, WC1N 2AB
RSVP Essential:
Admission Free, please sign in at reception

“There is no international, only different locals,” wrote the Chinese dissident poet Yang Lian in an essay introducing his first book of poems written in London. His typically poetic and philosophical statement could not have been written by a contemporary artist honest about the harsh world of the art market and the symbolic dilemmas prompted simply by wanting to be an artist in one of the world’s centres of global capitalism, let alone by being an Australian artist in what was – or maybe still is – the capital of ‘our’ empire. 

With the recent collapse of the world financial markets, and keeping its on-going effects in mind, one of which is the so-called ‘rise to power’ of the Asian region of which Australia is a part, it could be that being an Australian artist in a European capital now is not a position of supplication to the powers-at-be in a European or British global art centre; rather the Australian artist now might feel that she comes from the future, from a more affluent, more modern, ‘Asian-focused’, cosmopolitan and forward-looking world. Or is this hubris? 

With invited Australians Deej Fabyc, Paul Knight, Katrina Schwarz and Christian Thompson joining him in discussion, the critic John Mateerwill propose that while it is true that international art remains strongly tied to networks of global capital, in which London remains one of the key centres, the shift in the past decade towards the East and the South has now given Australian artists the opportunity of effective autonomy. For the first time Australia is closely tied to the most dynamic financial and cultural centres on the globe. 

The event will be chaired by Dr. Ian Henderson, The Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, Kings College London. John Mateer is the inaugural recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts London arts writer residency, managed by Acme Studios International Residencies Programme. This event forms part of John Mateer’s residency and is made possible through collaboration with The Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, and Goodenough College.



Deej Fabyc
Deej is an Australian/British artist who works with what she calls a ‘forenzic biographical’ type of art, with works in performance, performance installation, combined with drawing, video, photography and objects. She has exhibited throughout Europe, the United States and Australia since 1982. She lives in London and is the current visiting lecturer in Time Based Media at Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media & Design, London Metropolitan University. 

Paul Knight
Knight’s work is concerned with the abilities and failings of the photographic image, intimacy, relationships in context to society and the notions of soft politics, bond structures and simulation. In 2007 Paul was awarded the Ann & Gordon Samstag Traveling Visual Arts Scholarship – enabling him to study for an MFA at the Glasgow School of Art. In 2009 he was the winner of the William & Winifred Bowness Photography Award at the Monash Gallery of Art (AUS) and selected for the Bloomberg New Contemporaries (UK). In 2010, he exhibited a solo presentation in the Open Space section of the 44th Art Cologne (Germany) and was awarded the London Studio residency by the Australian Council for the Arts.

John Mateer
John Mateer is the inaugural recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts London arts writer residency. John has published several collections of poems. Barefoot Speechwon the 2001 C. J. Dennis Prize for Poetry and Loanwordswas shortlisted for the 2002 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards. He was also a recipient of the Centenary Medal for his contributions to Australian literature. Mateer was granted a fellowship to travel to Indonesia and later published a non- fiction travelogue entitled Semar’s Cave: an Indonesian Journal. His latest publications are a book of poems about the Portuguese Empire, Southern Barbariansand a selection from more than a decade’s work, Elsewhere.

Katrina Schwarz
Former Editor of Art & Australia, Katrina relocated to London in 2008 under the auspices of a British Council professional development grant and the Marten Bequest scholarship for prose writing. Katrina works as part of the British Council’s visual arts team, with a focus on forging creative connections with Africa. A graduate of the Courtauld Institute, Katrina has edited publications for Artangel and for Whitechapel Gallery. In 2011 she curated an exhibition of artist film for the Barbican’s London Australian Film Festival, and is currently contributing to Time & Vision, a forthcoming exhibition celebrating 20 years of Australia Council for the Arts London Residencies.

Christian Thompson
Christian has presented his photographs, videos and performance works in numerous solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally. He undertook an Honours degree in Visual Art in 1999 and a Masters of Fine Art from 2004 to 2005 at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. In 2010, he was awarded the inaugural Charlie Perkins Scholarship to the University of Oxford to undertake his Doctorate of Philosophy (Fine Art), as one of the first two Aboriginal people to attend Oxford University in its 900 year history.


Wed, May 30, 2012
7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
(GMT+0000) GMT


Goodenough College
Mecklenburgh Square
London WC1N 2AB