Wonderland: the art of experience

10 Apr 2012

Author: Edmund Capon



Immerse yourself in this visual exploration of Australian contemporary art with your personal guide, renowned art scholar Edmund Capon.
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The six artists showcased here were drawn from the recent ‘Wonderland’ exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei. These creative spirits embrace technology as a means of exploring a wonderland of creativity and curiosity.

The ‘Wonderland’ exhibition demonstrates the creative imagination of our place and our times – an imagination fuelled by the limitless opportunities of new media and new technologies and, most significantly for Australia – a new and almost youthful recognition of and real enthusiasm for our place in the world – that world being, of course. Asia.

It is these ideas that inspire our artists today: it is not the art of representation, nor is it necessarily the art of information, or even revelation – this is art of experience.

It is art that alerts and awakens our instincts and perceptions. We the viewer no longer sit passively in front of the work of art – we are virtual participants. These artists are embracing technology to explore new realms and horizons – sensing what we might see or feel beyond the façade of the real. It is art that titillates and incites our imaginations.

‘Wonderland’ is nonetheless very much an exhibition out of Australia – it is a clear demonstration of the moods and momentums that are engaging our creative spirits and, I have to say, it is in all its extraordinarily diverse ways, art that carries with it a rich sense of optimism.

The instinct to create is, in any event, an optimistic one. While some of the works in ‘Wonderland’ have a very strong sense of place – echoes of the landscape, reflections on history – they nonetheless, I think, convey a new sense of universality – they speak in a global language of new techniques and technologies.

There is a sense of pace and change about the art of our times … it is art that reflects and informs us of our current status, but equally like the art of the past, it is a signpost for the future. The Wonderland exhibition was curated by Antoanetta Ivanova.

About Edmund Capon
About the artists

Daniel Crooks is an artist practising across a range of media including video, photography and installation. He is the recipient of an Australia Council Fellowship and residencies at Rijksakademie (Netherlands), Ars Electronica, FutureLab (Austria) and the Australia Council London studio.


Julie Dowling is one of Australia’s leading contemporary Indigenous artists. Her works are held in all major national and state collections. She is a recipient of the Mandorla Award for Religious Art and the Australia Council for the Arts’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fellowship.


Chris Henschke is a media artist with a particular interest in the field of art/science collaborations. He was the inaugural online artist in residence at the National Gallery of Australia and is the first, and only, artist in residence at the Australian Synchrotron, the largest scientific facility in the Southern Hemisphere.


Jess MacNeil  works at the points of intersection between painting, installation, video and photography. She has won numerous awards and participated in many solo and group exhibitions including at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Singapore.


Joan Ross works in the mixed mediums of drawing, video, found objects, second-hand furs and glow materials. She has participated in numerous international exhibitions and has artworks held in major private, corporate and public collections.


Martin Walch was educated at the Tasmanian School of Art, University of Tasmania, completing a PhD in 2009 specialising in photography and digital media. Walch was artist in residence with Copper Mines of Tasmania at Mount Lyell, Western Tasmania, and has participated in many group exhibitions.