Artists rename NGV Tri­en­ni­al works to protest gallery’s Wil­son Secu­ri­ty contract

Hannah Francis
The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 December 2017
As the Nation­al Gallery of Vic­to­ria unveiled its first Tri­en­ni­al of con­tem­po­rary art to the world this week, it spared no expense on cel­e­bra­to­ry par­ties and VIP events. But last-minute changes by inter­na­tion­al artists to some of the key works com­mis­sioned for the exhi­bi­tion left the gallery with egg on its face – or as one art­work infers, bloody” hands – over its con­tin­ued employ of Wil­son Secu­ri­ty, which guard­ed deten­tion cen­tres on Nau­ru and Manus Island. Can­dice Bre­itz’s large video instal­la­tion was sup­posed to be called Love Sto­ry. Instead, the title plate in the gallery bears the words Wil­son Must Go”, above the names of Hol­ly­wood actors Alec Bald­win and Julianne Moore, who recount the mov­ing sto­ries of six refugees. The Berlin-based South African artist said the work’s new title would remain until the NGV sev­ered its con­tract with Wil­son Secu­ri­ty. While I am grate­ful for the immense sup­port I have received from the NGV, it would be moral­ly remiss … for me to remain silent in the con­text of the cur­rent con­ver­sa­tion that is tak­ing place around the Aus­tralian gov­ern­men­t’s ongo­ing and sys­tem­at­ic abuse of refugees,” Ms Bre­itz said. At the oth­er end of the gallery, on the same floor, Ire­land’s Richard Mosse updat­ed his work Incom­ing – a mul­ti-video instal­la­tion con­tain­ing footage from a refugee camp in Greece – to include com­men­tary from Iran­ian refugee and for­mer Manus Island detainee Behrouz Boochani. It is not accept­able that an art organ­i­sa­tion like NGV has signed a con­tract with a com­pa­ny whose hands are so bloody,” reads large text on a screen, dat­ed Decem­ber 14, the day before the Tri­en­ni­al opened.  Arti­cle link: here
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