Director's Project

Since its inception in 2003, it has been the mission of Contemporary Collectors to raise the profile of contemporary art and raise funds for the Gallery’s contemporary collection.

The Director’s Project is a three year fund to secure extraordinary works of art for the Gallery's permanent collection. The Director's Project aims to acquire one major work annually. It is a requisite that each project will be highly innovative, accessible to the broader community and will make a significant contribution to the Gallery's collection of contemporary art.

‘Through the Director’s Project, South Australia now has the opportunity to reclaim its status as trail blazer - to introduce new artists and new ideas and secure the very best of the here and now for the future.'  - Art Gallery Director, Nick Mitzevich. 

Allegoria Sacra 
In 2010 South Australians were first introduced to the celebrated Russian contemporary art collective, AES+F. In just over three months 82,000 people were enthralled by The Feast of Trimalchio, on loan from a private collection.

For our inaugural Director’s Project in 2011, the Art Gallery of South Australia seized an opportunity to acquire, for the permanent collection, the latest moving image work of art by AES+F. Titled Allegoria Sacra this digitally animated collage, comprised of thousands of photographs is inspired by the late fifteenth century painting of the same name by Giovanni Bellini, held in the Uffizi in Florence. Allegoria Sacra bombards the senses and offers a potent allegory of contemporary culture.

We are all flesh
'I am always looking for some beauty…What I think of as beauty, is not for a lot of people what they think of…The horse skin is a beautiful material.’ - Berlinde de Bruyckere

In 2012, the Art Gallery acquired Berlinde de Bruyckere's We are all flesh for the second acquisition of the Director's Project. We are all flesh is a central feature of the boldly rehung Melrose Wing of European Art. Art Gallery Director, Nick MItzevich, speaks of de Bruyckere's capacity 'to move us, to incite compassion'.

'De Bruyckere uses the horse as symbol for our humanity, which she deliberately abstracts in order to lay bare our vulnerabilities, afflictions and fears.' - Art Gallery Curator of European and North American Art, Jane Messenger

Someone died trying to have a life like mine
In 2014, the third and final acquisition for the Director's Project was selected. Alex Seton's  Someone died trying to have a life like mine is one of the artist's largest and most accomplished works to date. Inspired by a small but unsettling newspaper report, the sculpture stands as a memorial to twenty-eight asylum seeker lives presumably lost at sea, identified only by their life jackets that were discovered washed-up on a Cocos Island beach in 2013.

Someone died trying to have life like mine touched the hearts and minds of audiences during the 2014 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Dark Heart. It is an important addition to the Gallery’s permanent collection made possible through the generous support of the Director's Project.

To find out more about the Director’s Project, please contact the Contemporary Collectors Coordinator.

Installation view: International Art Series, featuring Das swings unt roundabouts fur der kinder? Ja? Nein! Schweinhund!, Jake Chapman, Dinos Chapman, Britain

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