Cobra and Aboriginal art brought together in Breaking with Tradition

Cobra and Aboriginal art brought together in Breaking with Tradition

Yata Gypsy Yadda Tapu, 2001 Acrylic on paper, 53 x 75 cm (Laverty Collection, Sydney) © The estate of the artist and Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Fitzroy Crossing

Aboriginal Art Directory | 04.11.10

BREAKING WITH TRADITION: Cobra and Aboriginal art explores the influence of the ideas of the European avant-garde movement Cobra on the development of contemporary Aboriginal art. Work by Paji Honeychild Yankarr, Narputta Nangala Jugadai and Yata Gypsy Yadda will be shown in conjunction with work by artists including Karel Appel, Asger Jorn, Pierre Alechinsky and Corneille as well as Wayne Eager and David Larwill.

The exhibition is built up around three themes: breaking with tradition, inspiration & influence and individual expression. It shows connections in developments which occurred in different decades and on different continents and came together in Central Australia in the 1990s. The AAMU receives works on loan from the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, the Cobra Museum for Modern Art in Amstelveen, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne and various private collections including the Laverty Collection, Sydney. This exhibition also marks the AAMU’s tenth anniversary.

Breaking with tradition
The Cobra artists rebelled against academic rules; they wanted their art to come straight from the imagination and drew some of their inspiration from children’s drawings and from ‘primitive’ art from regions such as Africa and Oceania. Because Aboriginal artists had traditionally been bound to strict conventions, they were faced with finding a form for their own interpretation of themes and stories – stories which had previously been painted for a particular group of initiates and were now suddenly on display for a wide public.

Inspiration & influence
Via the artists of the Australian movement Roar the ideas of Cobra found their way to various Aboriginal art centres in the central desert area of Australia. BREAKING WITH TRADITION shows how these influences caused a turnaround in style, technique and mode of expression in the Aboriginal artists’ work.

Individual expression
The exhibition also offers a broader exploration of what it means to be an artist: how artists develop an individual style, break away from group processes and liberate themselves from old traditions and firmly entrenched ideas. This exhibition invites viewers to look, compare and form their own opinions.

BREAKING WITH TRADITION is supported by the Buziau Geesink Fund (administered by the Prins Bernhard Cultural Fund) and Rabobank. The exhibition is part of the Holland Art Cities 2009-2010 programme.

Note to the editor:

For more information and images of artworks contact Akkie Groen, marketing and PR, via +31 (0)30 2380100 or
Images of Karel Appel’s work can be sent on request.

Museum of contemporary Aboriginal art
Oudegracht 176
3511 NP Utrecht
the Netherlands
T +31 (0)30 2380100

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