Born 1962, Melbourne.
Lives and works between Gadigal and Jerrinja lands : Sydney and Currarong
Artworks available from
Finkelstein Gallery | Wagner Contemporary | Fabian & Claude Walter Galarie | Day Gallery
Deborah Kelly’s projects often start outside of art institutions, and some of them stay there. Posters for social movements, printable window signs to signal dissent and a billboard that ended up in the Sydney Mardi Gras parade. Collaborative collage projects with communities in Nowra, NSW and Bandung, Indonesia that manifested in town and village streets. A choreographed dance as a momentary monument to the Tiananmen Square protests, disseminated on YouTube and performed in cities around the world.
Kelly’s projects across media are concerned with lineages of representation, politics and history in public exchange, and practices of collectivity from epic to intimate.
Some of Kelly’s projects that originate as political practices are picked up by art institutions, and others are devised directly for, with, or against them. Beware of the God (2005) was commissioned by the MCA and deployed across Sydney as postcards, public service announcements and projections onto clouds. No Human Being Is Illegal (2014-19), for the Biennale of Sydney, unfolded through hundreds of group collage sessions and is now in the collection of the Wellcome Trust in London. The Gods of Tiny Things (2018-19) was a residential collage and music workshop, manifesting in a moving image installation in a rock ampitheatre at Bundanon.
Deborah Kelly has exhibited extensively around Australia, and has participated in the Biennales of Singapore, Sydney, Thessaloniki, TarraWarra, Cementa and Venice. Recent solo exhibitions include The Monstrous and the Sublime (with James Gleeson) at Wagner Contemporary, 2021; Life in the Ruins (2018) curated by Daniel Blochwitz at the Fabian & Claude Walter Galerie in Zurich, and Venus Envy (2017) at the Kvindemuseet, Denmark. Kelly’s work has been exhibited at the AGNSW in Sydney, MOMA PS1 in NYC, the ICA in London, the Hammer Museum in LA, GOMA in Brisbane and the Pera Museum in Istanbul.
In December 2019 she participated in the Fotogenia Festival in Mexico City (and won the festival prize) and was the first international artist in residence at the Wellcome Trust in London.
CREATION, a cross-disciplinary projects and evolving artwork which poses a new crowd-sourced faith drawn from practical politics, evidence, mysticism and practices of collectivity, launches at the MCA Australia March-August 2021.