Cover image of the review


5 Feb 2022
Powerhouse Museum: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) 11 Oct - 28 Aug 2022

If you’re in Sydney, you should see Eucalyptusdom, currently on view at the Powerhouse Museum. This is a show, however, that is not easily seen—-sparsely lit, and crowded with content, the show frustrates any easy visual understanding, instead asking viewers to hear, smell, and feel their way towards its meaning.

The Powerhouse Museum—-home to many a flashy science, technology or design show—-is no stranger to displays that prioritise immersive, sensory experience. Here, however, it expands its repertoire through the inclusion of a chorus of contemporary artists who seek to engage the viewer’s body and senses, and to place this experience within a conceptual, historical framework. The goal of the resulting show is to interrogate the history of the museum itself, and Australia’s settler colonial history more broadly.

Eucalyptusdom, then, should be read alongside other recent attempts by Sydney institutions to mobilise contemporary art and artists to reckon with their colonial pasts, and to break from them—-from Brook Andrew’s Sydney Biennale NIRIN in 2019, to the Australian Museum’s current Unsettled exhibition. As the Art Gallery of NSW opens a vast new space later this year, it should be on notice that the bar for such work has been set very high.

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