Cover image of the review
Installation view of Room 207, Kalli Rolfe Contemporary Art, Melbourne.

Spring1883 Art Fair by Rex Butler

12 Aug 2023
Kalli Rolfe Contemporary Art 10 Aug - 12 Aug 2023

It’s poignant looking through the beautiful hardback catalogue of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s 2006 Juan Davila retrospective.

There on page sixty-one is a big colour photo of his dealer Kalli Rolfe’s space at the 2000 Melbourne Art Fair in the vast cathedral-like space of the old Exhibition Building. It’s Davila’s show Love’s Progress, featuring two huge lushly painted McCubbin piss-takes, Lost (1999) and Bush Burial (2000).

Then across pages 204 and 205 there for a 2003 show at 45 Downstairs, also put on by his dealer, is the spectacular installation Panorama of Santiago, Chile (1973–2003), an enormous circular frieze like Monet’s waterlilies depicting a group of people looking off a bridge that crosses a river, held above a series of brilliant conceptual riffs on Courbet’s infamous close-up of his Irish lover Joanna Heffernan’s genitals, The Origin of the World (1866).

Installation view of Room 207, Kalli Rolfe Contemporary Art, Melbourne.

Now some twenty years have passed, and we have twenty acrylics on paper, 105 by 75 cms, in a small hotel room in the Windsor Hotel on Spring Street as part of Spring1883.

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