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Treasure

Imagine your hand
holding a treasure passing it on
Imagine a small happy hand
holding this treasure

Here we see treasure as both care and currency things we value most highly. Bea Maddock considers the coastal contours of her Tasmanian home and the beautiful cadence of the languages once spoken here, alongside niches of tightly wrapped treasures. Fiona Hall offers a museum-like cabinet of birds nests, binding together our emotional response to these small perfectly-made homes and the value carried by the shredded currency from which they are made.

We honour those we care about with valued gifts and a wish to pass these treasures from one generation to the next. Shown here is a traditional Palawa shell necklace by Tasmanian artist Jeanette James, made from shells gathered on Flinders Island. It testifies to the skills passed through generations from mother to daughter and beyond.

Gold is perhaps the most iconic form of treasure and one that drew people to Australia from all around the world. This chapter includes a group of nineteenth-century goldfield brooches with tiny nuggets of gold, as well as picks and shovels, given by miners to their sweethearts. Japanese netsuke from the same period were made to be worn and held; these tiny sculptures frequently represent nature, the relationship between people and animals, and the spirits. These items, unable to be carried beyond this world, are often passed on, becoming reminders of loss, love and those who are no longer here.

Lee Mingwei s three quiet pavilions, equipped with pen and paper, hold treasures that invite us to think deeply about something we may have been afraid to say, the secrets we each hold and what might be achieved by sharing or committing them to paper.

Underlying Stories

Generated image of the artwork: Connection

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PUTRIH, Tobias; Connection

Tobias Putrih’s concept-based practice comprises drawings, illustrations, plans, models and intricate constructions. His works address particular aspects of modernist history, such as social utopianism, modern architecture and the evolution of cinema as an art form. Connection emerged from these concerns and references the Finnish–American architect Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch in St Louis, Missouri, completed in the 1960s.

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Generated image of the artwork: Netsuke:  (skeleton wrestling with a demon)

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VARIOUS; Netsuke

Netsuke are small carvings that were used as an accessory to secure personal belongings to the sash or belt (obi) of a kimono. They express the refinement of traditional carving techniques and understanding of material, as well as the unique and exotic imaginations of Japanese artists in portraying the mythical, the spiritual, the grotesque, the customary and the natural.

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Generated image of the artwork: Writing the unspoken

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LEE Mingwei; Writing the unspoken

Buddhist ritual and language inspire Lee Mingwei’s art, which is based on the direct engagement of his audience and ideas of exchange. Writing the unspoken 1999 was developed from the artist's need to communicate feelings of love and grief following his grandmother’s death. He explains:

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Generated image of the artwork: Group of five eggs

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SCHOENHEIMER, Joy; Group of five eggs

Joy Schoenheimer’s eggs have a childlike joy to them, recalling the occasional discovery of the nests of wild birds, like hidden treasures nestled in out-of-reach tree branches, or chickens’ eggs laid out of sight under the shelter of a bush.

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Generated image of the artwork: Small pink composite

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MARSLAND, Sally

Sally Marsland works engage with a unexpected and experimental medium – paint and car-filler. These full-blown 'flowers' are individually cast and suggest floral offerings at a shrine door or fallen petals from a temple tree.

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Generated image of the artwork: Lightning for Neda

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MONIR SHAHROUDY FARMANFARMAIAN, Lightning for Neda

In Lightning for Neda over 4000 mirror shards in each panel activate myriad patterns. Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian’s mirror mosaic draws on an Iranian decorative technique known as aineh-kari, which uses pieces of broken mirror and dates back to the sixteenth century. The six sides of the hexagon, which provide the underlying structure, are expanded and elaborately rendered.

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Generated image of the artwork: Small pink composite

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MARSLAND, Sally

Sally Marsland's innovative approach to material usage includes experimentation with casting from found objects, buttons and hand-formed wax models. She is known for her many whimsical and subtly varied brooches in silver and anodised aluminium. These exhibited brooches engage with a new, surprising and experimental medium – paint and car-filler. These full-blown 'flowers' are individually cast, each with a unique character.

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Generated image of the artwork: from here to ear (v.13)

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BOURSIER-MOUGENOT, Celeste; from here to ear (v.13)

After training as a musician and composer, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot forged an art practice that merges the visual and the auditory. Boursier-Mougenot considers music the medium through which humans most commonly experience the intangible and abstract. He aims to create the conditions for experiencing what composer and innovator of ambient music Brian Eno called 'the long now', by interrupting the constant assault of sensory data which passes for experience. The artist aims for harmony of process and effect to encourage viewers 'to witness their own present time'.

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Generated image of the artwork: Mediterranean Sea (afternoon effect) 4-2-02

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FINCH, Spencer

Spencer Finch was born in New Haven, United States, in 1962. He studied ceramics in 1984–85 at Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan, before completing a degree in 1985 in comparative literature at Hamilton College, Clinton, and a Master of Fine Arts at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, in 1989. Since the late 1980s he has exhibited across the United States and Europe in numerous solo and group exhibitions.

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HUANG Yong Ping; Ressort

Huang Yong Ping emerged as a key figure in the Chinese avant-garde of the 1980s and has been based in Paris since 1989. He is internationally recognised for his allegorical works, which draw on the artistic and philosophical traditions of China and Europe to reflect on new global realities. Chance and fate, conflict and humour inflect his vision of how different societies operate and interact with each other.

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