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Why Not Walk Backward?

Liang Luscombe and Brooke Babington

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To repeat is to propose a different type of relationship to time. Why Not Walk Backward? considers the implications of reiteration in a moment where time threatens to consume our sense of history and narrative. A group of eight Australian and international artists retrace old steps – their own and those of others – using appropriation to deal with the ghosts of the past in new and imaginative ways.

Each of these artists utilise performance or strategies associated with performance to appropriate existing, historically significant works of art through homage, reinterpretation or re-enactment. Working at the intersection of performance and appropriation, they address issues of temporality and historiography.

To trace is to both repeat and discover. Appropriation is today a bargain struck with the past that extends its scope as a critical strategy to one of potentiality; a basis for beginning new artworks. Participating artists include Fiona Abicare, Nina Beier, Tania Bruguera, Catherine or Kate, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd and Aleks Danko.



A part of the exhibition’s interest in appropriation is the concurrent desire to re-examine Australia’s often forgotten history of performance art. This event will include a number of performance works from the 1970s and 1980s that have been reworked and re-performed by the artists and invited performers:

ALEKS DANKO, ROBYN RAVLICH and JULIE EWINGTON, This Performance is a Mistake (1972)
BONITA ELY, Murray River Punch (1980-1981)
TIM JOHNSON, Light Performance (1971-1972)

Why Not Walk Backward?

Date: 3 − 31 May

Location: Gertrude Contemporary, 200 Gertrude St Fitzroy VIC 3065

Time: Tue to Fri 11am – 5.30pm, Sat 11am – 4.30pm, Sun 3 & 11 May 1 - 4pm

Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible (although assistance is required)

Notes: Opening 2 May 6pm - 8pm. Warning: Possible coarse language and partial nudity. Curator Talks: Sat 3 May 2.30pm, Sun 4 May 3pm

Ticket Prices: Free

Liang Luscombe and Brooke Babington

Liang Luscombe and Brooke Babington: Curators
Fiona Abicare Artist
Catherine or Kate Artist
Tania Bruguera Artist
Nana Beier Artist
Marvin Gaye Chetwynd Artist
Aleks Danko Artist

Why Not Walk Backward? is funded by the City of Yarra through the Annual Grants Program. 

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