Looking back 2017 : Australia

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Hill, W 2017, 'Looking back 2017 : Australia', Frieze.

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‘Counterpowers’, by the Queensland-born, Los Angeles-based artist Jemima Wyman, perfectly encapsulates 2017’s politically disillusioned and hyper-everything atmosphere for Australian art audiences. Staged at Sydney gallery Sullivan+Strumpf, Wyman’s exhibition consisted of kaleidoscopic collages of protesters from around the world, transforming an array of Guy Fawkes, Pussy Riot and Che Guevara imagery – as well as bandanas, balaclavas and black hoodies – into op art-meets-camouflage compositions. While Wyman is undoubtedly empathetic towards her subjects, the works themselves are more ambiguous, their conflation of radicalism and fashionable spectacle appearing as compensation for the protesters’ lack of concrete political demands.

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