Chris Bennie

Exhibitions and Projects
Contact and Resume

Chris Bennie is a New Zealand born artist, living and working in Mermaid Beach, Australia.

His work has been included in national and international group exhibitions including Innerspace, Canberra COntemporary Artspace (2015); The National Artists Self Portrait Prize, University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane (2013); Biennale of Sydney: Revolutions – Forms That Turn (2008); Contemporary Australia: Optimism, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2008); and Plus Factors, Australian Centre of Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2006).

He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Clayton Utz Art Award (2014); Gold Coast Art Award (2012); Swell Sculpture Award 2013; Australia Council for the Arts mid-career New Work grant (2013); and Regional Arts Development Fund (2013). In 2014 Chris researched tsunami-affected communities and objects in Japan as part of an Asialink Residency at Youkobo Art Space, Tokyo.

In 2006 Chris developed the Moreton Street Spare Room (MSSR), a Brisbane-based Artist Run Initiative in New Farm. The project operated for four years and presented intimate solo exhibitions in a domestic environment and documentary films on Queensland artists. MSSR received funding from Arts Queensland and Brisbane City.

In 2009 his exhibition and exegesis, titled ‘Video art, authenticity and the Spectacle of contemporary existence’ was awarded a Doctorate of Visual Art at Griffith University. Chris currently lectures in Fine Art at Griffith University Queensland College of Art.




Curated by David Broker
Canberra Contemporary Artspace
10 July - 16 August 2015

Space. It seems to go on and on forever. Then you get to the end, and a monkey starts throwing barrels at you.

Phillip Fry, Futurama

From time immemorial artists have looked to the heavens with a sense of awe and wonder but infinity (as we know it) is definitely not the concern of Innerspace. Christopher Bennie, Jacqueline Bradley, Ham Darroch, Shellaine Godbold, Ellis Hutch, Claire Pendrigh Elliott, Rusty Peters and Jed Wolki take a view of space that is more about reverie than comprehension. Deep space thus becomes a profoundly personal matter. Whether employing cosmic clichés, scientific research, observation or stories, the universal is to be found at home; in the kitchen, the nursery, the studio or the extended backyard. Materials are nearly always appropriately modest, with for example, cardboard boxes, toilet rolls, chocolate wrappers, wool, old newspapers, trash and breakfast cereal expressing grand(iose) ideas that engage with a futile struggle to conquer the meaning of life. Quite simply, Innerspace is an exhibition that sees the notion of space grounded by the gravitational pull of prosaic imagination.

Sex Art and the Dow Jones




The Waves + Control Rooms

2 - 28 July 2015

Two projects developed during my Asialink Resdiency in Japan in 2014 will be presented to Australian audiences for the first time together at PhotoAccess, Canberra. The Waves + Control Rooms are poetic responses to reserach I conducted into objects and communities affected by the 2001 Greast East Japan Tsunami. The waves is a series of 8 photogrpahs depicting classic characters such as Achilles, Gilgamesh and Dionysus on mobile devices placed on top of images of waves. Control Rooms is a 20 minute video projection depicting images of nuclear reactor control rooms slowwing overlapping and rotoating upon one another.

Sex Art and the Dow Jones





2015 Josephine Ulrich and Wynn Schubert Photo Prize

Gold Coast Art Gallery
16 March - 3 May 2015

My photograph Quantity Not Known: practical Aesthetics has been selected as a finalsit in the 2015 JUWSPP held at the Gold COast Art Centre. The prize is one of the most revered photographic awards in Australia and attracts professional artists from all states. Practical aesthetics is one of nine photographs from the series Quuantity Not Known, a project in which I have placed publications by artists, theorists or philosophers on top of images of disasters.

Sex Art and the Dow Jones



Cutback; surfing through art

Curated by Emma Collerton + Virginia Rigney
Gold Coast Art Gallery
26 February - 8 March 2015
Featuring Chris Bennie, Shaun Gladwell, Andrew Kidman, William McKinnon, Nanda Ormond, Ben Rak, Joel Rea

Cutback: surfing through art explores the intersection between representations of surf culture, identity, mythology, mimicry and race. It collates the work of six Australian artists known for their visual engagement with surfing but deviates from traditional representations of the sport. My project, The Waves 2014, continues my interest in repurposing by appropriating images from popular surfing magazines Surfing Life, Tracks, Surfer and Stab. These magazines provide an abundance of full-page glossy spreads of waves. They often feature a surfer, which I have omitted. In their place a classic character or deity sits majestically aplomb the wave, on a mobile device. Athene, Achilles, Apollo, Gilgamesh and Enkidu protrude from each waves, stare down its face or at its crest. The ability to swipe a mobile device places the project in a contemporary, but fleeting, context. However there is a dialectic between water, in particular its power and destructive potential that is mythical and grounding.

Sex Art and the Dow Jones




Clayton Utz Art Award

Judge Sebastian Di Mauro
Award ceremony
Thursday 23rd August
Clayton Utz Lawfirm

I am delighted to announce that my work Sex Art and the Dow Jones (2014) was awarded first prize at the 2014 Clayton Utz Art Award. The work is from a series of photographs that document images of man-made and natural disasters obscured by publications on art, artists or philosophy. The series establishes an uneasy relationship between culture and trauma and proposes new interpretations of events that are occurring with more frequency. Images of disasters have been sourced from French Philosopher Paul Virilio’s publication Unknown Quantity (2001). Unknown Quantity proposes that disasters have a qualitative relation to technology: the bigger and faster the plane for example, the more devastating the plane crash. The juxtaposition between image and publication in Quantity Not Known generates a complex dialectic between both.

Sex Art and the Dow Jones





Fern Studio Floor: a cosmology

The Walls Contemporary Art Space
18 Mountain View Ave
Miami, Gold Coast
15 march - 5 April 2014

Fern Studio Floor explores the significance of the Bundanon Trust Artist Residency to the artists who have worked there. It is partly documentary, partly abstract, and partly science fiction. It summarises three decades of spilled paint into a romantically cosmic affirmation of a grandiose artistic impulse and Boyd's patronage.

Like all my work, in which overlooked things are transformed and allegorised, Fern Studio's floor is rendered fantastical through its treatment as an animation of slow moving photographs. This process has been informed by the potential for each image to appear not only as a paint-covered floor, but something else. At The Walls, Fern Studio Floor is projected upwards, onto a floating screen hanging from the ceiling. Visitors are encouraged to lie down and be seduced by this well trodden floor and its transformation into art.

Fern Studio FLoor




The Kissing Swans

Bundaberg Recreation Precinct
8 - 23 February 2014
10 am - 3 pm

The Kissing Swans is a sculpture made by repurposing a 22-foot flood-affected caravan. Inside it Chris has projected videos with sound. It won the 2013 Swell Sculpture Festival, judged by Julie Ewington, Curatorial manager Gallery of Modern Art Brisbane. With support from a Regional Arts Development Grant and Creative Regions The Kissing Swans was exhibited in the Main Pavilion of the Bundaberg Recreational Precinct. It was the first time the sculpture had been presented in Bundaberg since the caravan was sourced from the University Drive Waste management Facility there in March 2013. The precinct was used as an evacuation centre during the January 2013 floods and storms. While Chris was in Bundaberg he consulted with the community, delivered a sculpture masterclass, visited local organisations and groups and developed a plan for a Bundaberg Region Sculpture Festival.

The Kissing Swans Facebook Page

The Kissing Swans Bundaberg




Fibro Coast Bleach Extension Project

Curated by Virginia RIgney
LaCosta Motel, Balinga
March 7 - 16 2014
10 am - 9pm

Step back in time, to an era before our coastal streetscapes were adorned with lavish motels, towering high-rises and glitzy resorts; when holidays at the Gold Coast meant pitching a tent by the beach or spending a few quiet weeks with family or friends in a simple cottage.

At a time when rapid change to the urban fabric of the Coast is underway, just a handful of these buildings remain, holding with them many layers of memories of our holiday history of relaxation and escape.

Through the eyes of artists, look back at these quiet and disappearing places in a series of exhibitions, installations, talks, walks and public programs, presented by Bleach* and the Gold Coast City Gallery.


Fibro Coast

2013 National Artists Self Portrait Prize

19 October 2013 - 16 February 2014
University of Queensland Art Museum

The National Artist’s Self-Portrait Prize is a biennial award that highlights the enduring importance of self portraiture as an artistic subject. UQ Art Museum is developing the National Collection of Artists’ Self Portraits, and this acquisitive prize serves to highlight the strength of contemporary Australian self portraiture. The Prize and Collection understand the self portrait in an inclusive way that invites a broad term of reference in both media and meaning.The self has long been an artistic subject for humanity, intimately expressing how individuals have seen themselves while simultaneously providing insights to wider cultural trends and values. It is in this way that self portraiture can be seen as a unique and important part of our shared cultural heritage, as the self remains an important subject for artists today. Contemporary self portraits encourage debate around a range of issues including individuality and identity.

Video for the Kissing Swans


Hold Artspace
4 October to 19 October 2013
274 Montague Road, West End, Brisbane

Tues to Sat 10 am to 5 pm

Move is my first solo exhibition since 2009 and features new work in video, photography, installation and sound. A centerpiece of the exhibition will be the inclusion of The Kissing Swans, a 22 foot-long flood-affected caravan on dispaly in Davies Park, opposite the Hold Artspace.

Familial Matters




2013 Bondi Sculpture by the Sea

24 October - 10 November 2013
Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk, Sydney, Australia

This temporary annual outdoor exhibition showcases over one hundred sculptural works and contemporary practices, including site-specific and ephemeral works, along the iconic coastal walk between Bondi and Tamarama beaches. Adjacent to cliffs and ocean, this public walkway encompasses Mark's Park and Tamarama Park, and is interspersed with staircases and occasional seating. Grace is the title of a 22 foo- long, flood affected caravan that was donated to me by the Bundaberg Council. We're not sure of her exat history but the Council believe she was severly storm damged during the 2013 floods up there. I have installed projections and sound inside grace and she sits elegantly in Marks park, in all her tattered majesty.





2013 Bondi Sculpture by the Sea - Sculpture Inside

24 October - 10 November 2013
Marks Park, Bondi, Sydney

Sculpture Inside is an indoor exhibition of sculpture by exhibiting artists and selected invited artists held by Sculpture by the Sea to coincide with the outdoor exhibition. Sculpture Inside has become a well respected exhibition in its own right and is extremely popular with collectors and the general public. The exhibition provides a wonderful opportunity to purchase works by emerging, mid-career and established Australian and international artists.

Wallace and Timothy



Swell Sculpture Festival

13 to 22 September 2013
Currumbin Beach, Queensland

Experience a wondrous display of 50 sculptures built by local, national and international artists at the 11th annual Swell Sculpture Festival along Currumbin Beach 13 - 22 September, 2013. The free exhibition is open all hours with a selection of sculptures revealing a new verve as they are lit up under the southern sky. Over 10 days, visitors can experience the sculptures, enjoy twilight walks, informative artist talks, discover new perspectives at the Public Art Forum, wander through the Swell Smalls Gallery and participate in artist master classes and childrens' workshops.

The Kissing Swans



Australia Council Mid Career New Work Grant

The funding will assist in the research and development of new works made using flood affected caravans. The caravans are converted to small projection spaces for the puspose of displaying new video works in the public realm. I am interested in the idea that something beautiful and hopefully poignant can be created from an object that can no longer be used for its original purpose.



Winner Gold Coast Art Prize 2012

8 December 2012 - 3 February 2013
Gold Coast City Art Gallery
Judge Dr Campbell Gray Director University of Queensland Art Museum

I am delighted to announce that I won the Gold Coast Art Prize with my video The Western Fields. Campbell Gray, who judged the prize, says my video “is a work that causes us to look, think, remember and find meaning”. The work has now been acquired for the Gold Coast City collection, along with pieces by finalists Eugene Carchesio, Roy McIver, Victoria Reichelt and Tanya Harricks. Over the past 44 years almost 350 works have been acquired through the prize. The finalists exhibition features a selection of fine Australian artists including Michael Lindemann, Mostyn Bramley Moore, Lincoln Austin and James & Eleanor Avery.

Gold Coast Art Prize 2012


8 December 2012
One night only 8 - 12 pm
Fleet Lane
Curated by Beth Jackson and Jay Younger

Immediacy is a response to the social and artistic state of emergency that is Queensland. Since the Newman government came to power earlier this year, Queenslanders have been on a joyless roller coaster where job security, social services and arts infrastructure have been decimated. Art is now again a dirty word. What was a boost to cultural tourism and a sign of cosmopolitan sophistication yesterday— is today considered wasteful and unproductive. While it is devastating that state government support for the arts will be almost non-existent, this is not cause for absolute despair.

Finger Painting

When You Drink The Water, Remeber The Spring

22 August - 8 September 2012
Ryan Renshaw
137 Warry St.
Fortitude Valley, Brisban

This group show brings together artists whose practices depict, explore or discuss notions of the primal, connote the spiritual and whom employ organic materials or natural forces in their work. The title speaks about water as a means of expressing contemporary society's disconnection with our past and future. With Nicholas Folland, Chris Bennie, Bridget Currie, Hossein Valamanesh, Mark Hilton, Susan Jacobs and John Spiteri.

The Commonwealth Perspective

Tent Peg | a Zammit Project @ Ryan Renshaw Gallery

27 July - 18 August 2012
Open 24 hours (window space)
137 Warry St.
Fortitude Valley, Brisbane

I am delighted to announce the first public exhibition of Tent Peg 2012. Presented by Brisbane curator Anna Zammit as the innaugural exhibition of Zammit Projects at Ryan Renshaws window space, Tent Peg marks a decisive change in my aesthetic and conceptual research.

Tent Peg

SafARI 2012

The 'unofficial' fringe event to the Biennale of Sydney (BoS), SafARI aims to generate an increased awareness of emerging and unrepresented artists. It also aims to highlight the whereabouts of ARIs and provides a forum for discussion, discovery and professional development for all involved.

Designed to capitalise on the national and international focus on the visual arts in Sydney during the BoS, SafARI unabashedly seeks to ride the Biennale slipstream, serving to highlight the grass roots aspect of ARIs and those who help them thrive.

SafARI 2012 Co-curators
Danielle Robson & Nina Stromqvist

The Western Fields

Oh Video (Curated by Chris Bennie)

23 February 2012
6 - 9 pm
The Lower Lawn
Griffith University Queensland College of Art

Oh Video is a program of video and time-based artworks by Griffith University Queensland College of Art students and alumni. Featuring over twenty artworks by 15 artists the program delivers a comprehensive snapshot of technological art practices in Brisbane. The program coincides with Griffith University O Week festivities and will be displayed outdoors on the Lower Lawn of the Queensland College of Art South Bank Campus.

Oh Video Features work by Amanda Laycock, Angelica Roache-Wilson, Athena Thebus, Carly Scoufos, Chris Bennie, David Nixon, Dominic Reidy, Genevieve Reynolds, Jack Rodgers, James Mulholland, Jess Quinn, Karen Black, Olivia Bradley, Penny McIntyre, Rosie Attwell and Sean Barrett.

The program explores a diverse selection of processes and styles deployed by artists using video and other time-based media in Brisbane. Clear methodological motifs including the appropriation and representation of popular television programs; data-moshing; studio-based performance; formalism; abstraction; documentary; parody; and stop-motion animation feature in the program and trace a significant trend towards pluralist activities in this city.

Oh Video is curated by Brisbane based video artist and academic Dr Chris Bennie. The program establishes video and time based media as a stalwart in the field of visual culture, and, presented as an outdoor screening event, proposes new modes of public presentation and receivership of contemporary video and time-based artwork. Zen City Fitness will precede Oh Video and is a live art performance by Sharman’s Spiritual Fitness and guests. It fuses aesthetics, music, poetry, philosophy, dance, movement and meditation to reinstate the concept of the Polymath (an individual whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas) into contemporary culture.



Five Films of Fortuitous Frivilous Fervent

Residency 13 February to 3 March
Opening Saturday 3 March 2012
The Wandering Room

It’s our final show so let’s make it a ‘biggie’, I mean a ‘Bennie’!
This Saturday is The Wandering Room’s final show at Shop 13/14 on Grey Street at South Bank: Five Films of Fortuitous Frivolous Fervent by Chris Bennie.
This show reel of five new videos from artist, curator, academic and documentary filmmaker; Chris Bennie, are the result of his 3 week residence at The Wandering Room on Grey Street space, in which he sifted through over 150 hours’ worth of footage.
From the angry musings of the artist in his studio or the habitual scrounging of a Brush Turkey, Five Films… probes the effectiveness of time-based media to transcend both banality and spectacle. Presented as a series of single-channel videos projected onto a purposefully built screen, Five Films… utilises performance, representation and appropriation to communicate the complexity of experience.
Come down on Saturday the 18th of February to witness the screening of Bennie’s Five Films... in the spaces makeshift cinema. Also available at this exhibition closing event will be jaw-dropping jungle juices and a bodaciously beautiful banana cake!

Wandering Room

Substation Art Prize

3 - 25 September 2011
The Substattion

Featuring 48 artists from around Australia, the inaugural Substation Contemporary Art Prize is an excellent survey of current contemporary art practices in an art prize context. The exhibition is presented through the three levels of the industrial Substation building including dedicated gallery spaces and ‘found’ spaces with immersive and responsive installation works, new media works, painting, drawing; sculpture and photography.

This non-acquisitive award will provide an ongoing opportunity for contemporary artists working with both traditional and non-traditional mediums and encourage risk-taking and diversity in contemporary art in Australia. SCAP 2011 is a reflection of the ways in which artists are using new media and installation practices but the outcome of this year’s Prize clearly shows that painting is not dead but alive and thriving!


Clayton Utz Art Prize

Now in its fourth year, the Clayton Utz LAUNCH Art Award (formerly known as the LAUNCH: Clayton Utz Travelling Arts Scholarship) is a $10,000 prize available to Queensland-based or artists with a strong connection to Queensland, working in any medium. My video The Commonwealth Perspective 2011 was displayed in the boardroom of the Law firm's offices and was singled out for commendation by this years judge Marian Drew.




New Psychedelia

7 May – 3 July 2011
University of Queensland Art Museum

In recent years psychedelic ideas and aesthetics have made a notable return to contemporary art.

The current influence of psychedelia has developed in response to the growing impact of global capital and technology on daily life. New Psychedelia presents a range of contemporary Australian artworks that display psychedelic influences and strategies for addressing the themes of consciousness, capitalism and technology. The exhibition will feature existing artworks alongside new site-specific works commissioned for the exhibition.



Soft Site

Chris Bennie / Lou Hubbard (VIC) / Tim Woodward
6-8pm 18th March 2011
Kangaroo Motel: room 15
An Accidently Annie Street offsite project

Annie St is happy to present the inaugural exhibition of its new 2011 Offsite program.
Soft Site is an exhibition that playfully engages with the cheap motel room as site for the exhibition of contemporary art.

Universal Fan Base

2010 Australia Council New Work Grant (emerging)

New Work – emerging grants support the creation of new work by emerging craftspeople, designers, media artists, visual artists and arts writers.The grant will be used to produce new video works for a 4-channel room-size installation. The project will explore ‘authentic’ experience by questioning the resonance of modernism and its corollary, progress, in and around Brisbane. Visual references of modernism in the form of industrial and institutional architecture, such as art museums and construction sites, minimalism and the monochrome will be contrasted with less 'utilitarian' subjects such as frogs, grass, people and movement. The work uses the temporal and spatial properties of video installation to render common and uncommon subjects with emotive and allegorical qualities.


Flying Colours

3 April - 30 May 2010
Gold Coast City Art Gallery
Gold Coast

Flying Colours is both a celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the first Fine Arts graduates on the Gold Coast as well as an opportunity to reflect on the strong community partnership that has developed between Gold Coast City Gallery and Griffith University. It is timely to celebrate the growing viability and strength of arts sector in this region, through an exhibition that includes the work of six artists who all have an association with the QCA Gold Coast campus and now enjoy growing profiles both locally and nationally. These artists are Chris Bennie, Mari Hirata Abby McCulloch, Virginia Miller, Victoria Reichelt and Michael Zavros.
Each artist will present a group of works that reflect either recent or key moments from their careers and the exhibition will demonstrate that artists can be educated, supported, sustained and go onto gain significant national standing while working and living on the Gold Coast. This project marks a further ‘coming of age’ of a vibrant, diverse and now mature regional arts community that can take pride and confidence in the achievements of its outstanding emerging artists.





2010 City of Hobart Art Prize

Saturday 24 July - Sunday 29 August 2010
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
Macquarie Street

Digital Media
Chris Bennie, Damiano Bertoli, Merilyn Fairskye, Chris Howlett, James Newitt, Elvis Richardson, Grant Stevens, Matt Warren.
Stephen Benwell, Les Blakebrough, Stephens Bowers, Penny Byrne, Alan Constable, Michael Doolan, Neville French, Jeff Mincham, David Pottinger, Penny Smith, Vipoo Srivilasa, Gerry Wedd, Belinda Winkler, Sara Wright.

This year, the three judges Jose Da Silva, Curator (Film, Video and New Media) Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane and Brian Parkes, Managing Director, Jam Factory Contemporary Craft and Design, Adelaide took the liberated curatorial line. paring back the number of finalists in comparison with past City of Hobart Art Prizes (CHAP). This was uncharted terrain in the history of the Prize and we approached the selection of finalists with a studious degree of care and consideration.
There is rarely an exhibition that brings the moving image and ceramics together in isolation, so rather than separates the two disciplines; we chose to explore the conceptual and aesthetic connections between all works. CHAP 2010 may be a little quirky owing to the seemingly disparate disciplines, but it is also an arresting survey which spans emerging to senior practice across the nation. It represents diverse approaches to each art form: from slip cast, wheel thrown and hand built ceramic vessels and sculptures, to projected and screen based images which adopt documentary, animation, interactive, and appropriative techniques.
The interplay between traditional and contemporary materials and approaches establishes a platform where common perceptions of each discipline might be challenged. Ceramics is viewed in the slippery, intangible, and motion-charged world of screen based media, which is enhanced by the materiality of crafted objects. For art forms which are founded on opposites (light/substance, motion/stasis, 'new' media /traditional) there are universal similarities in the artists' interests, with works from each discipline exploring landscape, popular culture, identity, relationships, and loss, with a mixture of sobriety through to irreverence.
Hobart City Council is commended for embracing Digital Media in this acquisitive award. It has demonstrated a willingness to roll with the times at a period when art prizes nationally are under scrutiny. Such responsiveness is made possible by the unique flexibility of this prize , ensuring CHAPs continuation as a vibrant contemporary exhibition of thought and practice nationally.
Jane Stewart
Principal Curator of Art
Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery



A Wee Sunset

2 July - 1 August 2010
Linden Center for Contemporary Art
26 Acland Street
St. Kilda

Christopher Bennie transfixes the viewer with a vision of daily existence and the ordinary through his video works. His subject matter is overtly banal, his videos have documented his own rippling back muscles, his girlfriend’s bottom and a poorly executed dance around his house. While the approach in these videos is unsettling, as they hover between voyeurism, narcissism and naivety, they also reveal something of the monumental in the often overlooked. These works are the artist’s attempt at pursuing experiences of authenticity and familiarity in today’s society of the spectacle and invite the viewer to revel in their own private experiences and encounters as lost moments in time that should be appreciated. Bennie’s cheeky approach is exemplified by the video A Wee Sunset (2009) in which the artist contrasts the beauty of a dust laden orange sky with the silhouette of his own urination. As with previous works, boyhood games are revisited with childlike reverie, and the profane becomes a playful critique of our appreciation of the aesthetic and the sublime. As Bennie explains, “with tongue in cheek the video exemplifies as well as repudiates romanticism in favour of a profound and leaky existence” .

Jess Berry 2010, extract from Flying Colours exhibition review.

A Wee Sunset

Photo LA

The 19th Annual International Los Angeles Photographic Art Exposition
1 4 - 17 January 2010
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium

Chris will present a selection of videos in the Queensland Centre of Photography stall including the Alien's Back 2007, The Supernova 2005 and 1080 2008. Over the past eighteen years photo l.a. has earned a reputation as one of the foremost art fairs and the leading photo-based events in the country. Presenting the finest galleries from around the globe, this 19th edition of photo l.a. promises to be the best ever. The Queensland Centre of Photography has established itself as one of the fairs most dynamic exhibitors, presenting a diverse range of contemporary photographic practices, and for the first time this year, video.



Smooth Machines

1 - 20 December 2009
Shop T1
Little Stanley Street
South Bank

Fri - Mon 12 - 4 pm

For his Independent Exhibition project Chris Bennie will present a series of acrylic paintings in an unused commercial property on Little Stanley Street in South Bank, Brisbane. Titled Smooth Machines, the suite depict constructions and objects that appear to perform repetitive or absurd tasks. Smooth Machines combine representation and abstraction using day-glo and muted colours, scale and cartoon-like forms to illicit playful and colourful responses from viewers. Known for videos that explore authentic and immediate experience, featured in exhibitions such as Contemporary Australia: optimism, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, and the 2008 Sydney Biennale, Smooth Machines develops similar concerns in a static and painterly way.


Smooth Machines


18 September - 25 October 2009
Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia
Project Space

14 Porter St. Parkside
T + (61 8) 82722682

Tuesday - Friday 11 am - 5 pm
Weekends 1 - 5 pm

Filmed in the artist’s home in New Farm, Brisbane, Chris Bennie’s two channel video projection Jordie investigates the world from the height and perspective of his Maltese/Shi Tzu–cross companion. “Jordie always looked like she was about to speak. I used to think she spoke when I wasn’t around. I imagined she would have conversations about the weather and where she likes to be scratched. They would be convivial, afternoon-tea conversations - that sort of thing.”

A catalogue featuring new prose made in response to Jordie by Brisbane author Kirsten Reed accompanies the exhibition. Reed's first novel The Ice Age is published by Text publishing.


MSSR Exposure

22 June - 15 July 2009
Metro Arts

Exposure is an exhibition of contemporary Australian art curated by Chris Bennie, director Moreton Street Spare Room [MSSR]. Exposure is also a series of documentary DVDs produced by MSSR profiling Queensland artists.

The Exposure exhibition features work by Peter Alwast, Chris Bennie, Nicola Chatham, Matt Dabrowski and the Many Hands of Glamour, Marian Drew, Julie Fragar, Luke Jaaniste, Rose Phillips, Rebecca Ross and Dave Smith with Scam Productions. These ten artists are involved with MSSR either through its exhibition program, its curated show reels of contemporary video art or on the Exposure DVD series.

MSSR is a Brisbane artist run project that diverges from conventional institutional exhibition programs to re-contextualise the presentation of contemporary art within an everyday and familiar environment - specifically an old and occupied Queenslander in the suburb of New Farm, Brisbane. The Exposure exhibition at Metro Arts provides MSSR with the challenge of presenting a selection of diverse and unrelated work coherently in a formal context.
This catalogue supplements the exhibition by providing an additional forum for the artists to present work. It contains source photographs, video stills, new work, and personal snapshots that relate to the work on display.

In addition to exhibitions, MSSR connects artists and audiences by providing innovative and accessible platforms for the presentation of contemporary art.

Exposure offers a unique insight into the reality of artistic life in Queensland today. The series documents individual art practices and highlights the aesthetic and conceptual concerns of contemporary artists working in a range of media, including video, painting, construction, installation, new media and photomedia. Each volume focuses on studio routines, exhibitions, administrative tasks, residencies and home lives of six artists and an artist run space. Exposure is released bi-annually and consists of three volumes.

In Volume One MSSR observes Martin Smith taking the bus to work where he writes personal anecdotes for his photographic practice; goes on a walking tour with Rebecca Ross and a group of friends as they map their way through Fortitude Valley; plays on words with Tony Albert for the Queensland Art Gallery—Gallery of Modern Art; follows Christian Flynn as he smashes his way into a reputable Sydney gallery; documents Carly Scoufos as she weaves rope around farmhouses and wire into galleries; plays squash with the Premier of Queensland’s National New Media Art Award winner Peter Alwast and talks with No Fills* about their collaborative exhibition projects.

Exposure Volume One will be officially released on Wednesday 15 July 2009 at Metro Arts from 6pm to 8pm. Copies of the DVD will be available for $24.95. Exposure is also available in selected bookstores nationwide and online at

For further information about MSSR and Exposure please visit

MSSR Exposure

Lean Towards Indifference!

Metro Arts
15 April - 3 May 2009

Artists: Eve Roleston, Grant Stevens, Marianne Templeton, Chris Bennie, Fiona Mail, Courtney Coombs, Antoinette J. Citizen, Kate Woodcroft, Catherine Sagin, Timothy Woodward and Timothy P. Kerr.

Lean Towards Indifference! will investigate humour as the result of playful making strategies and as a method of exploring the role of the contemporary artist. Humour in art manifests itself in a variety of ways but it can often be difficult to articulate the effect that it has as a strategy for engaging with ideas and with the viewer. In this show, the Brisbane based ARI No Frills* plan to exhibit the work of eight local artists whose work highlights the illusive and contradictory nature of humour in art.



Doctorate of Visual Art Exhibition

8 - 19 April 2009

MSSR | Queensland College of Art Galleria | Queensland College of Art White Box Gallery | and a roaming Toyota campervan.

This exhibition concludes four years of studio based research at Griffith University Queensland College of Art and is presented in fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Visual Arts. Staged across four venues—Queensland College of Art (QCA) Galleria, QCA White Box Gallery, Moreton Street Spare Room (MSSR) and a roaming Toyota Campervan—the exhibition explores authentic experience and the Spectacle through video art.

Each venue is an autonomous exhibition environment that can be viewed individually or together as a comprehensive research and exhibition project. The QCA Galleria, QCA White Box Gallery and Toyota Campervan display previously exhibited work in new configurations, while MSSR hosts new work. The artist recommends allowing approximately two hours to visit all venues.

The two QCA venues provide audiences with the opportunity to view and experience Bennie’s videos from a conventional institutional perspective. MSSR and the roaming Toyota campervan give audiences an active exhibition experience by providing an opportunity to talk with the artist, enjoy refreshments, and view videos in domestic and personalised environments.

Venues and opening times

The Moreton Street Spare Room (MSSR)
105 Moreton Street New Farm

Wed 8 - Sun 12 | 5 - 9 pm
Wed 15 - Sun 19 | 5 - 9 pm

Queensland College of Art Galleria
8 Tribune St. (off Gray St.)
South Bank

Wed 8 - Sun 12 | 11 am - 5 pm
Wed 15 - Sun 19 | 11 am - 5 pm

Queensland College of Art White Box
Level 4 rm 4.18
Gray St
South Bank

Wed 8 - Sun 12 | closed
Wed 15 - Sun 19 | 11 am - 9 pm

Toyota Campervan
During the exhibition the van’s location will be posted on daily.

Wed 8 - Sat 12 | 1 pm - 3 pm
Wed 15 - Sat 19 | 1 pm - 3 pm

Untitled Plastic Landscapes

Contemporary Australia: optimism

Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane
15th November 2008 to 22nd February 2009

Stanley Place
South Bank
Queensland , Australia

Monday to Friday 10.00am - 5.00pm
Saturday and Sunday 9.00am - 5.00pm

Contemporary Australia: Optimism is the first in a major new national triennial series of thematic contemporary Australian art exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art. Encompassing many facets of contemporary Australian visual art and culture, the exhibition includes painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, installation, video and video installation, cinema, animation, performance, music, literature and comedy. The exhibition presents work by more than 60 emerging, mid-career, and senior Indigenous and non-Indigenous contemporary artists from every state and territory.

Optimism is screening Bennie's video The Average 2007. In The Average Bennie dances with fellow artist Nicola Chatham to the sound of electronic music in the living room of his home in New Farm, Brisbane. Bennie and Chatham respond to the repetition of the music by switching lights on and off to the rhythm of the techno beat. The work straightforwardly documents, from its static, operator-less viewpoint, both the synchronicity and awkwardness of the artists' shared response to this particular situation. The couples' behaviour can be interpreted as a daggy do-it-yourself home disco, or equally as a study of humanity defined by a shared and unspoken engagement with their surroundings. In that regard, The Average, like many of Bennie's previous video works, presents the phenomenological peculiarities of unremarkable and 'everyday' existence profoundly, as well as with tongue-in-cheek.


A Street Art Exhibition

26th September to 24th October 2008
Studio 3.10 level 3 Metro Arts
109 Edward St. Brisbane
Thursday - Saturday 2-6pm

Boxcopy’s group exhibition, A Street Art Exhibition, might not be quite what you’d expect. There won’t be graffiti, and it won’t include stencils or stickers. We’re adamant that it’s Street Art, although after visiting you may need to reconsider what Street Art actually is. Opening on 26 September at 6pm, this group exhibition will present a range of negotiations taking place between contemporary artists, their work, and the street.

The artists engage with footpaths, rubbish, roads, highways, freeways, expressways and motorways, identifying the street as a complex social site as well as a stretch of grey tarmac for cars to drive along.

Renovating a term increasingly defined through accepted representations of graffiti culture, A Street Art Exhibition shows evidence of artists continuing to re-evaluate an engagement between art and the street in a manner separated from the popular vernacular.




2008 Sydney Biennale Revolutions: Forms that turn

As part of the 2008 Biennale of Sydney, Revolutions – Forms That Turn, Artistic Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev is including a large number of texts and some digital artworks in the online venue website. The website will evolve from late 2007 and run until 31 December 2008. Bennie's short video documenting a spinning caousel ride at a theme park titled The Supernova 2005 is being included in this online exhibition.

The exhibition as a whole and the online venue particularly, will focus on the different ways artists have ‘revolutionised’ contemporary art. It will explore the impulse to revolt, rotating, turning upside down, shifting points of view, revolving, mirroring and reversing as formal devices, as well as chart their broader aesthetic, psychological, psychoanalytical, radical and political perspectives. The online venue will provide a wider context to the physical 2008 Biennale of Sydney as well as constitute a space of its own.
Click here to visit Bennie's page on the Online Venue

Sydney Biennale