Material Politics, Exhibition view (image courtesy of Institute of Modern Art).
When co-curators Johan Lundt and Aileen Burns mined the Institute of Modern Art's archives, they found an access point to a pivotal time in Brisbane's material and political history in the 1986 exhibit Recession Art and Other Strategies. That show was created at time when there was very little market for Australian art, and the artists featured all made works within an economy of means: from basic materials and in a modular way. That way, if they sold their work in Australia or abroad, it could be packed down and shipped off easily. The exhibition centered around economic questions raised during a turbulent time in Brisbane's history: the conservative regime of Queensland's longest-serving premier, Joh Bjelke-Petersen.