Deborah Kelly is a Sydney-based artist whose works have been shown around Australia, and in the Biennales of Singapore, Sydney, Thessaloniki, Tarra Warra and Venice. In 2017 her first international solo exhibition, Venus Envy, was held at the Kvindemuseet in Aarhus, Denmark. In 2018 her one-person show, Life in the Ruins, was held at the Walter Galerie in Zurich.Her projects across media are concerned with lineages of representation, politics and history in public exchange, and practices of collectivity on small and large scale.Deborah Kelly’s work has recently been presented in group exhibitions at MOMA PS1 in NYC, the ICA in London, the Hammer Museum in LA, the AGNSW in Sydney and the Pera Museum in Istanbul. Most recently she has participated in PhotoBasel, Switzerland; the Strangelove Festival in Antwerp, Belgium; PortoFemme in Portugal; Spaced3 at the Art Gallery of WA, My Monster at RMIT Gallery Melbourne (all 2018) and in 2017’s survey Unfinished Business: Perspectives on Art & Feminism at ACCA in Melbourne.
As a school student in 70s Melbourne, my primary exposure to culture was through the pages of books. I studied the European canon at a triple remove: as a girl; as an antipodean girl; as an antipodean girl who had never seen the paintings except as printed paper’s cheap approximation of European glory.For years I have obsessively collected discarded reference books from garage sales, charity shops and the sides of roads. They are the abandoned evidence of a colonial project casting the white European man as the only possible artist and his viewpoint as the standard by which all else is measured. In my works both solo and collaborative I am keen to explore, even to demonstrate, expanded realms of perspective and intent.