The Exhibition of a Film

Mathieu Copeland

Australian Premiere

Sat 14 Oct



Can a cinema screen host an exhibition?

That’s the puzzle at the heart of this unorthodox work by London-based curator, Mathieu Copeland. Calling on the talents of dozens of major international artists from a broad spectrum of creative disciplines, Copeland has pieced together an exhibition that can be screened.

Artists were commissioned to make moving-image and surround-sound works that fit within the cinema environment. The result is a film in which audio-visual elements come together to challenge our ideas of art and its presentation.

Copeland worked closely with live art director Tim Etchells (Forced Entertainment, 2005 Melbourne Festival Bloody Mess), who was engaged to oversee the ‘dramaturgy’ of the film by compiling the commissioned works into a cohesive sequence.

Composer, artist and noise rock legend, Susan Stenger (Band of Susans) was commissioned to develop a soundtrack for the film, which overlaps and binds a number of individual contributions. Stenger produced a series of songs that explode into the cinema space, in collaboration with proto-punk front man Alan Vega (Suicide), master of indie power ballads Nick Cave, avant-garde mistress Cosey Fanni Tutti (ex Throbbing Gristle), folk singer Sam Gleaves and avant-pop songstress Lætitia Sadier (Stereolab).

Moving-image works include the witty behavioral experiments of Michael Portnoy, the haunting audio-visual operas of Meredith Monk, the socio-political constructs of Fia Backström, the highly disciplined choreographic gestures of Jonathan Burrows, and the obliquely conceptual language-based art of Lawrence Weiner, alongside many other innovative practitioners.

Featured Artists

Visual artists: Mac Adams (UK), Robert Barry (USA), Philippe Decrauzat (Switzerland), Peter Downsbrough (USA), Maria Eichhorn (Switzerland), Benoît Maire (France), Karen Mirza & Brad Butler (UK), Charlotte Moth (France), Daniel Turner (USA)

Live art and performance practitioners: Fia Backström (Finland/USA), Stuart Brisley (UK), Tim Etchells (UK), Myriam Lefkowitz (France), Ieva Misevičiūtė (Netherlands/USA), Deborah Pearson (Canada), Michael Portnoy (USA)

Musicians, composers and sound artists: Nick Cave (Australia/UK), David Cunningham (Ireland), F.M. Einheit aka Mufti from Einstürzende Neubauten (Germany), Sam Gleaves (USA), Meredith Monk (USA), Phill Niblock (USA), Lee Ranaldo from Sonic Youth (USA), Lætitia Sadier from Stereolab (France/USA), Mieko Shiomi (Japan), Susan Stenger from Band of Susans (USA/UK), Kasper T. Toeplitz (France/Poland), Cosey Fanni Tutti previously from Throbbing Gristle (UK), Alan Vega from Suicide (USA)

Choreographers and dancers: Jonathan Burrows (UK), Sofia Diaz + Vítor Roriz (Portugal), Myriam Gourfink (France/UK), Marie-Caroline Hominal (France)

Filmmakers and media artists: Alexandre Estrela (Portugal), Charles De Meaux (France), Laurent Schmid (Switzerland), Leah Singer from Sonic Youth (Canada/USA)

Language-based, conceptual artists and poets: Erica Baum (USA), Kenneth Goldsmith (USA), John Giorno (USA), Vanessa Place (USA), Karl Holmqvist (Sweden/Germany), Lawrence Weiner (USA)

Curator Talk


Curator Mathieu Copeland in conversation with Kelli Alred discussing the collaborative process involved in producing the project and the broader context of Copeland’s curatorial work.


Mathieu Copland is a London-based curator whose work demonstrates an affinity with creative practitioners from across the fields of visual art, dance, music, film and writing. His projects have been presented at a range of international institutions including: Centre Pompidou (Paris), Tate Modern (London), Centre d’Art Contemporain (Geneva), Musee d’Art Contemporain (Lyon) and Jeu De Paume (Paris).


Kelli Alred is an independent curator currently based in Melbourne, whose practice focuses on the presentation of time-based, spatial and performative forms. She has delivered projects for a range of international institutions including: Tate Modern (London), Netherlands Media Arts Institute (Amsterdam), National Art Museum of China (Beijing), Arts Centre Melbourne (Melbourne) and Vrystaat Arts Festival (South Africa).

Presented with ACMI
Tim Etchells
Original score enacted by
Nada Gambier
Wendy Houstoun
Jerry Killick
Lucy McCormick
Jennifer Pick
Pascale Alibert
Sound Design & Mix
Philippe Ciompi
Director of Photography
Tom Wright

A Production Of the Head—Genève, with The Support Of The Fonds Stratégique De La Hes-So.

PHOTO| Film still, Courtesy Philippe Decrauzat, in The Exhibition of a Film, 2014