press release

Gabriella Hirst. Darling Darling
Ian Potter Moving Image Commission 2020

February 11–May 30, 2021

ACMI and The Ian Potter Cultural Trust are excited to announce the world premiere of Darling Darling, by Gabriella Hirst, as the first solo art exhibition in the new ACMI.

Darling Darling is a two channel video installation exploring hierarchies of care, romanticism and the enduring colonial gaze upon the Australian landscape and the devastation of Australia’s third largest waterway, the Barka Darling River.

The installation presents two contrasting perspectives of the same body of water: the detailed work by art conservators to restore the 19th century painting, The flood in the Darling, 1890, by colonial painter WC Piguenit, and the environmental crisis facing the Barka Darling today, as a result of drought, climate change, and severe water mis-management. Presented simultaneously, the sounds from these two contrasting locations leak into one another, blurring the boundaries between these two seemingly distinct treatments of care and implicating the viewer in the contradictions of the Gallery. The film is a timely investigation into the nature of environmental care and neglect, scrutinising the colonial gaze on Country and the relationship between pictorial framing and ecological destruction. Darling Darling was filmed at various sites on Barkindji Country, under the guidance of Barkindji Elder Uncle Badger Bates, and on the sovereign lands of the Gadigal at the Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW).

Darling Darling is the result of Australia's most significant commission for moving image art, the Ian Potter Moving Image Commission (IPMIC), an initiative of the Ian Potter Cultural Trust and ACMI. Hirst's 2020 commission follows previous recipients who include Angelica Mesiti, (2013) and Daniel Crooks (2016).

To explore more about Gabriella Hirst's Darling Darling, visit here to view supporting content about her work including essays and videos.

About Gabriella Hirst
Gabriella Hirst (she/her) is an artist. She was born and grew up on Cammeraygal land (Australia) and is currently living between Berlin and London. She works primarily with moving image, performance, and with the garden as a site of critique and care. Gabriella’s practice and research explores connections between various manifestations of capture and control—spanning plant taxonomies, landscape painting, art conservation and nuclear history.

Producer: Bridget Ikin
DoP Barka-Darling River: Meg White
DoP AGNSW: Justine Kerrigan
Film editor: Sam Smith
Sound recordist: Daniel Miau
Sound editor: Liam Egan
Barkandji consultant: Uncle Badger Bates
Regional liaison/location manager: Justine Muller
Production coordinator: Mia Timpano
Production assistant: Lesley Holland
Videographer AGNSW: Christopher Snee
Camera assistant: Cameron Dunlop

Sections of the work were filmed by permission at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) in close collaboration with Conservators Paula Dredge, AGNSW Head of Painting Conservation, Andrea Nottage, Painting Conservator and Barbara Dabrowa, AGNSW Senior Conservator of Fine Arts – Frames.