In July 2015, the IMA launched a new platform and exhibition space, the Green Room, which uncovers some of the most interesting, but lesser-known, artists and artworks that can be found in Queensland. The Green Room projects are nimble and responsive, often generating new conversations with the IMA’s ongoing program of exhibitions.
Juan Davila brings together two significant works from one of Chilean/Australian artist Juan Davila’s most iconic series of paintings, Hysterical Tears, which have been loaned from a private Queensland art collection. This body of work from the 1980s radically appropriates from the art historical canon and other key references. Among the identifiable sources is the artist behind some of the most recognised homoerotic imagery of the late 20th century, Tom of Finland.
This rarely seen pair of works sits alongside Patrick Staff’s The Foundation, which explores queer intergenerational relationships negotiated through historical materials. The film combines footage shot at the Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles—home to the archive of the erotic artist and gay icon and a community of people that care for it—with choreographic sequences shot within a specially constructed set. These two artists differ greatly in their approach but together they trace changing attitudes toward art, popular culture, sex, and gender, through their distinctive engagement with the art of Tom of Finland.
Born in Santiago, Chile in 1946, Juan Davila moved to Melbourne in 1974 and has worked between the two countries ever since. Since the early 1970s, Juan Davila has used the medium of painting to engage in debates around aesthetics, politics and sexuality, drawing on its rich and varied histories in Latin America, Australia, Europe and North America. Davila’s work was included in Documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany, in 2007. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and the National Gallery of Victoria held retrospective surveys of Davila’s work in 2006 – 2007. His work is included in every major museum collection in Australia, as well as significant international museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. In November 2015, Davila is participating in the Asia Pacific Triennial at the Queensland Art Gallery.