Sidney McMahon, Of sorrow and release (2020), installation view, Overlapping Magisteria, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Commissioned by ACCA and the Macfarlane Fund. Courtesy the artist. Photography by Andrew Curtis.

Sidney McMahon, Of sorrow and release (2020), installation view, Overlapping Magisteria, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Commissioned by ACCA and the Macfarlane Fund. Courtesy the artist. Photography by Andrew Curtis.

Sidney McMahon, Of sorrow and release (2020), installation view, Overlapping Magisteria, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Commissioned by ACCA and the Macfarlane Fund. Courtesy the artist. Photography by Andrew Curtis.

Sidney McMahon, Of sorrow and release (2020), still 10. Commissioned by ACCA and the Macfarlane Fund. Courtesy the artist.

14 May – 3 July 2021

Sidney McMahon

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Sidney McMahon’s latest installation, Of sorrow and release, choreographs the diverse and complex emotional registers that evolve over time when processing experiences of loss, change and revelation.

Bringing together moving sculpture, video and sound, McMahon addresses two significant thematics: the public sense of sorrow spurred on by the climate crisis and recent Australian bushfires in the summer of 2019-20, and the personal experience of mourning and celebration that has accompanied the artist’s own unfolding queer narrative.

Monumental sail cloths rise and fall from ropes and pulleys suspended from the ceiling, while a performative two-channel video sees the artist searching for something they both do and do not wish to find. Dynamic, variable and in a constant state of settling and unsettling, McMahon’s installation interweaves human, environmental, psychological and computational perspectives to ultimately respond to the question: ‘How do I celebrate the person I am now whilst expressing sorrow for my previous self?’

About the artist
Sidney McMahon is a Sydney-based artist that works across sculptural installation, video and performance. McMahon has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include Of hope and longing, Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, Goulburn, New South Wales 2020; and Canter, Outer Space Gallery, Brisbane, 2019. Recent group exhibitions include Overlapping Magisteria: The 2020 Macfarlane Commissions, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 2020; Space Syntax, Verge Gallery, Sydney, 2020; and Tender rip, Auto Italia, London, 2019. McMahon has also been the recipient of numerous residencies, including at Parramatta Artists Studios from 2016–18, at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, 2017, Studio Voltaire, London, 2017, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2018, and Move Arts Japan and Asia link Arts program between Kyoto and Tokyo, 2018.

Presented in association with the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, this project was initially commissioned by ACCA for Overlapping Magisteria: The 2020 Macfarlane Commissions, supported by the Macfarlane Fund. The development of Sidney McMahon’s new work has been additionally supported by Create New South Wales.