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ephemeral traces: Brisbane's Artist-run Scene in the 1980s

A different kind of '80s flashback.
By Sarah Ward
April 04, 2016
By Sarah Ward
April 04, 2016

You've probably heard about Brisbane in the '80s. Under the conservative Joh Bjelke-Petersen government, times were tough — particularly if you were an arts lover, creative practitioner, or just liked going out and having a good time.

With dark days like that not that long ago in the city's past, it's little surprise that Brisbane's current hustle and bustle still inspires wonder from those who lived through it. It wasn't all bad news, though. Many artists left, but some persevered, hung out at One Flat, A Room, That Space, The Observatory, and John Mills National, and tried to make a go of it.

ephemeral traces: Brisbane's Artist-run Scene in the 1980s documents the latter category: the progressive folks who dug in their heels, attempted to ply their trade and created an arts scene around those five key spaces. Through artworks, documentation and other bits and pieces, the exhibition delves into their artist-run activity and examines the projects, publications and places at the centre. Yes, getting all nostalgic about retro pop culture and art might be common, but this is a truly different kind of '80s flashback.

Image: Jeanelle Hurst, Highrise Wallpaper, 1988. Documentation of the project 'InterFace 88: City as a work of art', Brisbane. Collection of Jeanelle Hurst.

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