‘Material thinking characterises the best contemporary art in Australia right now and contemporary artists are modern day magicians – they invest materials with potency and poetry.’ Lisa Slade, Curator, 2016 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art

Magic Object extends Slade’s obsession with the ‘Wunderkammer’ and leaps across 500 years of art history to consider the encounter with contemporary art as one that has much in common with the phenomenon of encountering wonder in the ‘Wunderkammer’. In Magic Object, the ‘Wunderkammer’ experiences an afterlife but this afterlife is not without caution, offering a critique of our relationship with the natural world. In Slade’s words, ‘It seems we’ve been so busy grasping the world and containing it within collections that we’re strangling it’. 

Slade is Assistant Director, Artistic Programs, at the Art Gallery of South Australia. From 2011 until mid 2015 she was Project Curator at the Art Gallery, during which time she curated The Extreme Climate of Nicholas Folland and Heartland: Contemporary Art from South Australia. She also managed the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art in both 2012 and 2014. She currently lectures in several postgraduate courses delivered by the University of Adelaide in collaboration with the Art Gallery of South Australia and has written and published reviews, academic essays, catalogue entries and monographs. She is currently developing an exhibition for the Art Gallery of South Australia titled Sappers and Shrapnel, which brings together trench art and contemporary art.