Suffering continues UK artist Lindsay Seers’ fascination with storytelling and the work of memory. Seers asks us to pause, to take a moment, and contemplate the private creative life of Tasmanian artist Leo Kelly.
Seers has built a corrugated iron hut inside Mona. The hut resembles a rundown church (a ‘tin tabernacle’, says the artist) but is, in fact, made in the style of Kelly’s unusual self-built house in Queenstown, a small town in Tasmania’s own wild west. Seers met Kelly, a once-devout Catholic who experienced divine visions, in 2011 when she was travelling in Tasmania. Kelly invited Seers to his home (which features a small chapel and observatory) and revealed his extraordinary output as a painter, as well as his extensive collection of found objects. Kelly died a few years later, drawing Seers back to Tasmania to tell the story of Kelly and his art—‘to give an image of this man and his concerns’, she says, and to show us ‘the extent of his beliefs, his sincerity, his conviction’.
We are interested, here at Mona, in our compulsion as a species to make art—even (and, perhaps, even more so) when that compulsion calls into question authorised histories of art. Our current exhibition, The Museum of Everything, explores this very idea and dovetails with Seers’ almost documentary interest in Kelly.
As you enter the gallery, Kelly’s paintings hang on the walls, displaying scenes of Queenstown rich with religious fervour and Catholic iconography. Take some time. Enter the iron hut, sit down and there, via a film, you will hear Kelly speak, see the interior of his home and begin to construct your own portrait of the man behind the paintings.
Curated by Olivier Varenne
Suffering was commissioned by and presented at The Unconformity in Queenstown, 2016
Header image: Suffering (installation view), 2016, Lindsay Seers