Candice Breitz's chief interest is in identity, namely how we play an active role in shaping and reshaping our own.
LOUISE BOURGEOIS: LATE WORKS
It's difficult to describe the sheer viscerality of the late Louise Bourgeois's anthropomorphic textile and steel sculptures. They are works that evoke and haunt like few others. Late Works, a collection of sculptures and drawings created in the final years of her long life, is one of the more powerful shows you'll see. Much of this comes down to her work's collision of materials and forms. Her partial, often severed bodies and heads are indelibly human in their prone, slung and hung gesture and form, and their rendering in textiles – perhaps the most domestic and nostalgic of materials – and quasi-industrial contraptions and devices imbues these hybrid forms with the most acute sense of intimacy, rupture and pain. This is familiarity, tactility, sensuality and trauma in one.
Tuesday to Sunday 10am-5pm, until March 11; Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen, $14, 9850 1500, heide.com.au
CANDICE BREITZ: THE CHARACTER
Despite her work's often playful, often humorous cadence, South African-born, Berlin-based video artist Candice Breitz tackles some rather pointed themes in this brilliant survey show at ACMI. Breitz's chief interest is in identity, namely how we play an active role in shaping and reshaping our own. She approaches the idea from a number of vantages, one of which is stardom and the film industry. In Him (1978–2008) and Her (1978–2008), Brietz reconstructs fragmentary footage of Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep to create a hilarious montage of techniques, twitches and tropes. Her incredible Factum (2009) series, meanwhile, sees split-screen interviews with identical twins, each of whom stake a disparate claim as to their identity, similarities and differences from one another. Her latest work, The Woods, gives a three-part insight into the movie business, including a mass audition for budding child actors. It is a telling, slightly disturbing, insight into identity as artifice.
Daily 10am–6pm, until March 11; Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Federation Square, city, 8663 2200, acmi.net.au
Ideas of transformation and mutation permeate this group show of Helen Gory Galerie stable artists. Petrina Hicks' two photographs recast a familiar, familial scenario – that of a young girl holding her pet cat – in a peculiar, almost alien light. All is normal enough, except the fact that the cat happens to be a pink, hairless sphynx. Jacky Stockdale's striking collages merge fragments of Frida Kahlo with the artist's own image, where C. J. Taylor's photo works render the still life bizarre, meticulously piecing together vibrant Australian foliage with fluorescent taxidermy blanks. Britt Salt's suite of three multilayered vinyl on clear acrylic works are a highlight. Marked with oblique clusters of geometric patterns, the works' formal qualities alter and buckle with every shift in vantage.
Last day Saturday, 11am–5pm; Helen Gory Galerie, 25 St Edmonds Road, Prahran, 9525 2808, helengory.com
Referring to that of an improvised path of travel, ACCA's comprehensive summer show, Desire Lines, approaches its theme both literally and laterally. Drawing on a host of multi-generational international and local artists – Bruce Nauman, Samuel Beckett, Tacita Dean, Richard Long and the brilliant Francis Alys included – it traces both the body and the mind's traversal of spaces, cities, landscapes and conceptual frameworks. There are some fantastic examples. Mel O'Callaghan's vastly scaled video work Endgame sees a slowly panning camera track the cavities of an architectural ruin as a host of protagonists perform ritualistic actions in and around the space. Dutch artist Paulien Oltheten's video Walk on a line (2008) is a fascinating study of social and spatial obedience in Japan, while local artist Charlie Sofo's clutch of videos and objects sidles suburban sensor lights, neighbourhood cats and street detritus to poetic effect.
Tuesday to Friday 10am–5pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am–6pm, until March 3; Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, 111 Sturt Street, Southbank, 9697 9999, accaonline.org.au