This education resource developed by Adelaide Contemporary Experimental in collaboration with the Art Gallery of South Australia introduces you to the world of contemporary art. Learn more about where artists get their inspiration from, the engines of contemporary art making processes and how this can be translated into a classroom context – shifting the balance from outcome to an idea-driven focus.

Who is Adelaide Contemporary Experimental ?

Located in Adelaide’s iconic Lion Arts Centre precinct, Adelaide Contemporary Experimental (ACE) is South Australia’s leading independent contemporary visual arts organisation, proudly supporting artists to develop and present work on Kaurna Yarta (Kaurna Country).

Established through the merger of Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia (CACSA) and the  Australian Experimental Art Foundation (AEAF) in 2017, ACE builds upon the legacy of over 100 years of innovative experimental arts practice in South Australia.
Through exhibitions, studios, public programs, professional development opportunities and publications, ACE expands the edges of contemporary visual art practice, embraces diversity and provides a space for artists to take risks.

Tracey Emin, Britain, born 1963, Save Me, 2018, London, neon, 48.0 x 122.0 cm; Gift of Peggy Barker, Dianne Finnegan, David McKee AO, Pam McKee, Jill Russell and Tracey Whiting through the Art Gallery of South Australia Foundation Collectors Club 2018, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Tracey Emin/Copyright Agency.

What is contemporary art?

Learn about artists and their practice

Margaret Dodd, Australia, born 1941, Clay Glen, Australia, born 1961, Bridal Holden, from the series This Woman is Not a Car, 2017, Adelaide, inkjet pigment print on paper, 36.5 x 55.0 cm (image), 42.4 x 61.1 cm (sheet); Lorraine Hossack Fund through the Art Gallery of South Australia Foundation 2019, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Margaret Dodd/Clay Glen/Copyright Agency.

Seven Engines of Contemporary Art

A framework for understanding contemporary art

detail: Chiharu Shiota, Japan, born 1972, Absence Embodied, 2018, Berlin and Adelaide, red wool, bronze, plaster, dimensions variable; Gift of the Gwinnett family through the Art Gallery of South Australia Foundation 2018, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery, installation view: Absence Embodied, 2018, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, photo: Saul Steed.

Five Definitions of Contemporary art

Artists are future proofers

installation view: 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres featuring Once bitten, twice shy by Mark Valenzuela, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide;; photo: Saul Steed.

Artists in Focus

Featuring Kate Bohunnis and Mark Valenzuela

The Gallery’s Learning programs are supported by the Department for Education.

This education resource has been developed in collaboration with Adelaide Contemporary Experimental and the Art Gallery of South Australia. Written by Dr. Belinda Howden with contributions from Louise Dunn, Kylie Neagle and Dr. Lisa Slade.