Fiona Hall

Australia 1953

Installation, Sculpture

Fiona Hall
Fiona Hall
October 16, 2016
Alias of Jasmina Sevic, a researcher and author for Widewalls. She graduated from the Faculty of Political Science (Department for Journalism) in Belgrade in 2013.

Working in a wide range of media covering photography, painting, sculpture and installation, Fiona Hall is one of Australia’s most respected and prominent contemporary artists. She examines the notions of topics such as the process of globalization, history and interaction between humans and their natural environment – perhaps best incorporated in her trophy-like, military-camouflaged sculptures of threatened or endangered species. Through her rich and prolific career spanning over four decades, Hall has exhibited her work in numerous individual and collective shows including Documenta 13, the Biennale of Sydney and the Moscow Biennale. In 2015, the Australian multidisciplinary artist represented her country at the 56th Venice Biennale, with an exhibition called Wrong Way Time and composed of about 800 objects.

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Fiona Hall – Castles in the Air of the Cave-Dwellers, 2008, resin, 12 objects, various dimensions

Background and Early Works

Born in 1953 in Sydney, New South Wales, Fiona Hall grew up in a very supportive family – her mother Ruby Payne-Scott, an Australian pioneer in radiophysics and radio astronomy, and father William Holman Hall, a telephone technician, encouraged her leaning toward the arts since an early age. At age 14, Hall’s mother took her to see Two Decades of American Painting show at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, which developed her interest in art. She studied at the National Art School between 1972 and 1975. Although Hall obtained a diploma in painting, she was drawn to photography. With the support of John Firth-Smith, a celebrated abstract painter and Hall’s painting teacher, she experimented with photography and studied it as a minor under the tutelage of George Schwarz. She exhibited her early photographs publicly for the first time at the age of 21. It was group show entitled Thoughts and Images: An Exploratory Exhibition of Australian Student Photograph at Ewing and George Paton Galleries, Melbourne in 1974. Just upon graduating in 1975, Hall exhibited her oeuvre as a part of Six Australian Women Photographers at the Australian Centre of Photography in Sydney and the National Gallery of Victoria. The same year, she relocated to the United Kingdom where she worked as an assistant to Fay Godwin, a famous English photographer. She had her debut one-man show at London’s Creative Camera Gallery in 1977. In 1982, she obtained her Master of Fine Arts in Photography from the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York and moved back to Australia.[1]

She exhibited her early artworks publicly for the first time at the age of 21

Fiona Hall life
Fiona Hall – Mourning Chorus, 2007

Paradisus Terrestris

Although the Australian artist first came to prominence as a photographer, she has extended into diverse media like sculpture, installation and garden design. In the later 1980s, Hall achieved great acclaim with Paradisus Terrestris, a series of amazing works fashioned from sardine cans, of botanical specimens juxtaposed with erotic vignettes and body fragments. While standing above these are botanically correct representations of native flora, one can see meticulously created suggestive equivalents of the anatomical details below. The series was exhibited at the Art Gallery of South Australia as part of the Adelaide Biennial of Contemporary Art.

Hall achieved great acclaim with Paradisus Terrestris series

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Fiona Hall – Paradisus Terestris series, 1989-90

The Art of Fiona Hall

In the following years, Fiona Hall has offered fresh perspectives on a myriad of complex issues of contemporary era. These include histories of language, colonization and trade, as well as the relationship between man and nature and cultural aspects. She explores the history of the objects, the language we use to describe them, or their place in the contemporary world creating stunning piece of art that have the ability to change our views of mundane items. Hall’s practice includes major public commissions and projects that have increasingly engaged with themes of ecology, history and the effects of globalization.

Hall has offered fresh perspectives on a myriad of complex issues of contemporary age

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Fiona Hall – 21st Century Man, 2011, US Dollars, Series of 25 unique works, installation view

Raising Awareness of Endangered Species

At the heart of the artist’s oeuvre lies her preoccupation with the natural world—with all its beauty and grotesquery, power and helplessness, secrets and revelation. This preoccupation has been influential in shaping anchoring points for Hall’s practice: how humankind and nature interrelate, and, by extension, how nature sits in relation to culture. In Fall Prey, an installation created for dOCUMENTA 13 in Germany in 2012, Hall’s focus was on environmental degradation, the endangered or critically threatened species and the deterioration of our environments. The piece presented a menagerie of “trophies” of species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources’ Red List, and as the title suggests, these creatures have fallen prey and humankind is the predator.[2]

Fall Prey installation was exhibited at dOCUMENTA 13

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Fiona Hall – Big Game Hunting, exhibition at Heide Museum of Modern Art, 2013

Wrong Way Time at the 56th Venice Biennale

In 2015, Fiona Hall was chosen as the first artist to represent Australia at the newly built Australian Pavillion at the Venice Biennale. Entitled Wrong Way Time, the installation featured 1000 works in a sort of a “cabinet of curiosities”, a project which examined global politics, world finances, and the environment. Having more diversity of materials than she has ever used previously, every piece in this colossal installation carried its weight. Camouflage garments, newspapers, found things, old-fashioned clocks, cooking pots – they all brought along their own context and gave the work their conceptual reading within the material. Her lifelong passion for the natural environment can be intensely felt in works that respond to our persistent role in its demise, or the perilous state of various animals, insects and plants.[3]

Wrong Way Time featured 1000 works in a sort of a “cabinet of curiosities”

exhibition at australian pavillion at the 56th venice biennale
Fiona Hall – All The King s Men, part of Wrong Way Time exhibition, Australian Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2015

Leading Australian Contemporary Artist

Over the years, the Adelaide-based photographer, sculptor and installation artist became one of the most influential, critically acclaimed artists working today. Her work has been included in over 150 important solo and group exhibitions at such places as Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, New York, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New Zealand, Bridgestone Museum, Tokyo, Japan and Gallery 706, Colombo, Sri Lanka. In 2016, her work was on display at National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Her oeuvre is included in collections of National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne and many other. Although she has gained international recognition as one of the top Australian artists, Hall doesn’t stop there but continues to investigate issues ranging from consumption, politics and trade to the environment, nature, paradise and the body.[4]

Fiona Hall lives and works in Adelaide, Australia.


  1. Spruyt, T. (2009), Fiona Hall, Design & Art Australia Online [October 10, 2016]
  2. Anonymous (2013), Fiona Hall – Big Game Hunting, Heide Museum of Art [October 16, 2016]
  3. Anonymous (2015), Fiona Hall, Australia Council for the Arts [October 16, 2016]
  4. Anonymous (2016), Fiona Hall, Australian Government [October, 16, 2016]

Featured image: Fiona Hall in front of her art, photo via
All other images copyright of Fiona Hall and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery

YearExhibition TitleMuseum/GallerySolo/Group
2016All the King's MenArt Gallery of South Australia, AdelaideSolo
2016Wrong Way TimeNational Gallery of Australia, CanberraSolo
2016Today Tomorrow YesterdayMuseum of Contemporary Art, AustraliaGroup
2016Best in ShowOrange Regional Gallery, New South WalesGroup
2016The Nest, an exhibition of art in natureKatonah Museum of Art, Katonah, New YorkGroup
2016Creative AccountingUQ Art Museum, University of Queensland, BrisbaneGroup
2015Wrong Way Time, 56th Venice BiennaleVenice, ItalySolo
2014VeneerRoslyn Oxley9 Gallery, SydneySolo
2014TarraWarra Biennale: Whisper in my MaskTarraWarra Museum of Art, TarraWarraGroup
2014Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014: Whorled ExplorationsKochi, Kerala, IndiaGroup
2014Dark Heart, 2014 Adelaide Biennial of Australian ArtArt Gallery of South Australia, AdelaideGroup
2013Big Game HuntingHeide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, AustraliaSolo
2013VeneerTwo Rooms, AucklandSolo
2013AustraliaRoyal Academy of Arts, LondonGroup
2013New 2013: Selected Recent AcquisitionsUniversity of Queensland Art Museum, BrisbaneGroup
2013Mythopoetic: Women artists from Australia and IndiGriffith University, QueenslandGroup
2012Documenta 13Kassel, GermanyGroup
2012ANIMAL-HUMANUniversity of Queensland Art Museum, BrisbaneGroup
2012Contemporary Australia: WomenQueensland Art GalleryGroup
2012Kermadec: Nine Artists Explore the South PacificTauranga Art Gallery, New ZealandGroup
2011Shot ThroughRoslyn Oxley9 Gallery, SydneySolo
2011Destiny Deacon, Fiona Hall, Bill Henson, Tracey Moffatt, TV Moore, Julie Rrap, Anne ZahalkaRoslyn Oxley9 Gallery, SydneyGroup
2010True StoryRoslyn Oxley9 Gallery, SydneyGroup
2009Fiona Hall, Force FieldGovett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New ZealandSolo
2009The Third Moscow Biennale of Contemporary ArtMoscowGroup
2009EcologiesLismore Regional Gallery, Lismore, New South WalesGroup
2008Fiona Hall, Force FieldChristchurch Art Gallery, New ZealandSolo
2008Fiona Hall, Force FieldCity Gallery Wellington, New ZealandSolo
2008Fiona Hall, Force FieldMuseum of Contemporary Art, SydneySolo
2008Uneasy: Recent South Australian ArtAnne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, AdelaideGroup
2007DeOverkant-Downunder, Den Haag Sculpture 2007NetherlandsGroup
2007Artist Makes Video, Art Rage Survey 1994-1998Griffith University, Queensland College of Art, BrisbaneGroup
2007Forty Eight Hours of Visual Arts, (FEHVA)Byron Bay, NSWGroup
2007New NatureGovett Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New ZealandGroup
2007Auckland TriennialAuckland, New ZealandGroup
2007Strange Cargo: Contemporary art as a state of encounterNewcastle Region Art GalleryGroup
2006Stolen RitualRoslyn Oxley9 Gallery, SydneyGroup
2006Multiplicity: Prints and Multiples from the collections of the MCA and the University of WollongongMuseum of Contemporary Art, SydneyGroup
2006Prism: Contemporary Australian ArtBridgestone Museum, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2006Earth CryLake Macquarie City Art Gallery, Booragul, New South WalesGroup
2006Contemporary CommonwealthIan Potter Centre: National Gallery of Victoria, MelbourneGroup
2005Fiona HallRoslyn Oxley9 Gallery, SydneySolo
2005Fiona HallQueensland Art Gallery, BrisbaneSolo
2005So so (1995) installationCoffs Harbour City GallerySolo
2005Strangely Familiar, with Fiona MacDonaldUniversity of Technology Sydney GalleryGroup
2005Uncanny (the unnaturally strange)Artspace, AucklandGroup
2005After Van Gogh: Australian artists in homage to Vincent Mornington Peninsular Regional GalleryGroup
2005Unstrung: the bead in contemporary artLatrobe Regional Gallery, VictoriaGroup
2005MCA Collection: New Acquisitions in ContextMuseum of Contemporary Art, SydneyGroup
2005LappedCampbelltown Arts Centre, CampbelltownGroup
2004After Van Gogh: Australian Artists in Homage to VincentMornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Mornington, Victoria, AustraliaGroup
2004Material Girls and BoysDeloitte, March-June 2005Group
2004Living Together is EasyContemporary Art Centre, Art Tower Mito, Mito Arts Foundation, Mito-shi, JapanGroup
2004More Easily Imagined: Crossings of the Blue MountainsBathurst Regional Art Gallery, Bathurst, New South Wales, AustraliaGroup
2003Face Up: Contemporary Art from AustraliaMuseum for the Present, Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2003Tree TimeMuseum De Zonnehof, The NetherlandsGroup
2003Nature and Nation: Vaster than EmpiresHastings Museum & Art Gallery, Hastings Borough, UKGroup
2003Flagship: Australian Art in the National Gallery of Victoria, 1790 - 2000The Ian Potter Centre, National Gallery of Victoria, MelbourneGroup
2002Cell Culture and Leaf LitterRoslyn Oxley9 Gallery, SydneySolo
2002Fieldwork: Australian Art 1968 - 2002National Gallery of Victoria, Federation Square, MelbourneGroup
2002Lure of the Southern Seas: the Voyages of Dumont D'Urville 1826 - 1840Museum of Sydney, SydneyGroup
20022nd Sight Australian Photography in the National Gallery of VictoriaNational Gallery of Victoria, MelbourneGroup
2002The Dirty DozenRoslyn Oxley9 Gallery, SydneyGroup
2002The First Twenty YearsRoslyn Oxley9 Gallery, SydneyGroup
2002Converge: where art + science meet, 2002 Adelaide BiennialArt Gallery of South AustraliaGroup
2001Unpacking EuropeHaus de Kulturen de Welt,Berlin, GermanyGroup
2001UnknownMuseum Boijmans Van Beuningen, RotterdamGroup
2001DesireRMIT Gallery, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, MelbourneGroup
2001The Art of TransformationNational Gallery of Australia, CanberraGroup
2000Federation: Australian Art and Society 1901-2001National Gallery of Australia, CanberraGroup
2000Biennale of SydneyArt Gallery of New South WalesGroup
2000Terra MirabilisWonderful Land, Centre for Visual Arts, Cardiff, WalesGroup
2000Chemistry: Art in South Australia 1990-2000Art Gallery of South Australia, AdelaideGroup
2000Mirror with a Memory: A History of the Photographic Portrait in AustraliaNational Portrait Gallery, CanberraGroup
2000All Stars 2000Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, SydneyGroup
2000The Sydney Sculpture WalkMrs Macquarie's Chair, SydneyGroup
1999FieldworkRoslyn Oxley9 Gallery, SydneySolo
1999A Transit through ParadiseGallery 706, Colombo, Sri LankaSolo
1999New Republics: Contemporary Art from Australia, Canada and South AfricaCanada House Gallery, LondonGroup
1999Signature WorksAustralian Centre for Photography, SydneyGroup
1999Clemenger Art AwardMuseum of Modern Art, Heide, MelbourneGroup
1999Tensions, Griffith ArtworksGriffith University, QueenslandGroup
1999UnknownTasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, HobartGroup
1998Global Liquidity (with Nalini Malani)Gallery Chemould, Bombay, IndiaSolo
1998Cash CropInstitute of Modern Art, Brisbane, AustraliaSolo
1998Every Other DayRoslyn Oxley9 Gallery, SydneyGroup
1997Fiona HallCanberra School of Art, Canberra, AustraliaSolo
1997Contempora5National Gallery of VictoriaGroup
1997The Enigmatic ObjectArt Gallery of New South WalesGroup
1997PerspectaArt Gallery of New South WalesGroup
1997Group ShowRoslyn Oxley9 Gallery, SydneyGroup
1997Archives and the EverydayANU Canberra School of Art GalleryGroup
1996Call of Nature, Lana H. FoilRoslyn Oxley9 Gallery, SydneySolo
1996The Power To Move; Aspects of Australian PhotographyQueensland Art Gallery, BrisbaneGroup
199696 Containers, Adelaide Festival of the ArtsAdelaideGroup
1996DeathLewers Bequest and Penrith Regional Art GalleryGroup
1996How Say YouAustralian Centre for Contemporary Art, MelbourneGroup
1996InheritanceAustralian Centre for Photography, SydneyGroup
1996Colonial-Post ColonialMuseum of Modern Art at Heide, MelbourneGroup
1996Container 96 - Art Across OceansCopenhagenGroup
1996Asia Pacific TriennaleQueensland Art GalleryGroup
1996Photography is Dead! Long Live Photography! Museum of Contemporary ArtGroup
1996Art Cologne Internationaler KunstmarktKoln Messe, GermanyGroup
1995The Price is RightRoslyn Oxley9 Gallery, SydneySolo
1995The Object of ExistenceAustralian Centre for Contemporary Art, MelbourneGroup
1994Garden of Earthly DelightsNational Gallery of Australia, CanberraSolo
1994Biodata, Adelaide InstallationsAdelaide FestivalGroup
1994FaniaUniversity of South Australia Art MuseumGroup
1994Localities of DesireMuseum of Contemporary Art, SydneyGroup
1994Sydney PhotographedMuseum of Contemporary Art SydneyGroup
1993Dante in AustraliaDante Centre, Ravenna, ItalyGroup
1992Adelaide Festival Artists' ProjectsFestival Centre, AdelaideGroup
1992The Temple of FloraWaverley City Gallery, MelbourneGroup
1991PhotodeathAustralian National Gallery, CanberraGroup
1991The Corporeal BodyDrill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, CanberraGroup
1991Australian PerspectaArt Gallery of New South Wales, SydneyGroup
1991Stranger than FictionAustralian National Gallery, CanberraGroup
1991Second NatureP3 Art and Environment, Tokyo, JapanGroup
1990Fiona Hall, WordsContemporary Art Centre of South Australia, AdelaideSolo
1990Harbour Hymns, City SongsArt Gallery of New South Wales, SydneyGroup
1990Adelaide Biennial of Australian ArtArt Gallery of South Australia, AdelaideGroup
1990Art Contemporain AustralienNoumea, New CaledoniaGroup
1990Photography: Recent AcquisitionsAustralian National Gallery, CanberraGroup
1990Fragmentation and Fabrication: Recent Australian PhotographyArt Gallery of South Australia, AdelaideGroup
1990Terminal GardenExperimental Art Foundation, AdelaideGroup
1990Twenty Contemporary Australian PhotographersNational Gallery of Victoria, MelbourneGroup
1989Illustration to Dante's Divine ComedyAustralian Centre for Photography, SydneySolo
1989From the Sublime to the SordidExperimental Art Foundation, AdelaideGroup
1988South Australia RephotographedCollege Gallery, South Australian School of Art, AdelaideGroup
1988Recent South Australian ArtNew Acquisitions Art Gallery of South Australia, AdelaideGroup
1988Australian Photography 1928-1988Garry Anderson Gallery, SydneyGroup
1988Australian Photography: the 1980'sAustralian National Gallery, CanberraGroup
1987Selections from 14 Years Fiona HallExperimental Art Foundation, AdelaideSolo
1987Constructed Images: Photographs of Parliament HouseThe Drill Hall Gallery, CanberraGroup
1987What is The Thing Called Science? Melbourne University Gallery, MelbourneGroup
1987Pure InventionParco Space 5, Tokyo JapanGroup
1987UnknownCentre of South Australia, AdelaideGroup
1987Some Provincial Myths, Recent Art from AdelaideContemporary Art Centre of South Australia, AdelaideGroup
1986III III II: A Survey of Twelve Year WorkAustralian Centre for Photography, SydneySolo
1986The Gothic, Perversity and its PleasureInstitute of Modern Art, BrisbaneGroup
1985Gods, Demi-Gods and Demi-demi GodsThe Developed Image, AdelaideGroup
1985The Renegotiated Image: Excerpts from PerspectaExperimental Art Foundation, AdelaideGroup
1985Four PhotographersPhotographers Gallery, MelbourneGroup
1985In Full View. An Exhibition of 20 x 24 Polaroid PhotographsArt Gallery of New South Wales; Australian States ItineraryGroup
1985South Australian PhotographersArtists Space, MelbourneGroup
1985National Photographic ExhibitionAlbury Regional Art Centre, VictoriaGroup
1985Laughter in the Dark: Australian PerspectaArt Gallery of New South Wales, SydneyGroup
1985Common Ground - Personal IAdelaide Arts Centre, AdelaideGroup
1984Time Present and Time PastAustralian Centre for Photography, SydneyGroup
1984Interface: A Survey of Art and TechnologyCentre Gallery, AdelaideGroup
1983Fiona Hall, Recent WorkAustralian Centre for Photography, SydneySolo
1983Fiona Hall, Recent PhotographsThe Developed Image, AdelaideSolo
1983CSR Photography ProjectArt Gallery of New South Wales, SydneyGroup
1983A Decade of Australian PhotographyAustralian National Gallery, CanberraGroup
1982Fiona HallAustralian Centre for Photography, SydneySolo
1982Vision in Disbelief Biennale of SydneyArt Gallery of New South Wales, SydneyGroup
1982Contemporary Colour PhotographyNewcastle Regional Art Gallery, New South WalesGroup
1982New American PhotographsCalifornia State College, San Bernardo, California, United StatesGroup
1981Recent WorksAustralian Centre for Photography, SydneySolo
1981The Antipodean SuiteTasmanian School of Art Gallery, HobartSolo
1981Australian PerspectaArt Gallery of New South Wales, SydneyGroup
1981Fifteen Australian PhotographersAustralian Centre for Photography, SydneyGroup
1981Project 38: Re-constructed VisionArt Gallery of New South Wales, SydneyGroup
1981By ArrangementDBR Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio, United StatesGroup
1980Fiona Hall, David Blount, Brian ThompsonAustralian Centre for Photography, SydneyGroup
1978Eternal PresentTasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Travelling ExhibitionGroup
1978UnknownChurch Street Photographic Centre, MelbourneGroup
1977UnknownCreative Camera Gallery, London, United KingdomGroup
1976UnknownGaleria Photographica Nadar, Pisa ItalyGroup
1975Six Australian Woman PhotographersAustralian Centre for Photography, SydneyGroup
1974Thoughts and Images: An Exploratory Exhibition of Australian Student PhotographyEwing and George Paton Galleries, MelbourneGroup