Drawn entirely from the Museum’s Collection, Today Tomorrow Yesterday considers the impact of the past and the influence of history on artistic practice today. From contemporary interpretations of ancestral stories to the continuing effects of early to mid-twentieth-century avant-garde ideas, each room presents a different perspective on the history of the present.
The title, Today Tomorrow Yesterday, is an adaptation drawn from The Prophet, a book of 26 prose poetry essays by the Lebanese artist, philosopher and writer Kahlil Gibran. He wrote: “…yesterday is but to-day’s memory, and to-morrow is to-day’s dream”. As well as reflecting on the passing of time, the title refers metaphorically to the museum’s challenging role in shaping a collection of contemporary Australian art that is simultaneously of its moment and hinged to history. The title and exhibition reference the circular, timeless wonderment of today tomorrow and yesterday celebrating artists deep and ongoing interest in different social, political, cultural and aesthetic histories.
Above all, this exhibition symbolises the guiding principles of the MCA Collection. It is focused on contemporary practices by Australian and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, embraces all media and is motivated by a respect for the creative process and vision of today’s artists. Including work by more than forty artists from the 1960s to the present, recent acquisitions and a number of new commissions, Today Tomorrow Yesterday tells the story of the ever-evolving nature of contemporary art.