BalletLab McMahon Contemporary Art Award
Established in 2016, the $12,000 invitation-only BMCAA is awarded annually to a contemporary artist who demonstrates a commitment to brave, innovative and transitional practice that contests the boundaries of contemporary art in new ways.

The BalletLab McMahon Contemporary Art Award (BMCAA) provides a valuable opportunity for one outstanding Victorian artist to progress their practice through the creation of a new work inspired by and exhibited at the magnificent new home of Phillip Adams BalletLab, Temperance Hall, generously supported by Dr Marcus McMahon. Established in 2017, the award marks the establishment of PABL at this significant historic site. The BMCAA contributes to a program of ambitious and dynamic multi-disciplinary arts events honouring our organisation's mission to be the leading interdisciplinary space for contemporary arts practice, where the body is central. 

“Phillip Adams BalletLab has a rich history of collaboration with artists from a broad range of artistic disciplines making them, the perfect partner for an award such as this. I am hopeful that the BMCAA will help to foster the development of an amazing contemporary artist, and in doing so, support the next generation of artists that will be the lifeblood of our artistic community for years to come.”  Dr Marcus McMahon.

Max Delaney, Director of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) was the inaugural BMCAA Judge in 2017. In 2018, Max Delaney continued on as Co-Judge with Natalie King, Curator of Tracey Moffatt, Australia Pavillion at Venice Biennale 2017 and Enterprise Professorial Fellow, Victorian College of the Arts.

The BMCAA shortlist changes annually and is selected by industry professionals.

2018: Chris Bond (Artist and 2017 BMCAA winner), Charlotte Day (Director, Monash University Museum of Art, Melinda Martin (Director, Linden New Art), Fleur Watson (Curator, Design Hub, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) and Temperance Hall and BalletLab Artistic Director, Phillip Adams and philanthropist Dr Marcus McMahon (shared seat)

2017: Serena Bentley (Assistant Curator, ACMI), Michael Brennan (Independent curator and Artist), Hannah Mathews (Curator, Monash University Museum of Art), Patrice Sharkey (Director, Westspace) and PABL Artistic Director, Phillip Adams with philanthropist, Dr Marcus McMahon (shared seat)

Top image courtesy: Gregory Lorenzutti.

Danae Valenza 2018

Danae Valenza is a Melbourne-based artist for whom music and collaboration is a major part of her art making. Valenza holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (First Class Honours) from Monash University and has exhibited extensively within Australia and overseas.

2018 Judges, Max Delaney and Natalie King decided to award the commission to Danae Valenza’s proposal, for its site-responsiveness, poetry and gravitas conflating the performative with the acoustic and sculptural.

"We were impressed by Danae’s conceptual trajectory that explores the dormant history of Temperance Hall, as a site of communication and reflection, and its architectonic decay. The work involves creating a sequence of suspended neon drawings in space, transposed from cracks in the building; her hovering light shapes triggered by audience movement. A reservoir of water occupies the floor, activated by floating, vulnerable participants, suspended in time, and accompanied by a thunderous percussive score. Exploring the vulnerability of performance, and the agency of the audience, Danae’s work encompasses a compelling sense of architectural memory, enlightenment and communion among citizens."

Images courtesy: Danae Valenza.

Chris Bond 2017

Chris Bond’s installations and paintings adopt the conventions of museum display to convey unlikely, often fantastic narratives and fabrications with closely worked detail in order to play with knowledge and perception. Bond studied Fine Art at RMIT in the mid-1990s and has exhibited since 2000. He undertook a studio residency at Gertrude Contemporary in 2001, and has since featured in numerous group and solo exhibitions including ACCA, Gertrude Contemporary, Centre for Contemporary Photography, NGV and Heide Museum of Modern Art amongst others.

Image above courtesy: Chris Bond. 

BalletLab McMahon Contemporary Art Award 2017 Exhibition

‘Congress: Chris Bond’

Thursday 23 August- 3 September, 2017
Temperance Hall, South Melbourne

The 2017 BMCAA shortlisted artists were Lane Cormick, Eric Demetriou, Ruth O’Leary and Lisa Radford (working with collaborator Sam George).