Fiona Hall (b. 1953) lives and works in Adelaide. She studied at the National Art School, Sydney (Painting Diploma, 1972–75), and at the Visual Studies Workshop, New York (MFA Photography, 1979–82). Hall works across a broad range of media including painting, photography, sculpture and installation, often employing forms of museological display.
Hall’s works transform ordinary materials into organic forms with both a historical and contemporary relevance. She uses materials such as soap, currency, packaging and soft-drink cans to produce objects modelled after natural forms. These objects, which are sometimes collected in museum-style glass cases, are characterised by their intricate construction and thematic resonance with issues of globalisation, ecology and natural history. Hall explores the boundaries between the natural and the man-made, subtly and sometimes ironically reflecting on issues of taxonomy, collection, endangerment and extinction.
In Fiona Hall’s 2011 exhibition at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Shot Through, she showed the first instalment of the macabre trophy menagerie which went on to be exhibited at Documenta 13 (2012). Hall’s wall-mounted animals suggest a 21st century hunter’s den: the Californian Condor, Australian Night Parrot, French Dragon Fly, Japanese Cat, Mexican Axolotl, New Zealand Kakapo are all camouflaged, as in nature, in the military uniform de jour.
Hall has been included in many important group exhibitions and biennales over the past two decades including: The Biennale of Sydney (2000, 2010); The Third Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Russia (2009); DeOverkant/Downunder, Den Haag Sculpture 2007, the Netherlands; Prism: Contemporary Australian Art at the Bridgestone Museum, Tokyo (2006); Fieldwork: Australian Art 1968–2002 at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2002); and Perspecta at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (1997). A retrospective of Fiona Hall’s work was held by Queensland Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of South Australia in 2005 and in 2008 the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney held a survey exhibition of her work, Fiona Hall: Force Field, which toured to the City Gallery in Wellington, New Zealand.
Fiona Hall’s work has been collected in depth by the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide and the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane. In 2011, she was the recipient of the Artist Award from the Melbourne Art Foundation for her contribution to art in Australia.