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4 April - 10 June 2006

Curator: Geraldine Barlow

Artists: Moataz Nasr, Tom Nicholson, Markus Schinwald.

Texts: Geraldine Barlow, Max Delany, Michael Janover, Carla Lipsig-Mummé, Graeme Smith

Ghosts of self and state reflects on the construction of history, and the potential for agency in contemporary society. It asks, “To what degree do the state and self mirror each other in their construction? If the soul is the ghost in the machine that is the individual, is there an elusive soul-like space within the mechanism of the state?”

In a collection of powerful and elegiac works, artists Moataz Nasr (Cairo), Tom Nicholson (Melbourne) and Markus Schinwald (Berlin/Vienna) consider the relationship between the personal and the political, between autonomy and identification with a group, as well as the persistence of memory – its fragility, recurrence, and passage into myth. Through the use of the motifs of the mask, the actor, the storyteller and the puppet the artworks in the exhibition study the public and private faces adopted by the citizen and the state, the individual and the body politic.

By restaging and repeating fragments from the past, Curator, Geraldine Barlow suggests:

"Each artist frames an impossibly extended moment, beneath which historical trauma drags like a ghostnet haunting the depths of the ocean – the impact of war, of colonial authority, and a community’s loss of its children. In each of these works, the artists offer visions of possible ghosts of self, of the selves we might be or become. Such echoes gather the past before us, and ask what our role will be: as an audience, as autonomous reflective beings and as agents in the world."

Monash University Museum of Art are delighted to welcome Egyptian artist Moataz Nasr to Melbourne to participate in Ghosts of self and state.

Public Programs:

  • Artist and curator talk: Geraldine Barlow and Moataz Nasr, Wednesday 5 April
  • Artist talk: Tom Nicholson, Wednesday 10 May

Exhibition Resources:

Media Kit

Exhibition Catalogue:

Ghost of Self and State: Moataz Nasr, Tom Nicholson, Markus Schinwald. Purchase via MUMA shop.

in Exhibitions