Monash University Toggle Search

Shelley Lasica: WHEN I AM NOT THERE

16–27 August 2022
Tue–Fri: 10am–5pm
Sat: 12–5pm
The performance will happen for the duration of the museum's opening hours

22 May – 4 June 2023 
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

Luke Fryer
Timothy Harvey
Rebecca Jensen
Shelley Lasica
Megan Payne
Oliver Saraviego
Lana Špracjer

Creative producer:
Zoe Theodore

Lisa Radford
Colby Vexler

Sound score:
François Tétaz

Contributing artists:
Kara Baker
Tony Clark
Belinda Hellier
Robyn McKenzie
Anne-Marie May
Callum Morton
Richard Nylon
Shio Otani
Fiona Scanlan
Jacqui Shelton
Kathy Temin

Commissioning curator (Monash University Museum of Art) 2022:
Hannah Mathews

Curator (Art Gallery Of New South Wales) 2023:
Lisa Catt

The work of Shelley Lasica reveals a sustained exploration of dance, movement and the varying contexts in which they can occur. WHEN I AM NOT THERE provides an important occasion to reflect on forty years of Lasica’s choreographic practice and will be the first exhibition of its kind in Australia. Curated by Hannah Mathews (Senior Curator, MUMA), the performance-exhibition WHEN I AM NOT THERE features a mise-en-scène comprising new and existing elements, including contributions from the artist’s long-term collaborators and a new ensemble work commissioned for the occasion and performed live for the duration of the gallery’s opening hours. The 2021 recipient of an Australia Council Dance Fellowship, Melbourne-based Lasica is developing this new work with a team of ten other artists, including LJ Connolly-Hiatt, Luke Fryer, Timothy Harvey, Rebecca Jensen, Megan Payne, Lisa Radford, Lana Šprajcer, Oliver Savariego, François Tétaz & and Colby Vexler.

The performance-exhibition will also present components from Lasica’s archive of earlier works, including costuming, objects, soundscapes and text. Consolidating ideas and experiments that Lasica has been developing throughout her career, WHEN I AM NOT THERE will contribute to discussions around choreography in the gallery space and activate the tension between what it means ‘to perform’ and ‘to exhibit’.

Shelley Lasica: WHEN I AM NOT THERE is realised as part of Precarious Movements: Choreography and the Museum, an ARC research project that involves the following partners: the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; MUMA, Melbourne; the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Tate, UK; and UNSW Sydney. It provides this overarching project with critical and situated research focused on the curation and practice of choreography in the museum environment.

WHEN I AM NOT THERE is accompanied by a substantial monograph featuring new writing from Erin Brannigan, Justin Clemens, Claudia La Rocco, Robyn McKenzie and Zoe Theodore. Positioning Lasica’s oeuvre within Australian contemporary practice as well as international contexts, it will be the first monograph published on an Australian choreographer. A comprehensive account of Lasica’s performance and exhibition history and extensive documentation drawn from her archive will be presented alongside the commissioned texts.

Access: The performance and exhibition take place in MUMA's ground-floor galleries and there will be between four to eight dancers performing quietly in the galleries at any one time during our opening hours. Visitors may position themselves anywhere in the galleries. There is sound playing across all galleries that ranges from low to medium volume and abstract to orchestral sound with a few moments of crescendo. The exhibition contains three videos with no sound. Access the Room Sheet in advance by clicking on the links underneath 'Resources'. Audio-described tours can be arranged on request for visitors who are blind or have low vision, with sighted companions and guide dogs welcome. Contact reception on 03 9905 4217 or

Identity: Art direction by Stuart Geddes and Žiga Testen

Shelley Lasica: WHEN I AM NOT THERE

Pre-order paperback $49

Related Programs


Shelley Lasica: WHEN I AM NOT THERE is co-commissioned by Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council and the Art Gallery of New South Wales support partner Atelier.