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Peter Graham

Thin Skin

20 July – 23 September 2023

Guest curator:
Jennifer Higgie

Mamma Andersson (SE), Michael Armitage (KE/GB), Paul Becker (GB), Gordon Bennett (AU), Karen Black (AU), Mia Boe (Butchulla-Burmese/AU), Lisa Brice (ZA/GB), Mitch Cairns (AU), David Egan (AU), Tracey Emin (GB), Denzil Forrester (GD/GB), Peter Graham (AU), Ellen Gronemeyer (DE), Brent Harris (NZ/AU), Tamara Henderson (CA/AU), Donna Huddleston (IE/AU/GB), Dorota Jurczak (PL), Tom Kreisler (AR/NZ), Tala Madani (IR/US), Helen Maudsley (AU), Nick Modrzewski (AU), Sidney Nolan (AU/GB), David Noonan (AU/GB), Jennifer Packer (US), Jem Perucchini (ET/IT), Rosslynd Piggott (AU), Tom Polo (AU), Gareth Sansom (AU), Kieren Seymour (GB/AU), Vivienne Shark LeWitt (AU), John Spiteri (AU), Jelena Telecki (HR/AU), Michelle Ussher (AU/GB), Jenny Watson (AU), Rose Wylie (GB) and Ms D. Yunupiŋu (Gumatj-Rirratjiŋu/AU).

Thin Skin is an exhibition of paintings by Australian and international artists who explore the liminal space between figuration and abstraction. Guest curated by Australian, London-based writer, curator and former editor of frieze magazine, Jennifer Higgie, it will feature works by more than thirty artists.

As a term, ‘thin skin’ is joyfully ambiguous. Thin Skin refers not only to the delicate membrane that separates body, mind and environment, but to other borders: thresholds between reason and unreason, wisdom and foolishness, life and death, the conscious and unconscious, laughter and weeping. To have ‘thin skin’ is to be hypersensitive to the world around you. Paint is a thin skin on a surface.

Some of the artists selected for Thin Skin employ absurdity, slapstick, parody, caricature and/or dreamlike logic to explore themselves and their place in the world. Others depict bodies in rich, often intertwined, conversations with the psyche, the land, domestic or work environments and with animals. Thin Skin also embraces the idea of ‘thin places’, an ancient term of mysterious provenance that refers to locations with a unique or peculiar energy. They are places that attract spirits; they appear when the distance between earth and heaven narrows. In Thin Skin, the ephemeral is made tangible.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring new writing by Jennifer Higgie and Chloe Aridjis, award-winning Mexican-American novelist and writer. It will be co-published by MUMA and Monash University Publishing and launched at the exhibition opening.

Thin Skin is accompanied by an immersive soundscape composed by Australian musical artists Suzie Higgie and Tim Oxley, that responds directly to the exhibition's artworks, themes and curatorial concerns.

Access information:
  • Physical access: MUMA is a ground floor, wheelchair accessible gallery with accessible and all gender bathrooms. Gallery spaces are lit well and on a level surface. Get in touch if you'd like a parking map or further information.
  • What to expect: This is a painting exhibition with a specially designed immersive soundscape.
  • Relaxed hours: Visit during 10am–12pm on Fridays, when there are fewer people and the sound is turned off.
  • Visually described tours: Get in touch by email to or phone 03 9905 4217 to make an appointment for a visually described tour (for blind or low vision visitors).
  • Wall labels: Download a PDF of the wall labels before your visit to learn more about the artworks (see link below under 'Resources').

Image: Peter Graham, A Cave in the Mind of a Shadow: My Memory of Looking upon Mantegna’s Rescue of Lost Souls from Limbo 2023, oil and polymer paint on canvas, 176 × 202 cm, courtesy of the artist. Photo: Christian Capurro

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AUDIO: Thin Skin

An immersive soundscape composed by Australian musical artists Suzie Higgie and Tim Oxley.