23 September 2011


Adelaide-based artist Domenico de Clario has won The University of Queensland’s biennial National Artists’ Self-Portrait Prize 2011.

Competition judge Rhana Devenport, who is Director of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth, Aotearoa New Zealand will announce Mr de Clario’s win at a function at the UQ Art Museum this evening.

Before that time, Rhana Devenport and the exhibition curator Alison Kubler are available today from 11am for interviews and photographs.

Domenico de Clario’s work 2047 (The immortal) 2011 comprises six large paintings hung on differently coloured walls in a room, with six chairs facing each painting, in an installation that confronts six decades of the artist’s life.

The work examines the way a person could be said to be made up of different selves that change during a lifetime.

The artist describes his work as if “located inside a freshly painted living room, each of its four walls perhaps in turn painted red, blue, yellow and green” in which we witness “the gathering together of a series of cathartic moments, each characterising each decade”.

Such transformative moments, he says, affirm “a discreetly different self”, though the observer may mistakenly see “a coherently ongoing single self”.

Domenico de Clario was born in Trieste, Italy in 1947 and migrated to Australia with his parents in 1956 when he was nine years old.

Alongside his successful career as an artist, de Clario is Director of the Australian Experimental Art Foundation in Adelaide.

The artist is presently occupying the Australia Council Rome Studio, and is due back in Australia in early October.

A biography of the artist is below.

John Buckley of the artist’s representative gallery, John Buckley Gallery in Melbourne, will represent the artist at the opening this evening.

Another Adelaide-based artist Nicholas Folland has been named the winner of the “Install Crew Prize”.

Nicholas Folland’s Reclining nude 2011 is a light-filled crystal ‘branch’ laid on a timber plinth, accompanied by the soft sound of the artist snoring.

Mr Folland says that: “The crystal branch takes its tone from the expression ‘out like a log’,” with the illuminated form and sound becoming “a beacon to existence’.”

Twenty-five of Australia's most daring contemporary artists (23 if you count collaborative pieces as one artist) were in the running for the acquisitive prize, offered every two years.

Rhana Devenport is well-known in Brisbane for her work as Co-Curator and Senior Project Officer with the Asia-Pacific Triennial at the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art (1994–2004).

The 2011 prize will be on display at UQ Art Museum, St Lucia, from September 24 until February 12, 2012. Admission is free.

PUBLIC PROGRAMS: Saturday, September 24

10.30 am–11.30 am:
Alison Kubler in conversation with the judge Rhana Devenport

11.30 am–12.30 pm:
Artist talks by Louise Hearman, Nicholas Folland, Raquel Ormella and David Ray

Media: Dr Campbell Gray (07 3365 7952, campbell.gray@uq.edu.au) or Michele Helmrich (07 3346 8759, m.helmrich@uq.edu.au) at the UQ Art Museum, or Jan King at UQ Communications (07 3365 1120, j.king@uq.edu.au)

High resolution images of the winning art work, the captions and of judge Rhana Devenport with the winning art work are available at: http://omc.uq.edu.au/images/2011%20self%20portrait%20prize/UQ%20self%20portrait%20winner/

High-resolution images of a selection of finalists' works are available for download here.


Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan, James and Eleanor Avery, John Barbour, Polly Borland, Daniel Boyd, Eric Bridgeman, Dadang Christanto, Daniel Crooks, Domenico de Clario Michael Doolan, Cherine Fahd, Nicholas Folland, Louise Hearman, Narelle Jubelin, Laith McGregor, Noel McKenna, Tim McMonagle, Kate Murphy, Raquel Ormella, David Ray, Joan Ross, Rebecca Smith and Grant Stevens

Winner of The University of Queensland National Artists’ Self-Portrait Prize 2011

Domenico de Clario - Biography

Domenico de Clario was born in Trieste, Italy, in 1947 and migrated to Australia with his family in 1956.

He studied Architecture at the University of Melbourne, and in 1967 he was awarded an Italian Government Scholarship to study in art academies in Milan and Urbino, Italy. In 1998 he was awarded an MA from Victoria University, Melbourne, and in 2001 a PhD from the same University. This PhD project focused on the translation of Italo Calvino’s novel Invisible Cities into a vast sound/ performance work lasting 56 evenings.

From 1973 until 1996 he taught in the School of Art at Preston Institute of Technology (RMIT), and from 2001 until 2006 he was Head of the School of Contemporary Arts, Edith Cowan University, Perth. From 2006 until 2008 he was Head of Department of Fine Arts at Monash University. In December 2008 he was appointed Director of the Australian Experimental Art Foundation in Adelaide.

Since 1966 de Clario has held more than 170 solo exhibitions of paintings, drawings, prints, installations and sound performances, and has exhibited in numerous Australian and international group exhibitions. His many international/national residencies and grants include the Australia Council Fellowship (1996–98). His work is included in major public and private collections in Australia and worldwide, including MOMA in New York.

A longer CV is available at http://www.johnbuckleygallery.com/index.php/de-clario-artist-menu.

Judge Rhana Devenport’s statement on the winning work:

Domenico de Clario

Born 1947 Triese, Italy.
Lives and works in Adelaide, South Australia.

2047 (The immortal) 2011
mixed media on canvas and found chairs
Courtesy of the artist and John Buckley Gallery, Melbourne.
Photo: Carl Warner

Winner of The University of Queensland National Artists’ Self-Portrait Prize 2011

Domenico de Clario's work 2047 (The immortal) is a deeply considered and complex meditation on memory and mortality. Taking poignant moments from each decade of his own life since 1947 and projecting possible moments into an imaginary future, de Clario coalesces 100 years of a life lived. Each decade is marked with a painting and a chair from which it could be viewed. These elements are presented in a vividly painted room that itself recalls the artist's overpowering first encounter – via his own father's hand at aged ten – with 'modern art'. 2047 (The immortal) explores, in the artist's own words, 'how paradoxical ideas about risk and failure and expectation can be negotiated in one's life'. The self constantly evolves in a never-ending circular quest, and 'momentariness' hones our experiences, memories and sense of self. As always in de Clario's work, European literature infiltrates and informs his questions, this new and vast constellation of thoughts and painted forms registers an unveiling and a revealing of human sensitivity.

Rhana Devenport, Judge for The University of Queensland National Artists’ Self-Portrait Prize