Mercy Street

Mercy Street is an exhibition that responds to the emotive public conversations concerning justice, punishment and fairness that take place in the media in the wake of tragedy. The polarised responses that often surface during such debates are rarely examined, yet can play a powerful political role in informing criminal legislation.

Art Exhibition previously on at 2010 Next Wave Festival in Melbourne precinct, Victoria, Australia.
From Saturday 15 May 2010 to Saturday 12 June 2010
Launch Friday 14 May 2010, 6:00PM

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Published by 2010 Next Wave Festival on Tuesday 20 April 2010.
Contact the publisher.

The exhibition takes its title from Anne Sexton’s 1976 poem 45 Mercy Street, which speaks of frustration, failure and forgiveness in the context of a personal history. These concepts operate both outside and inside the law, shadowing personal as well as public relationships. Mercy Street will explore how private understandings of mercy affect public decision-making and formalized ideas of justice.

The five artists included in the exhibition share an awareness of the precariousness of ethics and morality, inscribed into their works through aesthetic fragility, constant motion, and intermittence. In contrast to the bluntness of legislation, the works in the exhibition formalise emotion and address human frailty with compassion and flexibility. Ultimately, the exhibition is an elegy to those who have been able to show grace when revenge would be just as appropriate.

Mercy Street is the featured project of the Emerging Curator’s Program.

The Emerging Curator’s Program, presented by Next Wave in partnership with Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, provides professional development opportunities for emerging curators, and supports emerging artists in the production, presentation and publication of new work in a significant public context. Involving a formal mentorship with staff at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces that covers both the conceptual and practical development of an ambitious exhibition for the Next Wave Festival, the Emerging Curator’s Program enables new artistic viewpoints and curatorial positions to be realised.

Supporters: City of Yarra, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces.

Curator: Anusha Kenny