Darren Sylvester

Darren Sylvester's multi-disciplinary practice—across photography, sculpture music and installation—involves a wide-ranging assemblage of pop cultural references in both concept and medium. Each work presents much like a pop song, with polished arcs, direct and to the point, yet with levels of complexity that often reference life’s fragility and mortality. Sylvester’s photography, for example, feels instantly recognisable as it deftly moves through the familiar visual languages and methodologies of luxury branding, movie sets and other high-production commercial photoshoots.

Upon deeper contemplation, his works are infused with existential yearnings and desires, cutting through the advertising, entertainment and self-promotion so readily available and pointedly defining contemporary consumer culture. Sylvester transforms visual consumption into a direct yet layered discussion of collective ennui and pathos, while his ever-expanding use of materials and mediums creates a Gesamtkunstwerk (a total or overall singular work of art), that is equally wry and melancholic.

Sylvester has exhibited widely, nationally and internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Dear Diary’, Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney (2022); ‘Shoobie Doobie’, Neon Parc, Melbourne (2021); ‘Darren Sylvester: Carve a Future, Devour Everything, Become Something’ at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2019); and ‘Out of Life’, Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney (2018).

Other solo exhibitions include ‘Broken Model’, Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney (2016); ‘Darren Sylvester’, VOLTA NY, Soho, New York (2013); ‘Darren Sylvester – Take Me To You’, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), Singapore (2010); and his photographic survey exhibition ‘Our Future Was Ours’, Australia Centre for Photography, Sydney (2008).

Selected group exhibitions include the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: ‘Free/State’, Art Gallery of South Australia (2022); ‘The National’ Carriageworks, NSW (2021); ‘The Sculptural Body’, MUMA, Melbourne (2021); ‘Melbourne Now’, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2013); ‘NGV Studio: Wired for Melbourne Sound’, NGV, Melbourne (2013); ‘We used to talk about love: Balnaves Contemporary’, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2013).

His work is held in many public and private collections including the National Gallery of Australia (NGA), Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA), National Gallery of Victoria, (NGV), Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Sir Elton John Collection, Melbourne University Collection and Monash University Collection.

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