Hours of operation

an unreliable narrator
Consuelo Cavaniglia and Brenda Van Hek

3 August -
21 September 2019

Gertrude Contemporary

21-31 High St, Preston VIC 3072

River Capital Commission
Opening: Friday 2 August, 6-8pm

Gertrude Contemporary was pleased to announce the inaugural River Capital Commission, a new annual commissioning initiative, developed in partnership with and through the generous support of River Capital. This new partnership enables Gertrude to work with leading artists or collaboratives to commission a major new project to be presented as a flagship exhibition within our artistic program.

For the River Capital Commission 2019, Gertrude was honoured to work with Consuelo Cavaniglia and Brendan Van Hek, working in collaboration to produce and present an unreliable narrator.  

an unreliable narrator was the most substantial institutional exhibition to date by Sydney-based artists Consuelo Cavaniglia and Brendan Van Hek, and their first major collaboration together. The exhibition held the task of working in collaboration as a key conceptual anchor, exploring the nature of duality from both a spatial perspective in terms of the gallery architecture at Gertrude, but also, and importantly, the alignment of two intellectual perspectives, two approaches to the development of narrative, and two distinct artistic practices. It is from this process of attempting to synergise these perspectives, or rather, to concede their differing viewpoints and embrace such pluralism, that the exhibition adopted its title, an unreliable narrator. Working across the two gallery spaces and expansive atrium of Gertrude, the exhibition was conceived as a single work, and unfolded as a series of repeated scenarios, like versions of the same story, told and retold from slightly divergent perspectives. Each of these scenarios presented variations to the narrative – be it through form, material or scale – so as to set forth a collection of propositions without necessitating a delineation of hierarchy or authority. 

While Cavaniglia’s practice holds concerns for the perception and understanding of space – personal, psychological, architectural and environmental – and how we both exist, and appear to exist within spatial environments, Van Hek’s practice is embedded within and informed by personal narratives, cultural politics and the proposition of and dismantlement of fictions. Both artists share an astute attention to refined production, material austerity and the cognitive and perceptual effects of colour and light, respectively explored principally through sculpture and installation. an unreliable narrator enveloped all of the public spaces at Gertrude, creating an immersive environment that amplified and called into question the architecture of the building and collapsed the delineation between the internal realm of the gallery spaces and the external public environment.

Consuelo Cavaniglia was born in Rome, Italy, and lives and works in Sydney. Selected recent solo exhibitions include: between and among objects, Margaret Lawrence Gallery, Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne (2018); the light that catches, Kronenberg Mais Wright, Sydney (2017); the distant other, STATION, Melbourne (2016); in the distance a pool of light was not what it seemed, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (2015); and what we know of each other, Sydney College of the Arts Gallery (2015). Selected recent group exhibitions include: IN-Formalism, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Sydney (2019); The Theatre is Lying: The inaugural Macfarlane Commissions, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2018); Vanishing Point, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, Sydney (2018); The Shape of Memory, The Lock-Up Contemporary Art Space, Newcastle (2017); Black Square – 100 Years (1913 – 1915), tcb inc., Melbourne (2015); Arts NSW Visual Art Fellowship (Emerging), Artspace, Sydney (2016); and Bliss, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, University of Western Australia, Perth (2013). 

Consuelo Cavaniglia is represented by STATION, Melbourne and Sydney; and Kronenberg Mais Wright, Sydney.

Brendan Van Hek was born in Perth, and lives and works in Sydney. Selected recent solo exhibitions include: the continual condition, Turner Galleries, Perth (2017); the scene was set, Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney (2017); Colour Restraint (in collaboration with Rebecca Baumann), Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney (2015); Untitled (in collaboration with Rebecca Baumann), Dunedin Public Art Gallery, New Zealand (2015); and Some Kind of Love Story, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Sydney (2011). Selected recent group exhibitions include: Autoluminiscent, La Trobe Art Institute, Bendigo (2019); Superposition of three types, Artspace, Sydney (2017); Amour Fou, New Westminster New Media Gallery, Vancouver, Canada (2015); Becoming: Worlds In Flux, C24 Gallery, New York, USA (2012); Shifting Geometries, The Australian Embassy, Washington DC, USA (2012); NEW11, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2011); REMIX, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth (2011); and TarraWarra Contemporary 2010, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Victoria (2010).

Brendan Van Hek is represented by Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney. 

The River Capital Commission is a new initiative developed in partnership with River Capital, a Melbourne-based investment firm with a commitment to investor and community success.


  • Consuelo Cavaniglia
  • Brendan Van Hek
Public Program

Artist Talk: Consuelo Cavaniglia and Brendan Van Hek

Artist TalkWednesday 28 August, 6amGertrude Contemporary

Read More

Subscribe to our newsletter

Gertrude Contemporary

21-31 High Street
Preston South VIC
Melbourne, Australia

Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday 11am–5pm

Gertrude Glasshouse

44 Glasshouse Road
Collingwood VIC
Melbourne, Australia

Opening hours:
Thursday–Saturday 12–5pm