Hours of operation

Lou Hubbard
Pleasure First

Installation view of Lou Hubbard, Pleasure First, presented at Gertrude Contemporary, 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Sarah Scout Presents, Naarm Melbourne. Photo: Christian Capurro
Installation view of Lou Hubbard, Pleasure First, presented at Gertrude Contemporary, 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Sarah Scout Presents, Naarm Melbourne. Photo: Christian Capurro

16 September -
29 October 2023

Gertrude Contemporary

21-31 High Street, Preston South

16 September – 29 October 2023

Gertrude is pleased to present Pleasure First, a new solo exhibition by the Naarm Melbourne-based artist Lou Hubbard. Turning the corner as they enter the gallery, the viewer is confronted by a large, inflatable pool that leans precariously from the gallery wall to which it is tethered. Surrounding the pool are recognisable tropes from Hubbard’s broader practice—the horse, the raincoat—that relate to her memories growing up in Meanjin Brisbane.

When I was seventeen years old, I slipped out of The Gap, a Brisbane suburb in the gap between two mountains. I have since made artworks about formal and linguistic associations that link my experiences there such as empty swimming pools, maths operations, eye operations, the horse that I got aged eleven when my father left me for another woman.

Prior to writing Swimming Home, Deborah Levy asked, “what is a swimming pool?” Her answer went something like this. Physically, the swimming pool is a hole in the ground, covered in water, so it’s kind of like a watery grave. I once exhibited a vast collection of polystyrene “pools” that came with titles describing psychological complexes: Outdoor Complex. Indoor Complex. Complexes real and imagined. Pleasure First reframes the pool, the horse and raincoats (that item that most often ended up in my school’s lost property) and connects them in a spatial geometry, like a Venn diagram: a mindset that remains central in the adult play fundamental to my practice.

In Pleasure First my pool is gravely literal. It is the ghost of suburban malfunction. It looms monstrous, empty. Nowadays my horse gently sleeps. Raincoats are racked, cloaked and collared, slung and hung. In my hands they endure acts of control and duress, pulled and squashed, tugged into flatness. Like the pool and the horse, the raincoats are stuck still, standing-in.

Pleasure first… and then…and then.


  • Lou Hubbard
Public Program
Audiences attend Sarah Contos and Lou Hubbard in conversation with Mark Feary, presented at Gertrude Contemporary, 16 September 2023. Photo: Machiko Abe

Artist Talk: Lou Hubbard and Sarah Contos in conversation with Mark Feary

Artist TalkSaturday 16 September, 5amGertrude Contemporary

Artists Lou Hubbard and Sarah Contos joined Artistic Director Mark Feary on Saturday 16 September at 3pm for an artist talk on the occasion of the opening of the artist's concurrent solo exhibitions: Hubbard's Pleasure First and Contos' In the Belly of Mary Shelley. The artist talk was followed by the exhibition opening celebrations. 

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Lou Hubbard.

The Eighty-Six: STUDIO presents Vanessa Worm X Lou Hubbard

PerformanceSaturday 28 October, 4amGertrude Contemporary

Join us at Gertrude Contemporary from 3pm on Saturday 28 October 2023 for a one-off collaboration between STUDIO, Gertrude and The Eighty-Six: Lou Hubbard X Vanessa Worm.

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Lou Hubbard is represented by Sarah Scout Presents, Naarm Melbourne.

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Gertrude Contemporary

Wurundjeri Country
21-31 High Street
Preston South VIC
Melbourne, Australia

Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday 11am–5pm

Gertrude Glasshouse

Wurundjeri Country
44 Glasshouse Road
Collingwood VIC
Melbourne, Australia

Opening hours:
Thursday–Saturday 12–5pm