About Us

Adelaide Contemporary Experimental (ACE) is South Australia’s leading independent contemporary visual arts organisation.

Gallery entrance, as viewed from Morphett Street entrance. Accessibility ramp is in the foreground.
Gallery entrance, as viewed from Morphett Street entrance. Accessibility ramp is in the foreground.
Photography by Jonathan van der Knaap.

Located in Adelaide’s iconic Lion Arts Centre precinct, Adelaide Contemporary Experimental (ACE) is South Australia’s leading independent contemporary visual arts organisation, proudly supporting artists to develop and present work on Kaurna Yarta (Kaurna Country).  

Established through the merger of Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia (CACSA) and the  Australian Experimental Art Foundation (AEAF) in 2017, ACE builds upon the legacy of over 100 years of innovative experimental arts practice in South Australia.

Through exhibitions, studios, public programs, professional development opportunities and publications, ACE expands the edges of contemporary visual art practice, embraces diversity and provides a space for artists to take risks. 

Our Approach To Programming

Since its inception, ACE’s program has explored many timely issues, driven by the question: what is urgent to discuss today and who should be telling these stories? We recognise that contemporary art takes many forms, and have built a reputation for presenting new and important processes and methodologies for artistic practice.

Three black sails billow in the gallery space. Two TV screens in the background display a mouth. The light is green.
Three black sails billow in the gallery space. Two TV screens in the background display a mouth. The light is green.
Sidney McMahon, 'Of Sorrow and Release' (2021), exhibition view, ACE, Adelaide. Photography by Grant Hancock.

Exhibition program

ACE presents a yearly program of free exhibitions, with focus on commissioning and curating new work from local, national and international artists across all stages of their careers. We regularly work with external curators, collaborators and partners to expand the diversity of voices and perspectives in our program. Our exhibitions are complex, contemplative and ever-changing.

Public programs

ACE presents an annual program of talks, performances, film screenings, accessibility tours and other events that accompany and contextualise our exhibitions. We also invest in stand-alone activities, such as public discussions and workshops, to connect our audiences with contemporary art practice and ideas. Our public programs are expansive, stimulating and open to all.

A person sits at a table in the front space. Their arms are outstretched. Audience watches.
A person sits at a table in the front space. Their arms are outstretched. Audience watches.
Follow That Feeling (2021), ACE Open. Photography by Thomas McCammon.

Our Audiences

ACE believes everyone has a right to access artistic expression and take part in South Australia’s cultural life. We invite audiences to experience contemporary art in an environment that is simultaneously engaging, challenging and welcoming. ACE is committed to ensuring our programs and activities are as accessible as possible, for as many people as possible.

Our Role In The Sector

ACE plays a vital role within the South Australian arts sector and cultural ecology, championing best practice in a wide range of arts activities. We serve as a scaffold for building local artists’ careers and are quickly growing a legacy of new work commissions which continue to circulate in galleries and collections across Australia. We believe that, by strongly supporting local artists and communities, and connecting them to our national and international peers, we can create greater opportunities and more expansive contexts for a diversity of art practitioners in South Australia.

Carly Tarkari Dodd stands with materials in her hand, leading her workshop in the ACE Studios.
Carly Tarkari Dodd stands with materials in her hand, leading her workshop in the ACE Studios.
Carly Tarkari Dodd (2020), Weaving with natural fibres workshop, ACE, Adelaide. Photography by Thomas McCammon.

Vision

To understand, expand and transform our world through contemporary art.

Mission

To be South Australia’s leading contemporary art space, nationally renowned for supporting artists, promoting artistic excellence and enriching audience experience.

Annual Report

Seven core ACE staff assembled together in the gallery foyer.
Seven core ACE staff assembled together in the gallery foyer.
ACE staff (2022), ACE, Adelaide. Photography by Jonathan van der Knaap.

Staff

Patrice Sharkey

Louise Dunn

Mairead Hooper

Sharmonie Cockayne

Brad Lay

Grace Marlow

Tikari Rigney

Patrice Sharkey
Artistic Director

Patrice Sharkey is a curator, writer and arts leader who lives on Kaurna land in Adelaide. She was previously the Director of West Space in Melbourne (2015-2018). Patrice's work experience also spans the university and commercial sectors, including roles as Assistant Curator at Monash University Museum of Art and Gallery Assistant at Sutton Gallery.

At West Space Patrice curated the group exhibitions Real Life Fantasies and The Drawing is Just Not There (with Christopher L G Hill), and commissioned solo projects by Fiona Abicare (Rose Moon, 2019), Gavin Bell, Jarrah de Kuijer & Simon McGlinn (Open Window, 2018), Jason Phu (my parents met at the fish market, 2017) and Lisa Radford (Dear Masato, all at once (get a life, the only thing that cuts across the species is death), 2016). Other curatorial projects include Auto Body Works, Arts Project Australia, Melbourne, 2018. Her writing has been published by the Art Gallery of South Australia, Home of the Arts (Surfers Paradise),Govett-Brewster Art Gallery (New Plymouth), Monash University Museum of Art (Melbourne),and National Gallery of Victoria.

Patrice received a Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours), majoring in Art History / Cultural Studies, from The University of Melbourne in 2010. She is an alumnus of the Australia Council’s Future Leaders Program and is currently Deputy Chair of the National Association of the Visual Arts (NAVA). 

Louise Dunn
Executive Director

Louise Dunn is a veteran to the South Australian arts scene, most recently leading Nexus Arts as Executive Director for seven years (2012-2019), where she focused on rebuilding the organisation to become a leader in contemporary culturally diverse arts practice. At Nexus Arts, Louise devised and delivered the Ruby Award winning Barngarla: Stories of Resilience project, initiated new artist development programs benefiting over 40 South Australian artists, increased audiences and stakeholder engagement, and more than tripled funding levels. Louise has held multiple Board and committee positions in the arts sector locally and nationally, most notable as Deputy Chair (2014 -2016) and Chair (2016- 2017) at Diversity Arts Australia (formerly Kultour).

Mairead Hooper
Gallery & Office Manager

Mairead Hooper is an arts administrator with a background in project coordination and financial management. She holds a Graduate Diploma in Arts and Cultural Management from the University of South Australia and a Bachelor of Visual Art from Adelaide College of the Arts. She has worked in administrative and programming roles at Artlink, Art Gallery of South Australia and Arts in Health at Flinders Medical Centre. Prior to joining ACE, Mairead worked in project coordination and administration for Renew Adelaide. She is also currently the Finance Manager at The Mill.

Sharmonie Cockayne
Marketing & Communications Manager

Sharmonie Cockayne is a multi-skilled creative professional with a work history across marketing, publishing, fashion and digital media. Since graduating from the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Media, majoring in Marketing, Sharmonie has worked as Creative Content Executive at Super Assembly, Fashion Director and Creative Producer for CityMag, Contributing Editor to South Australian Style Magazine, and has worked in marketing roles for the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Dion Lee (NYC).

Brad Lay
Exhibition & Studios Coordinator

Brad Lay is an exhibition coordinator and installer, with professional experience in a variety of South Australian arts organisations. He has worked on the installation of several major exhibitions at the Art Gallery of South Australia, including the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art (2018 and 2020), Tarnanthi Festival (2019 and 2020) and William Kentridge: That which we do not remember (2019). As part of the Country Arts SA team, he facilitated professional development opportunities for regional artists, and the administration and installation of both the touring exhibition program and the Whyalla Art Prize.

Brad completed a Masters of Visual Arts by Research at the University of South Australia in 2015, and has tutored in Installation Art and Foundation Studies. Before his career in the arts, Brad worked in the environmental management field, and retains an interest in environmentally sustainable practices.

Grace Marlow
Public Programs Coordinator

Grace Marlow studied a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) at Adelaide Central School, and has since practiced and collaborated  as an artist across performance, poetry and writing. Grace was the Gallery Manager at Sister Gallery in Adelaide from 2017-2019.

Tikari Rigney
First Nations Curator-in-Residence

Tikari Rigney is a non-binary (they/she) Kaurna, Narrunga and Ngarrindjeri visual artist and poet. They currently work at Scotch College as an Art Assistant and  First Nations Coordinator. Rigney participated in the inaugural Zine and Held Fair for disabled and people of colour artists at Post Office Projects, Port Adelaide, in 2021. They have exhibited in over five group exhibitions in South Australia. They curated the largest student exhibition at Adelaide Central School of Art with over 22 artists, where they  are currently completing a Bachelor in Visual Arts. Rigney has connections to Carclew through their Creative Consultant program and has completed a culturally diverse illustration commission for Shine SA.

Board

Rainer Jozeps (Chair)

Leigh Robb (Deputy Chair)

Gemma Harris (Treasurer)

Anton Andreacchio

Hannah Andreyev

James Darling AM

Becci Love

Mary-Jean Richardson

Yhonnie Scarce

Established through the merger of Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia (CACSA) and the Australian Experimental Art Foundation (AEAF) in 2017, ACE builds upon the legacy of over 100 years of innovative experimental arts practice in South Australia.

A large single-storey suburban house in a garden setting, framed by a white wall with a sign reading: CACSA
A large single-storey suburban house in a garden setting, framed by a white wall with a sign reading: CACSA
Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia (CACSA), Porter Street, Parkside.

The Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia

The Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia (CACSA) was established as the Contemporary Art Society (CAS) in 1942, when a breakaway group of young artists from the Royal Society of Arts sought greater opportunities to exhibit their work. What followed was almost 75 years of pioneering activity dedicated to the promotion and exhibition of contemporary visual art.

In 1964 the CAS acquired an iconic bluestone bungalow in the leafy Adelaide suburb of Parkside in which to exhibit work. Until its closure in 2016, the Porter Street property was the longest running contemporary art space in Australia. Adventurism and risk-taking defined the CAS, with its exhibitions and programs propelling the careers of many iconic South Australian artists.

The Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia incorporated in 1986, and the organisation transformed from a volunteer-run gallery established for the exhibition of members’ work, into a publicly funded organisation with an exhibition program of national and international significance, and a revered publishing arm led by Broadsheet Journal.

Exterior of the Australian Experimental Art Foundation Building, a two-level red-brick space in the Lion Arts Centre. A banner labelled AEAF hangs from its second storey.
Exterior of the Australian Experimental Art Foundation Building, a two-level red-brick space in the Lion Arts Centre. A banner labelled AEAF hangs from its second storey.
Australian Experimental Art Foundation (AEAF).

The Australian Experimental Art Foundation

The Australian Experimental Art Foundation (AEAF) was established as the Experimental Art Foundation (EAF) in 1974 by a small group of Adelaide artists and theorists, in order to both encourage new approaches to the visual arts and to promote the idea of art as ‘radical and only incidentally aesthetic’.

For more than 40 years the organisation presented exhibitions and events that continuously pushed the boundaries of art practice. Exhibitions celebrated local, national and international experimental artists, and were seminal in presenting Australian and international performance art.

In 1992 Adelaide’s Lion Arts Centre became home to the AEAF’s purpose-built gallery and facilities, including artist studios, offices and the Dark Horsey Bookshop. The AEAF supported critical dialogue through publications, artist monographs, talks and critical writing. Its artist studios and residency program supported some of South Australia’s leading artists of the 1990s-2010s.

Exterior view of the ACE gallery from the Lion Arts Centre courtyard.
Exterior view of the ACE gallery from the Lion Arts Centre courtyard.
Photography by Jonathan van der Knaap.

ACE tampinthi, ngadlu Kaurna yartangka panpapanpalyarninthi (inparrinthi). Kaurna miyurna yaitya mathanya Wama Tarntanyaku. Parnaku yailtya, parnaku tapa purruna, parnaku yarta ngadlu tampnthi. Yalaka Kaurna miyurna itu yailtya, tapa purruna, yarta kuma puru martinthi, puru warri-apinthi, puru tangka martulayinthi.

ACE respectfully acknowledges the traditional Country of the Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains and pays respect to Elders past and present. We recognise and respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land. We acknowledge that they are of continuing importance to the Kaurna people living today.