The Spirit of the ’70s in Adelaide: An Exhibition

Spirit of the '70s Exhibition. Photo Stanislaus Ostoja-Kotkowski - Vibra 2
Spirit of the ’70s Exhibition. Photo Stanislaus Ostoja-Kotkowski – Vibra 2

As part of the 40th Anniversary celebrations The Adelaide Festival Centre is presenting two exhibitions under the banner of the Spirit of the ’70s.

The first, Signifying Change, will revolve around the work of a group of contemporary artists whose work was supported and whose reputation was cemented during the period. Indigenous artist Trevor Nickolls, Stanislaus Ostoja-Kotkowski, Rod Dudley and Bert Flugelman – perhaps best known for his iconic The Spheres sculpture (commonly referred to as “The Mall’s Balls”) in Rundle Mall.

Work by 1970s Arts academic Robert Boynes will also be on display as will drawings by Bert Flugelman along with a series of photographs, Earth Works, documenting his buried sculpture in Canberra’s Commonwealth Park, described as “six polished aluminium tetrahedrons buried permanently in March of 1975 in a trench for reasons not explained by the artist”.

Adelaidians are familiar with similar tetrahedrons (unburied) by Flugelman on The Festival Centre Plaza. Ostoja-Kotkowski’s pop-art collage Vibra 2 and video footage of his pioneering work with laser light displays for theatrical productions will also be on show.

The second exhibition, The Dunstan Decade, is a tribute to Don Dunstan AC who was Premier from June 1967 to April 1968 and again from June 1970 until his dramatic resignation in February 1979. An era that has become synonymous in South Australia with the man himself. During the 1970s Dunstan’s passionate hard work ensured South Australia became a genuine “pace-setter” with the establishment of the State Opera of South Australia, The South Australian Film Corporation, the opening of Australia’s first multi-purpose Arts Centre (The Adelaide Festival Centre), The Performing Arts Collection along with a multitude of arts, social and economic policies informed by his own inclusive and accessible Democratic Socialist political philosophy that advanced South Australian society as a whole.

These exhibitions will display an array of items significant to those artistic and cultural institutions including original ushers’ uniforms and tickets from the opening night of The Festival Theatre.

The Piano Bar will also contain an exhibition highlighting other important events in Adelaide in the 1970s. Current Festival Centre CEO and Artistic Director Douglas Gautier said “This was a ‘can-do’ decade with lots of energy and change. The audacity and confidence displayed in the bipartisanship efforts to build and open The Festival Centre in 1973 are admirable and a reminder of the power and magic of bold vision and action.”

Opening Night is tonight (Wednesday 17 April) at 6pm in the Festival Theatre Foyer. For more information visit

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