Helen Grogan is an artist working across international contexts, currently living and learning on unceded Wurundjeri Country in Naarm/Melbourne. For more than 20 years, Helen Grogan has sustained a conceptual practice at the intersection of performance and exhibition. With a particular interest in tending to what is already occurring, Grogan’s work examines the material and immaterial conditions of exhibition contexts. Works are formed as installations, interventions, and scores. These modes often implicate (or choreograph) visitors’ attention in situ. With a rigorous attention to practical matters, Grogan’s poetic works are equal parts conceptual and concrete. 

Helen Grogan’s works have been presented by institutions including: Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide; 2nd Tbilisi Triennial, Georgia; Rijksakademie, Amsterdam; Context Platform for Contemporary Dance, Berlin; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne; KULTURHUSET, Stockholm, Netherlands Architecture Institute, Rotterdam; Gallery Stadtpark, Krems; PHERD, Vienna; Melbourne International Arts Festival; La Mecedora Collective, Mexico City; Galerie IG Bildende Kunst, Vienna. Through her enduirng interest in working with others, she regularly engages with  leading artists, choreographers, and dancers on projects with varied models of co-authership and/or collabration, including: Shelley Lasica, Geoff Robinson, Gwenneth Boelens, Nathan Gray, Charlie Sofo, Cath Stutterheim, Matija Ferlin, Koen Nutters, Jared Davis, and Matthew G. Day. 
At present she is an Associate Researcher for Precarious Movements: Choreography and the Museum, a major international ARC-supported research project bringing together leading artists, researchers and institutional partners. 

Helen Grogan holds degrees in philosophy, dance, choreography, and visual art having attended Victorian College of the Arts, Amsterdam University for the Arts, City University of New York, and Deakin University as well as the artist residencies of Gertrude Contemporary and Austrian Arts Residency - RMIT. She is an experienced university lecturer/educator of visual art and exhibition practice, inclusive of performance.

As an extension of her practice as an artist, Grogan undertakes curatorial and research projects. These include SPECIFIC
IN-BETWEEN (The choreographic negotiated in six parts) at Australian Centre for Contemporary Art within the exhibition Framed Movements, curated by Hannah Mathews. OPEN ARCHIVE, co-directed with Jared Davis, was a strategically temporary project space for ephemerial works outside discipline-specific frameworks. THE EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC AND MOVEMENT WORKSHOP, facilitated by John Nixon and Helen Grogan, presented university students and staff of visual art with experimental compositions practices.  Leading artists shared their diverse approaches in a live context. During her time in New York City, Grogan worked on: digitisation, archiving, and loan liscence distribution for the time-based archive of The Kitchen; media writiting for the Judson Chruch performance progam facilitated by Movement Research; RAW Performance Art Program at PS122 as assistant to curator; and ‘Ditgital Happy Hour’ new media arts program as asssitant to curator Christina Yang.


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“Grogan views the exhibition location as fundamentally performative. The viewer’s process of perception is not simply perception; rather, perception, i.e. the act of perceiving, is what first brings the space into being.

Helen Grogan’s practice can be described formally and medially as a field of interactions and interferences between sculptural, photographic, and cinematic mediums. The process of observation itself becomes a material. Her work examines the material and immaterial conditions of the given exhibition location.

Spatial shifts, rearrangements, attenuations, and reconfigurations focus attention on the temporal and procedural dimension of the spatial, but also the socio-aesthetic. Beyond purely formal and phenomenological conditions, Grogan’s aesthetic examination involves a subtle critique of the institutional conditions of the exhibition format.

- David Komary, (Excerpts from) “Up To and Including”, 2019
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“Helen Grogan’s background in dance informs her understanding of space as process of exchange. Rather than architectures of the body ... hers is a practice that considers architecture with the body. Grogan considers her materials as apparatus, instruments of direction and examination Grogan speaks of ‘sensing thinking’, wherein kinetic understanding is as important as an intellectual one.

In using choreography as a directive to observe, she encourages us to take note of the specifics of spaces we occupy, and, like that of successful architecture, her purpose is revealed in sequence. Accordingly, as the title (SET AND DRIFT (unfolding as 2-4 constellations for/of Samstag Museum of Art)) suggests, over the course of the exhibition the work at Samstag will shift to continue the conversation with the architecture. In doing so, Grogan suggests that space is always performing, and that considered and deliberate movement might offer a way to reciprocate.”

- Gillian Brown (Excerpt from) “Effect in Three Movements / 2020 ADELAIDE//INTERNATIONAL SAMSTAG”, 2020

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“Grogan’s work is in dialogue with a range of artistic forms, favouring alliances across disciplines instead of adherence to a singular tradition. It is inclusive without being sentimental. A viewer can have a deeply satisfying experience, they can draw out material pleasures and appreciate subtle differences, shifts in perception, mood and environmental conditions. Difference is not just accommodated, it is instrumental. The margins between words and actions provide friction. It follows that the context and history of a space can be instrumental too. I feel that with Grogan’s work we arrive at a performance that can actually frame and intensify life. It reflects the artistic imperative to affirm that things exist, that a recognition of physical limits and the limits of language can open up avenues to deeper experience. ...

What is the difference between perimeter and parameter? Probably not much, but this difference is crucial in Helen Grogan’s work UNTITLED (enactment of performative structures and thought actions selected from accumulative catalogue of studio activities 2001–2014). Grogan elaborates on the difference between these two articulations; she works in the margin between language and action or where language is physical.  Her work is dealing with very simple things, with pedestrian everyday motions and materials. Yet this territory is contentious. Demonstrating the existence of something imminently common can be tricky at best.

Another crucial margin would be the difference between a score and a choreography. In developing the work Concrete Room (2005~), Grogan does not simply provide the performer with instructions, she guides them through the pace of the action (of tracing a space) and imparts a certain manner and approach to the performance. The choreography of Concrete Room is an exercise in defining limits. As events unfold in the space, so do the variables; viewers and participants move through the work and the boundaries of the tracing expand or retract.”

- Charlie Sofo, (Excerpts from) “Thoughts on Helen Grogan’s THREE PERFORMATIVE STRUCTURES FOR SLOPES”, 2014


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© HELEN GROGAN, 2020