For more than 20 years, Helen Grogan has sustained a practice at the intersection of performance, exhibition, and conceptual process. With a particular interest in what is already occurring, her works spillover into the activities and materials exhibition contexts. Here, choreography is used as a directive tool for noticing, linsteing, sensing, and attending. Works are formed as itterative installations or interventions, and the notation thereof.  

Helen Grogan’s works have been presented by institutions including: Australian Center 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 enduring interest in working with others, she regularly engages with artists, choreographers, and dancers on projects with varied models of co-authorship and/or collaboration, including: Shelley Lasica, Geoff Robinson, Gwenneth Boelens, Nathan Gray, Charlie Sofo, Cath Stutterheim, Jess Gall, Matija Ferlin, Koen Nutters, Jared Davis, Matthew G. Day, and Jo Lloyd.

At present she is an Associate Researcher for Precarious Movements: Choreography and the Museum, an 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 Niederösterreich AIR - Austrian Arts Residency. She is an experienced university lecturer/educator of visual art and exhibition practice, inclusive of performance. This has included the supervision of Honours projects in areas of performance art, dance, installation, and sound art.

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 Center 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 composition practices.  During her time in New York City, Grogan worked on: digitisation, archiving, and loan license distribution for the time-based archive of The Kitchen; media writing for the Judson Church performance program facilitated by Movement Research; RAW Performance Art Program at PS122 as assistant to curator; and ‘Digital Happy Hour’ new media arts program as assistant to curator Christina Yang.

Helen Grogan works across international contexts and is currently living on unceded Wurundjeri Country in Naarm/Melbourne.




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The practice of Australian artist Helen Grogan can be described as a field of interactions and interferences of sculptural, photographic, and filmic means. The process of observing, of perceiving, plays not only a central role, but is itself turned into “material.” Grogan’s work deals directly and situationally with the exhibition location. The artist questions each location she works with in physical, ontological, and socio-aesthetic terms. Beyond purely formal and phenomenological components, Grogan’s aesthetic examination involves a subtle critique of the institutional conditions of the exhibition context.

-David Komary, Galerie Stadtpark

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The lights are turned off leading to the awareness of the lights being on in the first place. Once they have been turned off the available light through the skylights becomes obvious: the outside. There are shadows and softness. The lights are turned on once again.
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The choreography of CONCRETE ROOM (2005-) 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 accordingly. This situation can also be described as an installation. Grogan works towards creating a ‘real’ occurrence where the space, material and performer are integrated. The installation does not function as an immersive spectacle, rather it defies expectations and inspires patience and subtle contemplation. We as the viewers are included in the tracing of the work and we become participants in it.

-Charlie Sofo, Artist (‘Thoughts on Helen Grogan’s Three Performative Structures for Slopes’)

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Grogan considers her materials as apparatus, instruments of direction and examination. Accordingly, SET AND DRIFT (3-4 constellations for Samstag Museum of Art) makes sculpture from museum equipment—shelving, storage and audiovisual apparatus— arranged to encourage and guide the viewer’s movement through the gallery. Timing is kept by monitors and photographic prints which fold the installation process back into the display, making public the conversations and procedures of transformation normally held behind the scenes.
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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 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, Samstag Museum of Art

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© HELEN GROGAN, 2020