Helen Grogan’s artistic practice works between the conceptual, choreographic and sculptural. For over 15 years, her practice has sustained a critical and poetic engagement with the contextual conditions of art. This approach has been synonymous with her long-term artistic and academic work at the intersection of visual arts and dance. With a particular focus on what is already here and already happening, analytic systems of sensing, locating, attending act as concurrent means and materials for developing works that activate choreographic concepts and concerns, further to dance-proper. Works often incorporate explicit processes of flux, drift, shift, layering, and reconfiguration. 

Helen Grogan is an independent artist currently living on unceded Wurundjeri Country of the five Kulin lands in Naarm/Melbourne. She initially trained in philosophy and dance (simultaneously), before continuing this research in New York City and Amsterdam. Since 2003, her practice has formally encompassed performance, installation, photography/video and sculpture. Her works have been presented by institutions including: Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne; Gallery Stadtpark, Krems; PHERD Forum for Contemporary Art, Vienna; The Melbourne International Arts Festival; Melbourne; Serial Space, Sydney; Rijksakademie, Amsterdam; Kontext Festival - HAU Hebbel, Berlin; La Mecedora Collective, Mexico City; KULTURHUSET, Stockholm.  Helen Grogan is studio artist alumni of Gertrude Contemporary. She holds a Masters of Fine Art, Victorian College of the Arts and is an experienced University lecturer/educator of visual art and exhibition practice, inclusive of performance.

“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.

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.

- David Komary, (Excerpts from) “Up To and Including”, 2019

“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

“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