Installation views, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, 2023. Image courtesy the artist, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Galerie Gisela Capitain, and Hauser & Wirth, © Zoe Leonard. Photo - Zam Wimberley

Al río / To the River (detail) 2016–2022 gelatin silver prints,  C-prints and inkjet prints Production supported by Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, Paris Musées, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Galerie Gisela Capitain and Hauser & WirthImage courtesy the artist, Galerie Gisela Capitain, and Hauser & Wirth © Zoe Leonard.

The exhibition Zoe Leonard: Al río / To the River is organised by the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in association with Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean and the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, Paris Musées.

A Thought-Provoking Exhibition By Zoe Leonard At The MCA Australia

Critically acclaimed artist, Zoe Leonard’s latest exhibition ‘Al río / To the River’ reflects a stirring portrait of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo over five years.

Bea Taylor
1st of September 2023

Internationally renowned artist Zoe Leonard’s first major exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere is now showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA Australia).

Al río / To the River’, showcases Zoe’s large-scale photographic work of the Rio Grande (as it is named in the United States), or Rio Bravo (as it is named in Mexico). Zoe worked over a course of five years, beginning in 2016, to photograph the 2000 km stretch where the river separates the international boundary between the United States and Mexico.

She followed the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo from the border cities of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas, to the Gulf of Mexico to capture the epic scale of the river and the surrounding environments.

‘The shifting nature of the river, which floods periodically, changes course and carves new channels, is at odds with the political task it is asked to perform,’ says Zoe.

The thought-provoking exhibition is composed in three parts, with the major body of work comprising over 400 black and white silver gelatin prints presented as a flow of passages, much like the river itself. Through the use of multiple photographic styles such as abstraction, documentary and surveillance imagery, the prolific artist illustrates events and changes in the landscape over time, and considers how various histories of representation shape how we see and form our view of the world.

Exhibition co-curator Suzanne Cotter and director of the MCA Australia says, ‘Al río / To the River is one of the emblematic artworks of our time, drawing our attention to the impossibility of binary thinking in a world defined by complexity and in need of empathy.’

‘Al río / To the River’ is a ticketed exhibition and will be on display from 11 August – 5 November 2023 in Level 3 Gallery. Find out more and buy tickets here! 

Sponsored by Museum Of Contemporary Art Australia

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