Helen Eager to shine in Vivid 2021

Sydney’s Vivid festival reveals major new commission from leading abstractionist.

Words: Adriana Borsey

Vivid 2021 has commissioned Australia’s leading abstractionist, Helen Eager, to create a centrepiece light-work for this year’s event, which will run 6 to 28 August 2021. Eager’s latest work, New York Sunday, will be projected nightly on the six-storey-high exterior of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, accompanied by an electronic music accompaniment composed by Paul Mac, and digitised by Rico and Julian Reinhold of creative studio H0RSE.

Eager’s bold segments of colour evolve into new combinations, constantly in a stasis of reordering. Eager’s practice of deconstruction is evident as the projection of abstract forms mingle within the buildings structural parameters that act as a canvas. Eager’s 1988 Greene Street residency in New York, proved pivotal for her career, where she switched from representational to abstract art. This year’s light installation will showcase Eager’s art from that time with an eight-minute-long visual journey tracking the artists history which is repeated each night. “The sheer scale has been thrilling. And turning the huge MCA building into a canvas has been exhilarating” Eager shares.

Eager has held 30 solo exhibitions and has been part of 130 group exhibitions. Her work is widely sought in every Australian Institution and Museum, and in private Australian collections. Eager has also had a series of noteworthy wall commissions, Tango, currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. She was part of Know My Name at the NGA in 2020-21. Her catalogue Raisonne, will also be published later in 2021.

Alongside New York Sunday, Utopia Art Sydney, which represents Eager, will open two major shows of her work. Utopia Art Sydney’s Executive Director, Christopher Hodges says “August is going to be Helen’s moment.” Drawing Room showing at Utopia Art Sydney presents Eager’s major works, from sketchbooks to large drawings, in an artist configured installation opening July 31 complimenting the Vivid Sydney light installation.

Image: Artwork by Helen Eager, projected on the MCA Sydney for Vivid Sydney 2021. Image: courtesy of artist and Utopia Art Sydney, Sydney.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Gow Langsford thinks big

The Auckland gallery has opened a brand-new space, promising to be one of the largest commercial art spaces in Australasia.

Pia Murphy joins Melbourne gallery

Nicholas Thompson Gallery follows up on a standout show with an invite to its stable.

Maree Clarke flourishes in Florence

The artist’s international residency culminates in an exhibition with Murate Art District.

A new gallery you should have on your radar

PALAS has now opened its doors in Sydney.