For over two decades Lisa Roet has won acclaim in Australia and internationally for her powerful investigations into the complex interface between humans and our simian relatives.
Drawing inspiration from a myriad of sources including residencies at major international zoos, field studies of apes living in the forests of Borneo and most recently through her own heart surgery, Lisa’s multidisciplinary approach to her work has challenged, and continues to challenge, fundamental scientific and behavioural theories relating to human evolution and creationism, language and communication, science and art and the relationship between humans and ‘other’ primates. Notwithstanding the potentially political nature of her subject, Roet never indulges in heavy-handed dacticism. To the contrary, her art practice is infused with refreshing vigour, candour and an inescapable sense of mystery, poignantly highlighting how inextricably linked humans and primates are amid the messy uncertainty of biology, nature and culture.
With the ape as her muse, Roet encourages us to reflect upon prevailing attitudes towards these relatives with whom we share in excess of 98% of our DNA, the lingering anxiety with our evolutionary past, our use of apes for scientific and entertainment purposes and the way in which we project onto apes our own fantasies and culture, while at the same time assuming they are somehow ‘inferior’ to us.
Not surprisingly, Lisa’s explorations into the psychology, behaviour and the soul of simian-human relations have attracted an impressive number of art awards, including the prestigious: Geelong Gallery Acquisitive Print Award, Australia (2013), Deakin University Small Sculpture Award, Australia (2012), Fremantle Print Award, Australia (2011), McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park Sculpture Survey & Award, Australia (2005), Australian National Gallery National Sculpture Prize, Australia (2003).
Since her first show at Querhause Gallery, Berlin in 1992, Lisa has been represented by galleries in Australia, Belgium and the USA, has held over twenty-five solo exhibitions and has participated in more than fifty group exhibitions internationally and within Australia, including: Golden Monkey, Beijing Design Week, Beijing, China (2016), Heart Beat, Adelaide Festival 2016, Australian Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide, Australia (2016), Lisa Roet/KITX Collaboration, Melbourne Fashion Week, Pieces Of Eight Gallery, Melbourne, Australia (2016), Golden Monkey White Night Festival, Melbourne, Australia (2016), Bound Communication and Stories of Love, Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand (2015), When I Laugh, He Laughs With Me, Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide, Australia (2015), Australian Artists In Bali: 1930s to Now, McClelland Gallery, Langwarren, Victoria, Australia (2015), Monkey Grip, Deakin University Art Gallery, Melbourne, which toured various regional galleries throughout Victoria, Australia (2013-14), When I Laugh, He Laughs With Me, Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne, Australia (2014), Chengdu Biennale, China, 2013, McClelland Sculpture Survey & Award, McClelland Gallery + Sculpture Park, Mornington Peninsula, Australia (2014, 2005 & 2003), Den Hagg Sculptuur 2007/The Hague Sculpture 2007, The Hague, The Netherlands (2007), Satellite Project (12 Australian Artists), Shanghai Biennale, China (2006), Kiss of the Beast, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia (2005), Lisa Roet: Finger of Suspicion, McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park, Melbourne, Australia (2004).
Lisa has also featured several times in the publication titled Australian Art Collector’s ‘50 Most Collectible Artists’ (2001, 2003 and 2007) and is the subject of a comprehensive monograph by Alexie Glass titled Lisa Roet: Uncommon Observations (2004), that was published by Thames and Hudson. Lisa was also the feature of an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) documentary titled APELADY, which was produced by Klaus Toft in 2010.