12 July – 21 October 2018
This ironically titled exhibition shone a spotlight on Ronnie van Hout, a Melbourne-based New Zealand-born artist best known for his distinctive brand of existential absurdism. Bringing together works that span more than thirty years of practice, No one is watching you: Ronnie van Hout encompassed sculpture, video, photography, embroidery and text, and features major new installations.
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Van Hout’s tragicomic oeuvre references a wide range of sources, from science fiction, cults and cinema to art history and popular and celebrity culture. He frequently draws upon childhood experiences and recollections to create wryly amusing yet heart-rending micro fictions. Casting fragile, lonely figures in the midst of perplexing scenarios, van Hout masterfully evokes familiar and yet strange interior worlds. His unsettling tableaux unleash deep social anxieties and feelings of self-consciousness, triggering the impulse to simultaneously laugh and cry.

The multitude of protagonists populating van Hout’s work includes figures from pop culture, peculiar everymen and wicked self-portraits. The latter appear to theatrically seize the artistic limelight while at the same time attempting to elude its searching glare. Van Hout’s practice deliberately blurs the boundaries between self and other, artist and audience, tragedy and farce, at once humorously and poignantly exploring powerful sensations of the contemporary human condition.

Curated by Melissa Keys.


Exhibition Catalogue

Spanning more than three decades of Ronnie van Hout’s protean practice, No one is watching you: Ronnie van Hout brings together almost 80 artworks in the most comprehensive presentation of his work ever seen in Australia.

Contributors include Russell Smith and Melissa Keys. Foreward by Ryan Johnston.


Download education resources to support student learning in visual art subjects.

Download exhibition artwork labels to suit your viewing needs.

Explore the opening remarks for No one is watching you: Ronnie van Hout by Max Delany


No one is watching you: Ronnie van Hout is presented in association with Melbourne International Arts Festival.

Image credit: Ronnie van Hout, Bad Ronald 2013-18 (detail), photography Christian Capurro