Justene Williams: The Curtain Breathed Deeply



The Curtain Breathed Deeply presents an immersive collection of video and sculptural work by artist Justene Williams. Her largest and most ambitious undertaking to date, Williams uses found objects and waste materials to create dazzling theatrical environments, seducing visitors through a variety of hypnotizing sets and ‘performative’ video installations.

Williams takes inspiration from many sources including memories of her father’s wrecking yard, her childhood training in dance and her experiences constructing elaborate retail window displays as well as early twentieth century avant-garde art and theatre, and contemporary pop culture. Williams blends ritualistic references from Shamanism, Voodoo and Modernist primitivism with art historical giants — Picasso, Leger, Klein and Flavin — and a range of pop culture influences including hip hop, Milli Vanilli and A Chorus Line.

Developed by Artspace, Sydney and presented at Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA), Melbourne, The Curtain Breathed Deeply debuted on the international stage at Performa 15 in New York. Toured by Museums & Galleries of NSW, The Curtain Breathed Deeply will tour to nine venues across Australia from 2016 to 2018, engaging audiences nationwide with this series of fun and enthralling performative installations.

Previous visitors have commented:

“Life changing show by Justine Williams! So good.”

“The exhibition was very transformative, in the sense of creating an isolated interior space, separate from the external everyday world. Meditative but in a Freudian way.”

“Just about the best exhibition I have seen in this space – congratulations Griffith Gallery for supporting contemporary art and the career of non-conventional artists”



Justene Williams lives and works in Western Sydney and has exhibited widely throughout Australia and internationally.

Selected solo exhibitions include: Handbag Hammer Meditation, La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse, Montréal, 2013; Static Ballet, Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney, 2013; She came over signing like a drainpipe shaking spoon infused mixers, a public work for Christchurch Art Gallery, 2013; Turnstile Heaped on Pour Down, St Paul St Gallery, AUT Auckland University, 2012; and BIGHEAD GARBAGEFACE GUARDS GHOST DERR SONATA, Contemporary Project Space, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2009.

Her work is held in numerous collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, National Gallery of Australia and the Art Gallery of New South Wales. She is represented by Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney



Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, WA 16 September – 30 October 2016
Bunbury Regional Art Gallery, WA 19 November 2016 – 22 January 2017
Northern Centre for Contemporary Art, NT 10 February 2017 – 26 March 2017
Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, NSW 26 May 2017 – 8 July 2017
Griffith Regional Art Gallery, NSW 28 July 2017 – 17 September 2017
Ipswich Art Gallery, QLD 7 October 2017 – 29 October 2017
Bega Valley Regional Gallery, NSW 1 December 2017 – 28 January 2018
Tamworth Regional Gallery, NSW 9 February 2018 – 25 March 2018
Lismore Regional Gallery, NSW 12 May 2018 – 24 June 2018
Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, NSW 25 August 2018 – 11 November 2018






SHOWCASE: Justene Williams

The National

Rochford Street Review



The Curtain Breathed Deeply was curated and developed by Artspace and is touring nationally in partnership with Museums & Galleries of NSW.

The generous bequest of the Catalyst: Katherine Hannay Visual Arts Commission has enabled Artspace to support Justene Williams in the development of this major new work at a pivotal moment in her career. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.