Daniel Agdag ‘STATES’

Saturday 15 – Sunday 30 June
PREVIEW: Friday 14 June


Daniel Agdag is an artist and filmmaker based in Melbourne, Australia whose practice sits at the nexus of sculpture and motionography. He creates highly detailed sculptural pieces that have been described as ‘architectural in form, whimsical and antiquated in nature and inconceivably intricate’ and Messums Wiltshire is delighted to present a series of these works as a solo exhibition in our Long Gallery this June. (A selection of his work will go on to our London gallery to be shown in July.)

Join us on the morning of Daniel’s exhibition opening for a talk by the artist along with a screening of his award-winning Lost Property Office (see trailer below), a meticulously hand–crafted stop-motion animated nine minute long film by Daniel and Producer Liz Kearney. The art deco, post–industrial inspired world was realised by hand in Daniel’s beloved medium of cardboard over a preproduction period of 18 months. The entire film was fashioned from over 2,500 sheets of recycled cardboard, patiently hand-cut using 1,287 scalpel blades to create 1258 elaborate set pieces and delicate individual props.

Cardboard is Daniel’s primary medium. Drawn to its utilitarian origins and monochromatic presentation, he creates a paradox of fragility and strength with structures that resemble architectural forms and machines by utilising a medium that is essentially paper, preserving them under glass vitrines or bell jars. His work is both delicate and eccentric and his process is very much akin to freehand drawing – he spends a lot of time thinking and absorbing objects in the built environment, their peculiar details and functions, which, once resolved in his mind, begin to slowly emerge, fitting together to compliment the overall idea.

Daniel describes his work as ‘expressions of symbolic self-analysis reconstructed in three-dimensional form’ – mechanical manifestations of his thoughts, ideas and ancestral stories. He takes inspiration from the overlooked, concealed mechanisms and systems that enable the industrialised world to function, and often explores the playful, fantastical realms of invention and imagination.

Whilst his work is predominantly realised in cardboard he has made work in steel, wood and glass in recent years as part of translating his elaborate ideas into large scale public art sculptures. His recent stop motion film The Lost Property Office was shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2018 and won Jury Prize for Best Animated Short at Newport Beach Film Festival in 2019. Daniel will show this 9-minute film ahead of a Q&A on his work as both an artist and filmmaker on Saturday 15 June.


The son of Armenian immigrants, Daniel Agdag studied Fine Art before his interest in moving image drew him to filmmaking. He received a Masters in Film and Television from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2007.

He has exhibited solo shows in Melbourne and New York and been presented at several international art fairs: Melbourne Art Fair; Sydney Contemporary; Art Central Hong Kong; VOLTA Basel; Art Fair Tokyo. His work is held in private collections in the United States, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and Europe. He has completed several private commissions, notably for Hermès Paris, and in 2014 completed a large-scale public commission ‘The Inspector’ in Abbotsford, Melbourne.

His work has been published in New York-based curator and author Lori Zimmer’s The Art of Cardboard (USA, 2015) and features in DesignerBooks’ Paradise of Paper Art 2 – The World of Dance Paper (China, 2015). He is a triple Sydney Film Festival Dendy Award winner, as well as two time nominated and 2017 winner of the prestigious AFI / AACTA Award. His film Lost Property Office (2017) was shortlisted for the 2018 Academy Award for Best Short Animation, won Jury Prize for Best Animated Short at Newport Beach Film Festival in 2019 and has screened globally.

Daniel Agdag’s exhibition moves to Messums London 3 – 17 July 2019.