Katthy Cavaliere

Born 11 November 1972
Sarteano, Tuscany, Italy

Died 23 January 2012
Sydney, Australia

Katthy Cavaliere

Born in Sarteano, Tuscany in 1972, Katthy Cavaliere migrated from Italy to Australia with her family when she was four years old. She attended University of NSW Art and Design (then known as College of Fine Arts) in Sydney and was a recipient of the Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship in 2000, enabling her studies in Italy at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Brera, Milano. During this time in Italy she studied under Marina Abramović. Upon returning to Australia in 2004, Cavaliere staged a survey exhibition called Suspended Moment, which toured to regional galleries in NSW.

Cavaliere’s 2008 video performance, Loved, was included in The 54th Venice Biennale, 2011.

Following her death in January 2012, the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) presented her retrospective  Loved in 2015-16. Curated by Daniel Mudie Cunningham, it toured to Carriageworks in 2016 and was accompanied by a major monograph.

It was Cavaliere’s desire to bring to light what she did not remember of her early years in Sarteano that motivated her lifelong project of packing, storing and transporting the wreckage of her personal possessions, and transforming it into performance installation works that have been exhibited in solo and group shows internationally.

Cavaliere’s work is held in the collections of Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery of South Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Old and New Art, Artbank, University of Queensland Art Museum, Monash Gallery of Art and numerous regional galleries.

Katthy Cavaliere’s archive is held in the National Art Archive at the Art Gallery of NSW.

In 2018, a major fellowship was established in her name, Suspended Moment: The Katthy Cavaliere Fellowship which was adapted into an exhibition that is touring to eight venues through Museums and Galleries NSW in 2022-2024

She was included in the National Gallery of Australia’s Know My Name exhibition.

CV +


  • 2001

    Advanced Course in Visual Arts, Fondazione Ratti, Como. Supervisor: Marina Abramović

  • 2000-01

    Accademia di Belle Arti, Brera, Milan, Italy

  • 1994-97

    Master of Art (Photomedia), UNSW Art & Design (formerly College of Fine Arts), Sydney

  • 1990-93

    Bachelor of Fine Arts (Media Art), UNSW Art & Design (formerly College of Fine Arts), Sydney

Solo exhibitions

  • 2022

    The Window (with Del Kathryn Barton), Goulburn Regional Art Gallery

  • 2019

    Katthy Cavaliere, Goulburn Regional Art Gallery

  • 2018

    Nest, Wagga Wagga Art Gallery

  • 2017

    Memory and Belonging: the archive of Katthy Cavaliere, Research Library, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney

  • 2016

    Katthy Cavaliere: Loved, curated by Daniel Mudie Cunningham, Carriageworks, Sydney
    Katthy Cavaliere: Photographs and Drawings, curated by Grace Burzese, Galerie Pompom, Sydney

  • 2015

    Katthy Cavaliere: Loved, curated by Daniel Mudie Cunningham, Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart

  • 2008

    Day Dreams, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery
    Day Dreams, Jean Bellette Gallery, Hill End

  • 2007

    Untitled Home, MOP Projects, Sydney

  • 2006

    Looking for Fisher’s Ghost, Campbelltown Visitors Information Centre Quondong
    Looking for Fisher’s Ghost, Glenalvon Stables Museum, Drawing Room, Campbelltown

  • 2004-05

    Suspended Moment, Museums & Galleries NSW Regional Touring Exhibition: Goulburn Regional Art Gallery; Campbelltown Arts Centre; Bathurst Regional Art Gallery

  • 2003

    Spirito del Paese: Mother and Child, Via Farini Gallery, Milan
    Spirito del Paese: Mother and Child, Theatre, Il Teatro degli Arrischianti, Sarteano, Tuscany

  • 1999

    Story of a Girl, Artspace, Sydney

  • 1998

    Utterance, First Draft, Sydney

  • 1996

    Conceal, Particle Contemporary Exhibition Space, Sydney

Selected group exhibitions

  • 2023

    Death Love / Art, curated by Max Dingle, Shoalhaven Regional Gallery
    Suspended Moment, MGNSW & Carriageworks touring exhibition curated by Daniel Mudie Cunningham, Redcliffe Art Gallery, Araluen Arts Centre, Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Goulburn Regional Art Gallery

  • 2022

    Suspended Moment, MGNSW & Carriageworks touring exhibition curated by Daniel Mudie Cunningham, Wollongong Art Gallery, Manly Art Gallery & Museum, Glasshouse Regional Gallery, Mildura Arts Centre
    Thinking Through Pink, curated by Sally Gray, Wollongong Art Gallery

  • 2020

    Know My Name, National Gallery of Australia
    Fabrications, Wollongong Art Gallery
    Hazelhurst 20 Years, Hazelhurst Arts Centre

  • 2019

    Borrowed Scenery, Campbelltown Arts Centre
    Goulburn Bustle, Goulburn Regional Art Gallery
    Robyn Stacey: As Still as Life, Monash Gallery of Art
    Here We Are, Art Gallery of NSW
    The Four Letter Word, Artbank

  • 2018

    Antipodean Emanations: Cameraless Photographs from Australia and New Zealand, Monash Gallery of Art
    The Legacy Continues, Monash Gallery of Art
    , Macquarie University Art Gallery
    , Immigration Museum, Melbourne
    After Dark: Nocturnes from the Heide Collection
    , Heide Museum of Modern Art
    Collectors’ Space, May Space

  • 2017

    New Acquisitions Collection, Wollongong Art Gallery

  • 2016

    The Waiting Room, curated by Daniel Mudie Cunningham, Artbank, Sydney

  • 2015

    Che Cosa, curated by David Capra, Wollongong Art Gallery
    Taken to Task, curated by Dara Gill, Kudos Gallery

  • 2014

    Loose Canon, curated by Daniel Mudie Cunningham, Artbank

  • 2013

    Ghosting Machine, curated by Catherine Benz, Delmar Gallery

  • 2011

    54th Venice Biennale, Italian Pavilion: Italy in the World, Venice, Italy

  • 2010

    Fishers Ghost Art Prize, Campbelltown Arts Centre
    The Blake Prize Tour Delmar Trinity Gallery Sydney, Tweed River Art Gallery, Western Plains Cultural Centre Dubbo, Port Macquarie Hastings Regional Gallery

  • 2009

    The Blake Prize, National Art School Sydney, Ararat Regional Art Gallery
    Art on Paper, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre
    Doug Moran Photographic Prize, State Library of New South Wales
    I Think I Shall Never See a Billboard as Lovely as a Tree, Hazelhurst Arts Centre
    Newtown Diaries, Delmar Gallery, Ashfield

  • 2008

    24/25, curated by Blair French, Artspace
    Fisher’s Ghost Art Award, Campbelltown Arts Centre
    Shelf Life, Delmar Gallery
    Terminus Projects: Bazaar 08, Clare Hotel, Sydney

  • 2007

    Fisher’s Ghost Art Award, Campbelltown Arts Centre

  • 2005

    Fisher’s Ghost Art Award, Campbelltown Arts Centre

  • 2004

    Conversion: Art in Public Sites in Goulburn, Goulburn Regional Art Gallery

  • 2002

    Tracce di un Seminario, ViaFarini Gallery, Milan
    Lavori in corso, curated by Roberto Pinto, Benedetto Marcello 6, Milan

  • 2001

    Idea Bank, Ex Chiesa di San Francesco, Como

  • 2000

    Emporio: Parte prima, curated by Guido Molinari, ViaFarini Gallery, C/o (Care of), Milan
    Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship, Artspace (Winner)
    Elsewhere, Gallery 19, Sydney
    The Doors Show, Hoist Gallery, Watt Space, Newcastle, NSW

  • 1999

    Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship, Artspace, Sydney (Highly Commended)
    Fifty Bucks, Gallery 19, Sydney
    Archival Purposes, First Draft
    Glow-Bytes short film night, Performance Space

  • 1998

    Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship, Artspace, Sydney (Highly Commended)
    Four on the Floor, Gallery 19, Sydney

  • 1997

    Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship, Artspace, Sydney (Highly Commended)
    Fictional Extremities, Arthaus, Sydney

  • 1996

    Master of Art and BFA (Hons) Graduating Exhibition, UNSW Art & Design (formerly College of Fine Arts), Sydney
    Group Exhibition, Grosvenor Place, Sydney
    New South Wales Travelling Art Scholarship, COFA Gallery, UNSW Art & Design (formerly College of Fine Arts), Sydney
    Zero k used, H.R. Gallop Gallery, Wagga Wagga

  • 1995

    The Young Italo/Australian Achievement Awards, Festival House, Sydney
    Sfumato – an Italo/Australian Exhibition, Macquarie University
    Mobius – The Loop, COFA Gallery, UNSW Art & Design (formerly College of Fine Arts)

  • 1994

    Sfumato – an Italo/Australian Exhibition, University of New South Wales Library; Space YZ, Western Sydney University
    New South Wales Travelling Art Scholarship, COFA Gallery, UNSW Art & Design (formerly College of Fine Arts), Sydney

  • 1993

    On Masse – Graduating Exhibition, UNSW Art & Design (formerly College of Fine Arts)

Awards & Residencies

  • 2011

    Arts NSW, Quick Response Grant

  • 2010

    Residency at The Depot, First Draft, Sydney

  • 2009

    Australia Council for the Arts, New Work Grant
    NAVA Marketing Grant
    Residency at Artspace, Sydney
    Residency at Stone Villa Studios, Sydney
    Residency at Queen Street, Fraser Studios, Sydney

  • 2008

    Residency at Murray’s Cottage, Hill End

  • 2005

    Mamma Lena Cultural Award
    Residency at Murray’s Cottage, Hill End
    Residency at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery
    Residency at Campbelltown Arts Centre

  • 2004

    Residency at Goulburn Regional Art Gallery

  • 2003

    NAVA Marketing Grant
    Visual Arts & Craft Skills and Arts Development
    Australia Council for the Arts, Milan Studio Residency

  • 2000

    Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship


  • Artbank
    Art Gallery of NSW
    Art Gallery of South Australia
    Bathurst Regional Art Gallery
    Campbelltown Arts Centre
    Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art, University of Western Australia
    Gold Coast Gallery at HOTA
    Goulburn Regional Gallery
    Heide Museum of Modern Art
    Maitland Regional Art Gallery
    Macquarie University
    Manly Art Gallery & Museum
    Monash Gallery of Art
    Murray Art Museum Albury
    Museum of Old and New Art
    National Gallery of Victoria
    Orange Regional Gallery
    Shoalhaven Regional Art Gallery
    Sydney Grammar School
    Trinity Grammar School
    Tweed Regional Gallery
    University of New South Wales
    University of Queensland Art Museum
    University of Technology Sydney
    Wagga Wagga Art Gallery
    Western Plains Cultural Centre
    Wollongong Art Gallery
    Private Collections in Australia and Italy


  • Andrew Frost, ‘Missing Picture: Why Australia Needs its own Turner Prize’, The Guardian, 6 April 2019 online

    Giorgia Alù, Journeys Exposed: Women’s Writing, Photography and Mobility, London: Routledge, 2019

    Daniel Mudie Cunningham, ‘Curating Grief’, in Jacqueline Millner & Catriona Moore (eds). Feminist Perspectives on Art: Contemporary Outtakes. London: Routledge, 2018

    Bronwyn Watson, ‘Public Works: Nest 2’, The Weekend Australian, 13-14 May 2017 and online

    Gina Mobayed, ‘Things that Quicken the Heart’, Sturgeon, Issue 6, 2016, p93 and online

    Andrew Frost, ‘Trace, Breath & Touch: Katthy Cavaliere at Carriageworks’, Art Monthly, Issue 293, October 2016

    John McDonald, ‘Packing a Punch’, Sydney Morning Herald: Spectrum, 27-28 August 2016, p14 and online

    Briony Downes, ‘Katthy Cavaliere: Loved’, Art Guide Australia, January/February 2016, Issue 99, p54

    Liza Dezfouli, ‘Katthy Cavaliere: Loved’, Beat, March 2016, online

    Gina Fairley, ‘Katthy Cavaliere: Loved’, ArtsHub, 1 March 2016

    Sarah Kanowski, ‘Katthy Cavaliere: Loved’ [interview with Daniel Mudie Cunningham], ABC Radio National, 27 January 2016, online

    Monica Tan, ‘Katthy Cavaliere: Exploring Grief and Mortality in a Poignant Retrospective’, The Guardian Australia, 17 December 2015, online

    Debbie Cuthbertson, ‘Artist’s Spirit Present in Posthumous MONA Exhibition’, Sydney Morning Herald, 30 November 2015, online

    Andrew Harper, ‘A Matter of Life and Death’, The Mercury: Tasweekend, 28-29 November 2015, p20

    Andrew Frost, ‘Loose Canon – reflecting the taste of the public, not art insiders’, The Guardian Australia, 17 September 2014, online

    Sharne Wolff, ‘Loose Canon’, The Art Life, 29 August 2014, online

    Tracey Clement, ‘Artbank opens the vault’, Art Guide Australia, 20 August 2014

    Daniel Mudie Cunningham, ‘Katthy Cavaliere’ [obituary], Art & Australia, vol. 49, no. 4, 2012

    Daniel Mudie Cunningham, ‘Sculpting with light to illuminate life’s shadows’ [obituary], Sydney Morning Herald, 4 April 2012 and online

    ‘Directors Cut’, The Blake Prize, 2011

    Priscilla Bourne, radio interview with Katthy Cavaliere on 2SER, Sydney, 2009, online here and online here

    Christopher Allen, ‘Want of Spirit: The Blake Prize’, The Weekend Australian Review, 26 September 2009, p12-13

    Fenella Kernebone, segment on 24/25 at Artspace, Sunday Arts, ABC TV, 1/16 November 2008

    Miriam Siers, ‘Discovering the Magic of Camera Obscura’, Western Advocate, 3 April 2008, p7

    Richard Perram, ‘Good response to upside down inside out workshops’, Weekend Advocate, 15 March 2008, p14

    Richard Perram, ‘The Arts Series of exciting workshops for high school students’, Weekend Advocate, 9 Feb 2008, p12

    Daniel Mudie Cunningham, untitled home [exhibition catalogue], MOP Projects, Sydney

    Trevor Langlands, radio interview on 2MCR, Campbelltown, 2006

    Melanie Darmody, ‘Ghostly Tales in Big talking Book’, Macarthur Chronicle, 30 May 2006, p22

    Chiara Pazzano, interview with Katthy Cavaliere on SBS Italian Radio, 2005

    Armando Tornari, ‘Mamma Lena Foundation Cultural Prize’, La Fiamma’, 27 July 2005, p18

    Sarah Gurich, ‘Artists perform at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery’, Weekend Advocate’, 14 May 2005

    Laura Parker, ‘Real Life on Show, Macarthur Advertiser, 19 January 2005, p1/17

    Jennifer Lamb, ‘Room for a Story: Performance Art Comes to the Gallery’, Goulburn Post, 21 May 2004

    Darryl Fernance, ‘Art exhibition with a twist’, Goulburn Post, 31 May 2004, p1

    Television interview with Katthy Cavaliere, Tele-Italian News, Sarteano, Tuscany, 20 August 2003

    Mattioli, ‘Le performance di Katthy Cavaliere, l’Australiana nata a Sarteano’, Centritalia, September 2003, p24

    Bologni, ‘Le installazioni di Katthy Cavaliere’, Montepiesi, July-August 2003, p15

    Bologni, ‘Arte Moderna’, Montepiesi, September-October 2003, p20

    Peccatori, M.V. ‘Sarteano ultimo giorno per la mostra di Katthy Cavaliere’, La Nazione, 27 August 2003, p14

    Marina Abromovic,  A. Di Vettese,  G. Pietrantonio, ‘Katthy Cavaliere: brown paper’, Banca delle Idea/Idea Bank’, Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como, Charta Milano 2002, p74/87

    Stefania Briccola, ‘Arte Contemporanea, Vestiti energetici, mostra da indossare’ La Provincia, 22 July 2001

    Katthy Cavaliere, ‘Artist’s Choice: Ken Unsworth’s The skidderump’, Art and Australia, Vol 38 No 4 Winter 2001, p540-541

    Courtney Kidd, ‘The Galleries: Patience Takes Prize’, Sydney Morning Herald, 2000

    Heather Johnson, ‘Art prizes – who wins?’, Art and Australia, Vol 38 No 2 Summer 2000, p286

    Armando Tornari, ‘The 2000 Recipient is Katthy Cavaliere…’, La Fiamma, 2000 p12

    Andrew Frost, ‘Undiscovered Talents of Australian Art’, Australian Art Collector, Issue 12, April-June 2000

    Bruce James, ‘Monster Hunt’, Sydney Morning Herald, 16 October 1999, p13

    Adriana Alvarez, ‘Gallery 19 Very Inner City’, Revolver, 30 September 1998, p66

    Armando Tornari, ‘Utterance’, La Fiamma, 7 September 1998, p32

    Paul Handly, ‘Conceal’, La Fiamma, 6 June 1996, p39

    Armando Tornari, ‘Conceal’, La Fiamma, June 1996, p39

    Armando Tornari, ‘The Young Italo/Australians Nominations’, La Fiamma, August 1995, p32

    Armando Tornari, ‘Sfumato’, La Fiamma, 17 October 1994, p32

    George Alexander, Sfumato-an Italo/Australian Exhibition [exhibition catalogue], October 1994

    Felicity Fenner, ‘Echoes of Old Masters’, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 August 1994, p19

    Buhler & E. Nickolson, OBJECTions [exhibition catalogue], October 1993


Katthy Cavaliere: Loved was a posthumous survey exhibition at the Museum of Old and New Art (2015-16) and Carriageworks (2016). Curated by Daniel Mudie Cunningham, Loved provided an insight into Cavaliere’s practice, where objects acquire an aura of love and trauma and tell the story of a life.

Photos: Remi Chauvin

Photos: Zan Wimberley

Museum of Old and
New Art, Hobart

28 November 2015 – 28 March 2016


5 August – 11 September 2016

Curated by Daniel Mudie Cunningham

Katthy Cavaliere: Loved was a retrospective of the Sydney artist (1972–2012) which opened at the Museum of Old and New Art in 2016 and toured to Carriageworks in 2016. Loved provided an insight into a private life presented to the public through objects; photographs, video documentation of performance pieces, and everyday, readymade things that are imbued with an aura of love and trauma.

Curated by Daniel Mudie Cunningham, Loved assembled installations, videos, photographs, mixed media installations and more, to comprise a portrait of the artist through more than 15 major works from early to late career; 1998–2011.

“As much as her name was a typo”, said curator Daniel Mudie Cunningham, “Katthy was an artist who considered the mistakes, accidents and emptiness of existence, what she called ‘reality’s black tunnel of nothingness,’ as an imaginary space of wonder capable of suspending art and life.”

Loved was the first public exhibition of two significant works; empty stockings: full of love (2010; performance installation compromised of her mother’s stockings, work uniform, piles of clothes, shredded bills, baskets, human hair, and other mementos with a recorded song from her family archive) and afterlife (2011 photograph of a large hourglass containing the ashes of her mother, with the artist’s shadow looming above it).

Suspended Moment

Suspended Moment: The Katthy Cavaliere Fellowship is a unique suite of fellowships supporting female-identifying Australian artists working at the nexus of performance and installation. Named after the Italian born Australian artist Katthy Cavaliere (1972-2012), the fellowship is made possible with funds from the Estate of Katthy Cavaliere in partnership with Carriageworks, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) and the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) to present these ambitious new commissions.

Artists Frances Barrett (NSW), Giselle Stanborough (NSW) and Sally Rees (Tas) are the recipients of Suspended Moment: The Katthy Cavaliere Fellowship, comprising three grants of $100,000 awarded to three female artists or collectives for the purpose of realising an ambitious new work. In 2020 Suspended Moment will be a cross-institutional presentation with each partnering institution presenting one of the three commissions.


‘Katthy’ was a spelling mistake at birth.

Katthy Cavaliere had a lifelong project of packing, storing and transporting the stuff of everyday life – the wreckage of her personal possessions, ‘the dead among us’ – and transforming it into art. Her belongings held a symbolic significance; she used them to banish the past, but in doing so, was never quite able to let go of anything. Katthy’s private life was made public through an art practice fashioned from everyday utilitarian belongings like chairs, clothes, toys, bags and boxes – the kind of things a voodoo witch might imbue with charm.

I first met the artist in 1996 when she had just completed her Masters in Art at the College of Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales. This began an occasional professional and personal association that continued until her untimely death in 2012. As such I will refer to her as Katthy, not by last name. Katthy’s name was important to her – the fact that it was a typo made it stand out. Her father wanted to call her Caterina, after her grandmother. Her mother wanted her name to be more ‘modern’ so she updated this to ‘Kathy’. When registering the birth certificate, her father misspelt it. Later in life Katthy embraced the typo, so much so that her mother gave her a necklace with her name spelt out in white-gold letters. Katthy wore the necklace constantly, like it was making a statement: everyone she encountered could know her by name even if they didn’t know her at all. ‘When I was a child I wondered what it would be like to meet everyone in the whole world,’ she wrote in her diary.

Extract by author Daniel Mudie Cunningham.
Purchase the book to keep reading.

Katthy Cavaliere

Katthy Cavaliere 
By Daniel Mudie Cunningham
Publisher: Brown Paper with Museum of Old and New Art
Publication Date: 2016
Hardcover with slipcase, 202 pages
ISBN: 9780646948294

For enquiries contact: katthycavaliere@gmail.com

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