Review: Sam Kissajukian: Museum of Modernia

An insightful and visually striking exhibition and comedy journey

comedy review (adelaide) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 24 Feb 2024
34173 large
Sam Kissajukian

As Australia was coming out of pandemic lockdown, Sam Kissajukian decided to give up his career as a stand-up comedian to become a visual artist. A few months later, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In those experiences he developed his solo show, Museum of Modernia, and his art exhibit, Paintings of Modernia, both being presented at the Immersive Light and Art (ILA) centre.

Paintings of Modernia is what greets you when you enter the ILA. Its gallery space plays host to a selection of Kissajukian’s recent works, accompanied by impish artist statements which poke fun at gallery tropes and Kissajukian himself. Cuneiform-like figures dominate his painting style, most strikingly in the sunset-like Where’s Wally couplet.

The exhibit serves as companion piece to his solo show. In Museum of Modernia, Sam Kissajukian details his vacation from self-awareness that he took during a five-month-long manic episode (he claims it as a record). This had him speed-running the development of modern art while cold-contacting hedge-fund managers and tech entrepreneurs to pitch them conceptual investment opportunities. Surprisingly, and hilariously, he found modest success in these ventures.

Modernia culminates with Kissajukian’s tour of the titular museum, which is cleverly informed by his clinical insights into mania. In the immersive theatre setting it’s visually impressive, and Kissajukian’s storytelling skills are engaging enough to compensate for some technical difficulties that occurred on the night. Be sure to stay behind for a personal tour of the gallery.



Sam Kissajukian: Paintings of Modernia, ILA, until 16 March

Sam Kissajukian: Museum of Modernia, ILA, until 17 March