A painting of space

Welcome to the Power Institute. 

We are a Foundation based at the University of Sydney dedicated to understanding the visual world, through art and visual culture. We support research, publish texts, and organise events.

JW Power, [Untitled], c. 1938, Chau Chak Wing Museum, PW1961.347.


Cover of book "Chinese Toggles"

Chinese Toggles: Culture in Miniature
By: Shuxia Chen and Min-Jung Kim

This book introduces the understudied cultural artifact of the Chinese belt toggle, known as zhuizi (坠子). Similar to their better-known Japanese counterparts netsuke, these small carved ornaments offer a rare glimpse into everyday life in early modern China. Toggles were a feature of traditional Chinese garments from the 17th century but were scarcely collected. A collaboration between the Powerhouse Museum and Chau Chak Wing Museum at the University of Sydney, this publication reveals one of the world’s largest collections of these extraordinary objects.

Ian Burn: Collected Writings 1966–1993
By: Ann Stephen

Ian Burn has been described as many things: an activist, a trade-unionist, a journalist, an art critic, a curator and an art historian—or, as he once described himself in a moment of self-deprecating alienation, ‘an ex-conceptual artist’. Edited by Burn’s friend, frequent collaborator and eminent art historian, Dr Ann Stephen, this volume brings together 49 pieces of Burn’s own agile and expansive writings alongside a vast collection of his artworks. The collection concludes with reflections on Burn’s life and work from prominent figures and past collaborators in the form of memorial lectures.