The founders of the ICA intended the word ‘contemporary’ as a provocation, one that would instil a continuous questioning as to what constitutes and informs the arts of the present, and how the present is informed by contemporary arts. Exhibitions at the ICA have historically looked to expand the horizons of 'visual' arts, and often tested the boundaries of conventional gallery presentation.
Individual exhibitions at the ICA are considered as part of an ongoing programme, where strands of thinking both reflect back and are carried forward. They centre on the work of artists from different local and global contexts, whose approaches to art production share principles of critical enquiry, often departing from conventional gallery presentations. As part of a ‘centre of research and creation’, the ICA’s exhibitions and gallery spaces are in constant dialogue with programmes occurring throughout the building.
The ICA is a site for the production of new artworks, and for presenting existing works: supporting artists in developing exhibition-based projects over an extended period of time, and locating an artist’s ideas and methodologies in relation to wider cultural and critical practices.