The second edition of the groundbreaking exhibition Melbourne Now will be on view at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia from March 2023.
Bold in scope and scale, the exhibition highlights the extraordinary work of over 200 Victoria-based artists, designers, studios and businesses whose practices shape the cultural landscape of Melbourne and Victoria.
With over 200 ambitious and thought-provoking projects on display, including over 60 world premiere works specially commissioned by the NGV for this major presentation, the exhibition highlights the vibrant creativity of emerging, mid-career and senior local practitioners and collectives. – many of whom are presenting at the NGV for the very first time.
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The large-scale exhibition spans all levels of the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, including contemporary interventions in the exhibitions of the permanent collection of Australian and First Nations art, and highlights a wide range of contemporary disciplines in the fields of fashion, jewelry, painting, sculpture, architecture, ceramics, video, virtual reality, performance, photography, printmaking, product design and publishing.
Exhibiting artists include Christian Thompson, Esther Stewart, Atong Atem, Mia Boe, Kait James, Pitcha Makin Fellas, Layla Vardo, Nicholas Mangan, Fiona Abicare, Meagan Streader, Sean Hogan, Amos Gebhardt and Lisa Reid.
Never-before-seen commissions include a room-sized ‘temple’ built from thousands of computer fans by emerging artist Rel Pham, which draws inspiration from the artist’s Vietnamese heritage and interest for gaming culture. Blurring the lines between the digital and physical realms, this neon-lit installation combines the visual language of technology, classic Asian architecture and religious iconography.
by Lou Hubbard Walkers with dinosaurs, 2021–23, sees a mass of inflatable walkers falling into the lobby of the Ian Potter Centre: the third floor of NGV Australia. Displayed alongside two stacks of colorful children’s chairs shaped like a dinosaur, the humorously sculptural installation poignantly evokes the inevitabilities of our common mortality.
Made in collaboration with Kyoto-based lantern studio Kojima Shōten, artist Larrakia/Wardaman/Karajarri Jenna Lee will illuminate the gallery with a series of hand-painted paper lanterns shaped like dilly bags Gulumerridjin, a traditional woven bag designed and used by First Nations women. Balarr (Becoming Light)explores the relationship between light and dark and is inspired by the artist’s research into ancestral objects, including the similarities between his own practice of papercraft and Kyoto-style paper lanterns.
Welcoming visitors to NGV Australia, Lee Darroch’s 10 meter long installation Duta Ganha Woka (Save Mother Earth) includes driftwood collected on Country. Representing men and women from Victoria’s 38 Indigenous language groups, the pieces of driftwood are tied together with jute twine that illustrates the deep bond between the First Nations peoples of this region.
Also on display is Troy Emery’s largest and most ambitious sculptural work to date, standing over three meters tall. In the artist’s soft sculptural style, the exuberant textile depicts a feline-like animal.
The exhibition also includes focused exhibits that offer in-depth exploration of particular themes, media and technical innovations. The very popular design wall returns with a large-scale installation celebrating consumer products designed in Melbourne over the past decade, including guitars, ladders, pillows, luggage, motorcycles and more. Representing 23 design studios across Melbourne, the Design Wall brings together designers, companies and brands that shape the way we live, work and play, including skatewear brand Globe International, Robert Gordon Pottery and the maker of Tontine pillows.
From couture to streetwear, fashion now highlights the work of 18 local designers with over 30 recent acquisitions and loans, including Ngali, Chris Ran Lin, Arnsdorf, Blair Archibald, Nixi Killick, Erik Yvon, Strateas Carlucci and Verner. On display will be a glamorous dress from J’Aton Couture, commissioned by the NGV for this presentation. The selected works highlight how fashion fits into and reflects a city’s identity.
Slippery Images challenges the figurative use of photography through the work of 12 artists whose exciting images reveal the loose, fluid and slippery aspects of the photographic medium. Slippery Images presents a startling range of cut, glued, painted and drilled photographic works, as well as those presented in unconventional ways, including suspended, three-dimensional and even portable images. The artists on display continue a longstanding investigation of photography, presenting works that record the “real world” while abstracting reality.
Other featured commissions and displays include:
- Melbourne Print Wallet Now brings together twelve new prints commissioned especially for the exhibition by established and emerging artists, including Stefan Wirihana Mau and Deanna Hitti. Many prints in the portfolio were produced solely by the artist, while others highlight collaborative efforts between an artist and a specialist printer. The diversity of artwork reflects Melbourne’s vibrant and thriving print community and will be available for purchase from the NGV Design Shop.
- Georgia Banks created Damn it, an AI chatbot developed using data from questionnaires completed by banks during the application process for several popular Australian reality TV shows. Over a period of six months, Banks spoke with Damn it every day, to see if they could fall in love with each other. During the exhibition, visitors are invited to see if they too can fall in love with Damn it.
- Inspired by the rich history of Australian Community Halls, a long-standing and ubiquitous presence in many metropolitan and regional communities that function as important and much-loved gathering spaces, melbourne now own community hall will bring people together through a daily rotation of interactive and contemplative moments, ranging from performances, discussions, community events and workshops, to films, sound and opportunities for silent reflection.
- A collaboration between NGV and Craft Victoria, Ships will showcase the work of 15 artists, craft and design practitioners whose creative practices explore the ship, including Vipoo Srivilasa, Zhu Ohmu, Kate Jones, Yoko Ozawa and Claire Bridge. The ship is an enduring cultural and social object that merges utility with form, the exhibition showcases objects created using innovative and diverse materials – from ceramics and fiber to mixed media and experimental biomaterials.
- Civic architecture examines five award-winning civic projects by Melbourne architects who have been catalysts for transformation in different neighborhoods including Dandenong, Broadmeadows and Geelong. The survey is accompanied by a series of models from the emerging practice Simulaa, which captures the everyday architecture – street furniture, utilities and objects – found in these places.
- No house style brings together leading and emerging Melbourne-based furniture designers and architects whose contrasting styles are emblematic of the city’s creative spirit. Refuting mainstream design trends, these designers and architects are helping to establish an image of contemporary Melbourne architecture and design that is independent, original, plural and expressive of contemporary issues and values.
- A collaboration between Dr. Carolyn Briggs AM Senior Boonwurrung Elder N’arweet and Palawa Built Environment Practitioner Sarah Lynn Rees, Gathering space: Ngargee Djeembana brings together First Nations philosophical knowledge, design thinking and the built environment. Composed of over 55 materials, from wood, stone and minerals to sand, water and glass, Gathering space is an intentionally tactile installation and visitors are encouraged to touch, smell and feel the materials on display, subverting expectations of contemporary Western gallery spaces. The work will also be a place for exchanges, discussions and performances.
- by Shaun Gladwell Pass electrical storms is a participatory extended reality (XR) experience that invites contemplation of universes both within and beyond the body. Informed by the vast scale of Charles and Ray Eames’ seminal short documentary, powers of ten (1977), which explores the universe from a macro perspective down to a single atom, the artwork invites participants to lie on the ground and experience the original 1977 film with additional XR visual layers seen at through a head-mounted device. Supported by major partner Deakin University.
- Mia Salsjö developed A score for Federation Square, a new composition, especially for the architecture of Federation Square. In response to detailed architectural drawings, architects’ annotations, and construction material selections, Salsjö translated and interpreted these hand-drawn and machine-made lines, turning them into code. The work is supported by Federation Square.
- The Colony and the Guardians by Elvis Richardson includes a series of powder pink portals wrought with the most commonly used synonyms of the word “establishment”. As visitors interact with the functional doors of the gallery space, they are led to ponder the question: who are the gatekeepers?
- Half playground, half photo booth, the participatory work of James Lemon tingling invites audiences of all ages to learn through play the importance and fragility of bee life in our ecosystems – and to human survival. Combining ceramics, painting, textiles and digital media, tingling is a hive of ultraviolet activity and exhibits interactive soft pupae shapes.
- Babel Bookcase, curated by Brad Haylock, brings together a selection of Melbourne’s best graphic and communications designs from the past decade, from posters, books, fonts, websites and apps, to branding, venue design and experimental practices. The exhibition is inspired by the Tower of Babel, a mythical structure from which all the languages of the world emanate.
- Within the Galleries of Impressionism will be an immersive installation of Julia Ciccarone’s meticulously detailed paintings. Ciccarone’s metaphorical imagery suggests that nature contains the transcendent and mystical truths of human connectedness and renewal. The viewer will be invited to sit down and become part of the artist’s panorama.
Melbourne Now is on display from March 24 to August 20, 2023 at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia in Fed Square, Melbourne. FREE ENTRANCE. Further information is available on the NGV website: NGV.MELBOURNE