DEPTH & DIVERSITY

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Published on March 09, 2018 with No Comments

With the inaugural NGV Triennial , Melbourne’s ramping it up to be the world’s centre of art and design.

Words EMMA RAMSAY
Images NGV TRIENNIAL

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Yayoi Kusama, Japan.

 

A seasoned art critic and design enthusiast once departed a sage and sound advice to an art novice: if you walk slowly, pause frequently and take your time to view a piece, anyone can pass of as someone with a nose for art. Well, at the inaugural National Gallery of Victoria’s simply-named NGV Triennial, running til 15 April, 2018 no one should feel inferior nor have the need to feign interest. Because at this large scale exhibition, not only is there international art, but design and architecture, installation, moving image and interactive works exploring new media and technology. Visitors can expect to see printing, robotics, film, painting, drawing, installation and fashion design, tapestry and sculpture. There will be something to identify with, and with more than 100 artists and designers from 32 countries taking part, it will be interesting to see how the public embraces the NGV Triennial.

Highlights from the NGV Triennial will be a number of world premiere NGV-led commissions, including a major new participatory work by Yayoi Kusama (Japan), in which visitors will ‘obliterate’ a room with flowers; an installation of elaborate, Marie Antoinette-inspired haute couture gowns from Chinese couturier Guo Pei; and a project by ‘smell designer’ Sissel Tolaas (Norway), in which she recreated the scents of Melbourne. Though there is a lack grand narrative for the exhibition, the multi-disciplinary focus allows for an exhibition that induces viewers to pause, scrutinise and more importantly, stand back and enjoy the show. After all, it’s free.

Presenting a snapshot of international contemporary art and design, the NGV Triennial will give voice to some of the pressing issues that are being explored by artists and designers today, including the social, cultural, scientific and physiological questions of our contemporary world. Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV, said, “We believe that the ambition, depth and diversity of the artists and designers in the inaugural NGV Triennial will ensure our audience has a truly unforgettable cultural experience. This exhibition offers an unprecedented opportunity to build the NGV’s collection of contemporary art and design, and we hope the NGV Triennial will become a critical and ongoing asset for Victoria.” As part of the NGV Triennial, twenty large-scale new artworks have been commissioned by the NGV, creating a legacy for both the NGV Collection and wider community. These major NGV commissions include architecture, design, sculpture, installation, moving image and interactive works exploring new media and technology.

Notable exhibition highlights commissioned by the NGV include Alexandra Kehayoglou (Argentina) who uses her family’s traditional carpet-making techniques, creating a monumental 46 sqm carpet landscape titled Santa Cruz River that documents one of Argentina’s most contested landscapes; a video by Candice Breitz (South Africa) that reveals the personal histories of six refugees, in which Hollywood actors Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin give voice to their stories and bring the privilege of celebrity into contrast with the hardship of the refugee experience; Formafantasma (The Netherlands) presents a world-premiere collection of conceptual design objects based on commercial office furniture that interrogates the impact of sourcing precious metals for consumer products, revealing the ways in which design defines what materials will become while often failing to communicate their source or potential afterlife; and Richard Mosse (Ireland) with his three-channel video that uses a high-tech long-range military camera to capture events surrounding the crisis in Syria and subsequent flood of refugees, jointly commissioned by the NGV and London’s Barbican Art Gallery.

 

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