NGV celebrating more than 200 Victorian-based artists

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NGV celebrating more than 200 Victorian-based artists
Melbourne Now, 2023. Artists and designers at the announcement event on 18 October. Melbourne Now, 2023, opened on 24 March 2023 and will end 20 August 2023 at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia. Photo: Tim Carrafa.

MELBOURNE.- The second edition of the ground-breaking exhibition Melbourne is now open at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia since March 2023. Bold in scope and scale, the exhibition highlights the extraordinary work of more than 200 Victorian-based artists, designers, studios and firms whose practices are shaping the cultural landscape of Melbourne and Victoria.

With more than 200 ambitious and thought-provoking projects on display, including more than 70 world-premiere works commissioned especially by the NGV for this major presentation, the exhibition highlights the vibrant creativity of local emerging, mid-career and senior practitioners and collectives – including many who are presenting at the NGV for the very first time.

The large-scale exhibition traverses all levels of The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, including contemporary interventions across the Australian Art and First Nations permanent collection displays, and highlights a diverse range of contemporary disciplines across fashion, jewellery, painting, sculpture, architecture, ceramics, video, virtual reality, performance, photography, printmaking, product design and publishing. Exhibiting artists including Christian Thompson AO, 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’ constructed from thousands of computer fans by emerging artist Rel Pham, which draws on the artist’s Vietnamese heritage and interest in gaming culture. Blurring the boundaries between the digital and physical realms, this neon-lit installation combines the visual language of technology, classical Asian architecture and religious iconography.

Lou Hubbard’s Walkers with Dinosaurs, 2021–23, sees a mass of inflatable walking frames tumbling out into the foyer of the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia’s third floor. Presented alongside two stacks of colourful, dinosaur-shaped children’s chairs, with humour, the sculptural installation poignantly evokes the inevitabilities of our shared mortality.

Made in collaboration with Kyoto-based lantern studio Kojima Shōten, Larrakia, Wardaman and Karajarri artist Jenna Lee will illuminate the gallery with a series of large-scale paper lanterns. For the lantern form, Lee draws inspiration from traditional Gulumerridjin (Larrakia) dilly bags, a traditional woven bag designed and used by First Nations women. Balarr (To become light) expands the artist’s interest in paper-based craft and provides an intricate expression of shared ancestry across oceans.

Welcoming visitors to NGV Australia, Lee Darroch’s 10-metre-long installation Duta Ganha Woka (Save Mother Earth Now) comprises driftwood collected on Country. Representing men and women from the 38 Indigenous language groups of Victoria, the driftwood pieces are connected by jute string which illustrates the abiding connection between First Nations peoples from the South-East.

Also on display is Troy Emery’s largest sculptural and most ambitious work to date, standing over three metres high. In this textile-based work, bright-coloured pom-poms are assembled and pinned over an underlying form to create a large-scale feline sculpture. The work explores humankind’s relationship with animals and their historical representations in museums and in taxidermied form.

The exhibition also includes focused displays that offer an in-depth exploration of particular themes, media and technical innovations. The hugely popular Design Wall returns with a large-scale installation celebrating consumer products designed in Melbourne over the past decade, including guitars, ladders, pillows, luggage, motorbikes and more. Representing 25 Melbourne design studios, the Design Wall brings together designers, companies and brands that are shaping the way we live, work and play, including skate wear brand Globe International, Robert Gordon Pottery and pillow manufacturer Tontine.

Ranging from couture to streetwear, Fashion Now highlights the work of 18 local designers with more than 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 gown by J’Aton Couture, commissioned by the NGV for this presentation. The selected works highlight how fashion is embedded in, and reflects, a city’s identity.

Slippery Images challenges the representational 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 features a surprising array of photographic works that are cut, collaged, painted and pierced, as well as those displayed in unconventional ways, including images that are suspended, three dimensional and even wearable. The artists on display continue a long-held tradition of enquiry into photography and images, presenting works that record the ‘real world’ while simultaneously abstracting reality.

Steve Dimopoulos MP, Minister for Creative Industries, said: ‘Art starts with the artist, and with the help of sustained government investment, Victoria is home to some of the world’s best. Melbourne is the cultural capital of Australia and this exhibition is an awe-inspiring celebration of our State’s creative industries.

’ Tony Ellwood AM, Director, NGV, said: ‘Melbourne Now is a showstopping and dynamic survey of work by more than 200 leading Victorian-based practitioners, offering an exciting and thought-provoking snapshot of the limitless creativity empowering this city and its surrounds. Ranging from large-scale, never-before-seen commissions through to moments of quiet reflection and contemplation, this exhibition highlights the diverse talents of Victorian artists and designers who are at the forefront of contemporary practice world-wide.

‘The 2023 exhibition marks the ten-year anniversary of the inaugural presentation and offers an unprecedented opportunity to reflect on how Melbourne and Victoria have transformed, changed and grown over the past decade. No other exhibition series reflects Victorian life and culture with such depth, nuance and breadth. We are excited to build upon this incredible legacy with this new, blockbuster presentation of Victorian creativity in 2023,’ said Ellwood.

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