Melbourne Now, the latest exhibition from the National Gallery of Victoria, explores the various ways in which artists see and contribute to our city, and to Melbourne as a city with a unique and dynamic cultural identity. Ahead of Melbourne Now’s public opening, a media preview was held with NGV director, Tony Ellwood, CEO of Mercedes Benz Australia, Jüergen Sauer, and Heidi Victoria, the State Minister of the Arts, Women’s Affairs & Consumer Affairs, who addressed the crowd on what makes this exhibition so special. Comprised of photographs, prints, sculptures, fashion, live art, installations, workshops and more, the exhibition is one of tremendous scope, echoed by Mr Ellwood, who spoke passionately about the scale and innovation of the exhibition.
With 30 curators, more than 300 artists, and stretching over two venues, the exhibition is a celebration of all things Melbourne – from our iconic architecture to our labyrinth of lane ways, our street art and our love of fashion and design. Their works celebrate the diversity of mediums and stretch to every facet of the arts, including dance and sound. “Melbournians have a strong affinity and appreciation of the arts, I think this is what makes Melbourne such a unique and interesting city”, observed Mr Sauer, a sentiment that is the heart of the exhibition.
“It’s going to be the biggest thing that the gallery has ever done”, said Ms Victoria, recalling early discussions about the project. “We are not just the cultural capital of Australia, but one of the cultural capitals of the world”.
Highlights of the exhibition include Initiation by Reko Rennie, redefining what it means to be Indigenous in contemporary cities using symbols of the Indigenous flag, Jean-Michel Basquiat-esque crowns, and others to subvert the negative stereotypes associated with the community, Stephen Bram’s Level 3, E29, NGV, 2013, which is part sculpture, part architecture, the contemporary jewellery installation, and Toni Maticevski’s Triptych in White, a three-tirered sculptural work which is suspended in the towering stairwell of the Ian Potter Centre.
For the fashion minded, Anastasia Klose has erected a ‘Knock-Off Shop’, stocking slightly misspelt, definitely tongue-in-cheek artist editioned tees in the spirit of pirated designer wear; for example, ‘Claude Monéy’, ‘Jeff Kouns’. There is also Designer Thinking, which features eight independent fashion labels each contributing two outfits to an installation that highlights the energy, diversity and talent of local and independent fashion design.
Not all the works are stationary, though; You Me and the Flock, by Juan Ford invites you to add birds onto the sky-scape displayed, the audience determining where the flock is heading, Aetheric Plexus (Broken X) by Marco Fusinato is a dispersed sculpture that momentarily engulfs the viewer in sound and light, and INSIDE VIANNE AGAIN created by Helen Grogan and Anne-Marie May, is a film projection of choreography.
The exhibition also boasts talks, performances, master classes, demonstrations, live Q&As, and The Kitchen Garden, where you can mix soil, pot, plant, and return later in the summer to harvest – giving you plenty of reasons to visit more than once.
The exhibition is open to the public now through to the 23rd of March 2014 at the National gallery of Victoria. Entry is free. For more information about Melbourne Now, visit ngv.vic.gov.au. There is an app available on the App Store and Google Play to help you navigate your way, and you can be part of the conversation by using #MelbourneNow on social media.