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The second edition of the inspiring exhibition Melbourne Now has opened at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Fed Square. 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.
Melbourne Now will run until 20 August 2023.
The free exhibition features 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.
Bold in scope and scale, Melbourne Now 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 exhibition showcases 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 include 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.
Emerging artist Rel Pham has created an impressive neon-lit Temple installation that is constructed from thousands of computer fans, which draws on the artist’s Vietnamese heritage and interest in gaming culture.
Blurring the boundaries between the digital and physical realms, this installation combines the visual language of technology, classical Asian architecture and religious iconography.
Taree McKenzie’s Pepper’s ghost effect, circles, works across video and installation, exploring the perceptual effects of colour, light and space. As visitors move through the installation their movements influence the nature of the illusion.
Lou Hubbard’s Walkers with Dinosaurs, 2021–23, sees a large pile of inflatable walking frames tumbling out into the foyer of the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia’s third floor.
Made in collaboration with Kyoto-based lantern studio Kojima Shōten, Larrakia, Wardaman and Karajarri artist Jenna Lee has illuminated 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.
Troy Emery’s work explores humankind’s relationship with animals and their historical representations in museums and in taxidermied form. In his textile-based work, bright-coloured pom-poms are assembled and pinned over an underlying form to create a large-scale (standing over three metres high) feline sculpture.
Atong Atem premieres three new photographic self-portraits. Composed in the vibrant, staged yet intimate style she has become known for, Atem’s portraits draw – and build – on the history of studio photography in Africa, in particular, renowned Malian photographers Malick Sidibé and Seydou Keïta.
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.
James Lemon has created an immersive, participatory work combining ceramics, painting, textiles and digital media. In a nod to philosopher Thomas Nagel’s 1974 paper ‘What is it Like to Be a Bat?’, Swarming asks the onlooker: What is it like to be a bee? Inside an ultraviolet hive of activity, adults and children alike are invited to interact with soft pupae forms, learning through play about the importance and fragility of bee life in our ecosystems – and to human survival. Part playground and part photo booth.
Melbourne Now is on display from 24 March to 20 August 2023 at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Fed Square, Melbourne. Free entry
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