NGV Triennial: a gallery-wide exhibition

The NGV has opened their doors for the first time in months and boy have we missed it. Against all challenges, they have managed to launch an impressive gallery-wide exhibition called NGV Triennial. This large-scale exhibition of international contemporary art, design and architecture is now showing at the NGV until 18 April 2021.

Free and exclusive to Melbourne, this is the second instalment of NGV Triennial, which is held every three years. The inaugural exhibition, held in 2017, remains the NGV’s most attended exhibition to date, with 1.23 million visitors.

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NGV Triennial: a gallery-wide exhibition
Image: Plastocene – Marine Mutants from a Disposable World, 2020, Porky Hefer

NGV Triennial explores some of the most globally relevant and pressing issues of our time, including isolation, representation and speculation on the future. Featuring 86 projects by more than 100 artists, designers and collectives from more than 30 countries.

‘THE NGV TRIENNIAL OFFERS VISITORS A SIGNIFICANT OPPORTUNITY TO EXPLORE HOW WE USE ART TO EXPRESS OURSELVES, COMMUNICATE AND CONSIDER THE WORLD AS IT IS, WHILE ALSO ASKING HOW WE WOULD LIKE IT TO BE. ARTISTS, DESIGNERS AND ARCHITECTS OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY PERFORM A VITAL ROLE IN GIVING FORM TO OUR COLLECTIVE IMAGINATION, FEARS AND ASPIRATIONS. WE ARE ALL LIVING IN A WORLD IN FLUX: THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A MORE IMPORTANT MOMENT TO CELEBRATE HUMAN CAPABILITY THAN NOW.’

TONY ELLWOOD AM

DIRECTOR, NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA

NGV Triennial: a gallery-wide exhibition
Image: Natural History 2020, David Allen Burns and Austin Young / Fallen Fruit

Featuring works by Aïda Muluneh (Ethiopia) Alicja Kwade (Germany), Cerith Wyn Evans (Wales), Dhambit Mununggurr (Australia), Faye Toogood (England), Fred Wilson (USA), Hannah Brontë (Australia), Jeff Koons (USA), Joi. T Arcand (Canada), JR (France), Kengo Kuma (Japan), Liam Young (Australia), Misaki Kawai (Japan), Patricia Urquiola (Spain), Porky Hefer (South Africa) and Refik Anadol (Turkey).

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Exhibition highlights include:

NGV Triennial: a gallery-wide exhibition
Image: Australian birds, Julian Opie

Julian Opie

Outside the gallery positioned along St Kilda Road, there are 20 LED screens of animated Australian Birds by Julian Opie (b. England). Opie’s unique style, inspired by hieroglyphs depicted in ancient Egyptian art, returns to the NGV following his 2018 exhibition.

NGV Triennial: a gallery-wide exhibition
Image: Quantum memories 2020, Refik Anadol

Refik Anadol

When entering the gallery foyer you are welcomed by a massive 10 metres high and wide multimedia installation by Refik Anadol (b. Turkey). It uses artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and quantum computing to visualise our digitised memories of nature. The artwork swirls around into different colours and patterns, it’s mesmerising to watch.

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Moja Moja Life: Misaki Kawai for Kids
Image: Moja Moja Life: Misaki Kawai for Kids, Misaki Kawai

Misaki Kawai

On the ground floor, Japanese artist Misaki Kawai (b. Japan) presents Moja Moja Life: Misaki Kawai for Kids. Misaki Kawai brings her playful cast of characters to the NGV Kids Gallery. This immersive environment inspired by dog parks features a display of colourful fury dog sculptures alongside a puppet studio and multimedia experience for kids.

NGV Triennial: a gallery-wide exhibition
Image: Tomoaki Suzuki

Tomoaki Suzuki

Also on the ground floor is the incredible work of Tomoaki Suzuki (b. Japan). Suzuki is best known for his scaled-down, full-body sculptures of individuals, carved in wood using traditional Japanese techniques. The works depict friends or acquaintances that the artist has met in his hometown of London, offering a snapshot of contemporary and urban culture as well as modes of individual expression. These fragile sculptures are pretty amazing, if you are taking small kids in with you must hold their hand at all times. The NGV limits the number of people in this area, so you may have to line up.

NGV Triennial: a gallery-wide exhibition
Image: WeltenLinie 2017, Alicja Kwade

Alicja Kwade

On the second floor, one of the world’s most prominent contemporary artists Alicja Kwade (b. Germany) has carefully placed and paired objects to achieve an optical illusion walk-through installation. My kids really enjoyed this artwork and the tricks it played on your eyes.

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NGV Triennial: a gallery-wide exhibition
Image: Plastocene – Marine Mutants from a Disposable World, 2020, Porky Hefer

Porky Hefer

Also on the second floor is ‘Plastocene’ by Porky Hefer (b. South Africa). This major new work consists of a series of large-scale handmade environments populated with imaginary sea creatures from a dystopian future. The collection includes a 14 metre-wide octopus constructed of giant hand-felted cigarette butts, draws attention to ocean pollution by imagining mutant sea creatures evolved from plastic bags, straws, and coffee cups. Kids can feel the texture of the giant creature but can’t climb on it which is a big temptation for the smaller kids.

NGV Triennial: a gallery-wide exhibition
Image: Venus 2016–20, Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons

Before leaving the second floor be sure to see the larger-than-life mirror-polished sculpture of Venus, Roman goddess of love, by American artist Jeff Koons (b. USA).

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NGV Triennial: a gallery-wide exhibition
Image: Salon et Lumière

Salon et Lumière

On the third floor was the last installation we saw and our favourite piece of art in the exhibition. Artist Salon et Lumière (b.France) has done an incredible job in illuminating the NGV’s historical collection. He uses images of nature and projects them across these beautiful 19 Century paintings. Watch rain, clouds and even horses glide across the artwork.

Date: on until Sunday 18 April 2021
Time: 10.15am–3.30pm session times
Location: NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Price: Free. NGV has capacity limits, all visitors must book tickets online.
More information

We try our best to provide accurate information on kid-friendly events around Victoria but do recommend parents check details directly to confirm dates, times, prices as some details may be subject to change.

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