I know I know, I’m a little late to Melbourne Now.

The NGV exhibition has been on since November last year and is spread across NGV International (the main gallery) and the Ian Potter Centre: Australia (the smaller gallery at Federation Square). We started at the Ian Potter Centre as it was a really hot day and closer to our meeting point (laziness always prevails).

Melbourne Now, as the name suggests, celebrates “the latest art, architecture, design, performance and cultural practice to reflect the complex creative landscape of Melbourne.”

Interactive installations are a feature of the exhibition and are dotted throughout many of the  Ian Potter Centre’s permanent exhibitions, providing a striking contrast to Australiana landscapes and portraits.

Melbourne Now

This piece below filled a corridor between two rooms with a random assortment of objects and strings of yarn. So much yarn.

Melbourne Now

Unfortunately I forget to find the name of the artist as my friend and I were too distracted playing in the ‘room’ below. Pulling on each silver wire triangle or diamond played a different sound so I think you can imagine our excitement.

Melbourne NowMmm, yarn spaghetti anyone?

photo 1-11

Finally moving on from the musical triangles, Richard Lewer’s ‘Northside Boxing Gym‘ caught my attention. The artist has recreated his local boxing gym with a charcoal wall drawing, mirrors, audio installation (cue sounds of a gym), ‘sweaty’ boxing bag and the unmistakeable smell of Dencorub which had been added to the charcoal.

My friend and I spent several minutes reliving our high-school athletic days heavy breathing in the good stuff.

Melbourne Now

Around the corner was LUSH’s ‘Graffiti doesn’t belong in a gallery?’, a recreation of a graffitied street setting complete with shop front and rubbish skip.

photo 1-10

His cartoons and dioramas described some of his experiences as a graffiti artist, including the best/worst places to graffiti, popular/unpopular opinions of graffiti, “things luckily Melbourne doesn’t have” (a huge effort to remove graffiti was one) and musings on the future of graffiti and street art.

photo 2-10

These porcelain dolls might look like something your grandma might keep in a display cabinet but look a little closer and you’ll notice they’re not quite right…

Melbourne Now

For ‘iProtest‘ Penny Byrne labelled each figurine with a current conflict or protest around the world. While most figurines had faces painted with national flags others were a little more morbid, beheaded or bloodied with the occasional adorable clown depicted as a weapon wielding riot police member.

Melbourne Now

Pussy Riot even made an appearance!

Melbourne Now

Patricia Piccinini is one of my favourite artists so I was thrilled to stumble across ‘The carrier’.
Part of what I enjoy about her work, other than her obvious incredible technical skill, is watching other people’s reactions to it. There’s always a few who struggle to reconcile being confronted with a life-size fantastical creature with eerily humanistic features and the warmth and compassion that is often displayed by Piccinini’s creatures.
If you’re unfamiliar with Piccinini I encourage you to take a look at some of her other work:

Melbourne Now

There was one room my friend was super eager to find and told me it was described as “animals covered in bling”. Slightly trepidatious, I followed him through a thick velvet curtain into Julia deVille’s “Degustation“.

Melbourne Now

It was a little unsettling to say the least. Walking around an elaborate Victoria table setting taxidermy animals were laid out on platters and serving trays with jewels and precious stones set into each animal reminiscent of Victorian jewellery. If you look closely you’ll see the puppies below have little black wings.

Melbourne Now

Without giving any more away that about sums up my highlights from Melbourne Now at the Ian Potter Centre.
You probably don’t need to be told to go to see Melbourne Now but if you were undecided I encourage you to take a look, it’s a fantastic exhibition and is free!

If you’ve only been to Melbourne Now at the NGV you haven’t really experienced it all just yet.

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week!

Go Now to Melbourne Now
Melbourne Now
22 November – 23 March
National Gallery of Victoria



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