In the Spotlight: Melbourne Now exhibition
Conceived as a snapshot of visual culture in Melbourne, this ground breaking exhibition staged at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia provides a challenging, visually exciting and memorable excursion to add to your Next itinerary…
Melbourne Now is a chance to celebrate new and ambitious local art and design with over 200 contemporary works, projects and events showcased across three levels of Federation Square’s National Gallery space.
This historic exhibition takes in the broad spectrum of Melbourne’s cultural landscape to include not only painters, printmakers, sculptors, photographers, filmmakers and installation artists, but also designers, studios, firms, practising architects, ceramicists, video artists and those working in virtual reality, jewellery, fashion, performance, product design and publishing.
With 60 new works commissioned by the NGV to complement existing pieces curated from eminent and emerging Melbourne creatives, visitors can revel in the now and look to the future from people who are designing the way our world looks, feels and operates.
The inspiring and sprawling exhibition is open – and free – until 20 August.
Artworks not to miss…
Temple, Rel Pham
Visitors to Melbourne Now will immediately be drawn to Temple – emerging artist Rel Pham’s neon-lit artwork you can walk into, which blurs the boundaries between digital and physical realms. The installation combines the visual language of technology – it comprises 640 fans used to cool gaming computers – with classical Asian architecture and religious iconography.
Mountain climber, Troy Emery
Stretching almost 3m high and containing hundreds of colourful pompoms, Mountain climber is Troy Emery’s most ambitious work to date. The Melbourne-based artist said the piece – commissioned by the NGV for this exhibition – explored humans’ relationships with animals and their historical representations in natural history museums and taxidermy.
The remaking of things, Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison
Visitors will find themselves immersed in nature when they step into this creation: a collage drawn from 100 works in the NGV collection that adorns the walls from ceiling to floor. The scene, crafted by artists and wildlife carers Gracia and Louise, celebrates nature’s unsung hero: the Grey-headed flying fox that resides on the banks of the Birrarung. “They are pollinators,” the duo explain. “If we lose them, our forests collapse.”
Like no other medium, fashion expresses how we feel about ourselves and the times we live in. For Melbourne Now, the work of eighteen independent Melbourne designers has been presented as both marker of both contemporary life and a snapshot of the changing values underpinning local fashion practice in 2023.
Featuring a range of practitioners, from emerging to long established, the display highlights a diversity of aesthetics, politics, design philosophies, design methodologies, energy and talent. It reveals individual signatures, united by a collective vernacular – to design more consciously, make locally, consume and produce less.
The Design Wall
This fascinating installation brings together designers, companies and brands who are shaping the way we live today. Representing thirty-five projects by twenty-five design studios – from industrial design consultancies to in-house research and design departments – the Design Wall celebrates innovative consumer products designed in Melbourne and their contribution to the city’s dynamic landscape of applied creativity.
Offering insight into the factors influencing contemporary product design in Melbourne – from social dynamics, regulations and economic forces – the collection explores how everyday goods can embody the qualities of place and the values of those who live there.
And if you find Melbourne Now’s three levels of exhibits a little bewildering, you can turn to Gee, an AI chatbot developed by Georgia Banks, who has been programmed as a target for your affections; lie down for Shaun Gladwell’s controversial out-of-body experience, or get warm and fuzzy exploring James Lemon’s Swarming that invites the viewer to learn through play.