National Gallery of Victoria announces Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture

By Penny Craswell

Some excellent news for those in the design and architecture community came from Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) last week – the establishment of a Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture. Institutional support of design in Australia has been patchy at best over the years, with excellent initiatives such as the State of Design (also Victoria), scrapped, while ideas for a Museum of Design a la London have never gained the critical government or institutional support needed to get them off the ground.

"I Dips Me Lid" by John Wardle Architects is the first NGV Commission for Ephemeral Architecture
“I Dips Me Lid” by John Wardle Architects is the first NGV Commission for Ephemeral Architecture

Design and architecture inhabit an unusual space. In many ways, the showing of work in a gallery or museum (or even festival) setting is not required, especially when you consider the strength of the actual industries themselves – Cochlear bringing the latest design innovation to the world, global architecture firms like Woods Bagot competing on the world stage and firms from Europe and North America turning to Australia during dark economic times. Read more

Review: Carousel installation by Carsten Höller

By Penny Craswell

At Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria, a golden carousel has been installed in the forecourt, the latest version of a series of works by Belgian artist Carsten Höller that interrogate and confound human perception.

Carsten Höller German 1961–, worked in Sweden 2000– Golden mirror carousel 2014 powder-coated and painted steel, gold-plated stainless steel, tinite-plated stainless steel, brass, mirrors, light bulbs, electric motors, control unit, power unit, sandbags 480.0 x 745.0 cm diameter (variable) Collection of the artist, Stockholm and Gagosian Gallery, New York © Carsten Höller. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery Photo: Christian Markel
Carsten Höller, German 1961–, worked in Sweden 2000–, Golden mirror carousel 2014, powder-coated and painted steel, gold-plated stainless steel, tinite-plated stainless steel, brass, mirrors, light bulbs, electric motors, control unit, power unit, sandbags, 480.0 x 745.0 cm diameter (variable), Collection of the artist, Stockholm and Gagosian Gallery, New York, © Carsten Höller. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, Photo: Christian Markel

The work is clad in gold coloured mirror. Instead of horses, you sit on a gold seat suspended by gold chains. The usual dizzying ride of a merry-go-round is slowed here to a gradual revolution, with seats spaced so that, even while riding the machine, you feel solitary. The floor underfoot does not rotate, and the centrepiece rotates in the opposite direction, creating a gently confounding experience that is not only reflective in the sense of providing a series of mirrored images, but also reflective in that it inspires a state of reflection – a slowing down of the fast pace of life. Read more

Performative urban intervention at Art and About Sydney

Art and About finished in Sydney on the weekend for another year. Performative works were big this year, including a wonderful work called “Bodies in Urban Spaces”. The concept is by Viennese artist Willi Dorner who enlists the help of acrobats, climbers and dancers to use their bodies in unconventional ways to fill and layer cityscapes.

Bodies in Urban Spaces as part of Art and About Sydney. Concept: Willi Dorner. Images: courtesy of City of Sydney
Bodies in Urban Spaces as part of Art and About Sydney. Concept: Willi Dorner. Images: courtesy of City of Sydney

Dressed in colourful street clothes and hoodies, the performers find ways to insert themselves into the landscape, wrapping, layering, balancing, planking in and on  the city, often choosing unremarkable structures or corners, in the process transforming the way we see them. Read more

Additional images of Melbourne Indesign installation

Just a quick update to my round-up of Melbourne Indesign last week. Space furniture has just sent through some wonderful new images of the Tanqueray Gin Palace by photographer Peter Bennetts.

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Eat Drink Design Pop Down by DesignOffice at Space furniture. Photography: Peter Bennetts.

 

The palace was designed by Melbourne studio DesignOffice in collaboration with the American Hardwood Export Council, Britton Timbers and Architecture Media. Read more