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.
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 →
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.
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 →
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.
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 →