Tag Archives: National Gallery of Victoria

Brook Andrew: Vox Tasmania at the National Gallery of Victoria

andrew1v1

Human Skull & the Gramophone in Vox Tasmania – Brook Andrew

Yesterday I decided to search through all of my photographs that I have taken over the past year and it’s surprising what you will actually find! I found one photo in particular that immediately captured my attention and I began to wonder why I left this image on my SD card for so long.

In February 2014, I remember visiting the Melbourne Now exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria that explored Melbourne’s artistic and cultural diversity. According to the official NGV website, the Melbourne Now exhibition featured a range of contemporary works including visual arts, sculpture, graphic design, architecture and performance art.

I was fascinated with one installation in particular entitled ‘Vox: Tasmania’ by Brook Andrew, a contemporary artist born in Sydney whose work depicts certain issues relating to culture, identity and colonialism, as referenced by the NGV website. On Brook Andrew’s WordPress Site, the artist specifically mentions his ‘Australian indigenous / Scottish’ heritage that may feature a connection towards the artist’s work. 

According to Andrew’s WordPress Page, ‘Vox Tasmania’ features a range of books, photographs, images and artefacts that reflect the treatment of the indigenous community in Australia during the 19th century.

andrew2v2

Human Skeleton within Vox Tasmania – Brook Andrew

In reference to the NGV, Andrew’s work is based upon the research and documentation conducted by Richard Berry; an autonomist who collected indigenous remains from Tasmania in order to thoroughly analyse this particular race. The skulls were often used as possessions or trophies and the remains were used for other ‘scientific purposes.’

The installation also features a large, intricate gramophone that is placed next to the wunderkammer; according to Andrew, the gramophone amplifies the way these indigenous remains were perceived or valued back in the 1990’s. As I peered through the gramophone, I recognised a human skull enclosed within a glass container and the installation does provide a very interesting perspective.

From a personal perspective, the gramophone does create distance between the viewer and the skull; it was as if I was viewing the installation from the other side of the gallery space. Once I continued to walk around the installation, I suddenly realised how close I was standing to the wunderkammer. The work itself creates an illusion, to me the installation did create quite a surreal experience.

As I began to walk around the installation, I immediately discovered an entire human skeleton carefully and delicately rearranged within the container. This is definitely my favourite section and I couldn’t take my eyes off the skeleton, I don’t think I’ve ever been this close to a real human skull before, well I haven’t actually seen one in the flesh before.

andrew4v1

Photograph Two – Human Skeleton in the Wunderkammer

The human skull reflects a moment in time, a moment in history that is almost impossible to forget. The installation has invited me to question whom the remains to belong to and the actual cause of death, the mistreatment towards the indigenous population stares the viewer right in the face!

The installation was confronting and the skull initiates ideas relating to death or mortality and I began to wonder what happens to our remains once we die? Would our bones last forever or would they eventually disintegrate?

The work itself does provide quite a confronting experience, although I was intrigued by the overall subject matter. While I couldn’t take my eyes off the skeleton I was also quite disturbed by these historical moments and the way these remains were treated.

The installation also features a range of books, images and photographs that also coincides with the human skeleton. It’s interesting to see how these different elements connect to each other in some way. As I continued to walk around the wunderkammer, I began to recognise the minor details that I failed to recognise at the very beginning, it was as if I was searching for the missing pieces for a jigsaw puzzle.

andrew3v1

Artefacts, Images and records within the installation 

Overall the Melbourne Now exhibition at the NGV was definitely worth the visit and the works on display were displayed in a unique, creative manner. Andrew’s ‘Vox Tasmania’ explores an intriguing yet confronting subject through a range of images, photos and historical artefacts including a real human skeleton!

The way the works were displayed was fascinating; although I was shocked to discover the way these remains were used for research or private collections. If you haven’t see Andrew’s work before I would definitely recommend visiting the artist’s WordPress page or the NGV website.

Photographs taken by Black Calavera – Charlotte Pridding

References

Melbourne Now: 22 Nov – 23 March 2014, “About the Exhibition,” National Gallery of Victoria, 2013, last modified 17/7/14, http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/melbournenow/about-melbourne-now

Melbourne Now: 22 Nov – 23 March 2014, “Meet the Artists: Brook Andrew,” last modified
17/7/14, National Gallery of Victoria 2013,
http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/melbournenow/artists/andrew

Melbourne Now: 22 Nov – 23 March 2014, Wall Text – Brook Andrew: Vox Tasmania, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.

Brook Andrew, “Planet Art: The Best Art from Around the World, June 2013, WordPress, last modified 17/7/14, https://brookandrew.wordpress.com/page/2/

Brook Andrew, “Researcher Profile,” Monash University 2014, http://www.monash.edu.au/research/people/profiles/profile.html?sid=51592&pid=4536


The NGV exhibits Ian Strange’s Suburban

unnamed

Last weekend I decided to visit an exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria entitled ‘suburban’ by artist, Ian Strange. According to David Hurlston the exhibition features a range of photographic work and installations that explores the artist’s personal experiences with suburbia. Strange deconstructs the notion of suburbia and family life through a unique and extraordinary collection; the photographic works features a range of dilapidated houses that display notions of decay and disintegration, there are some houses on display that have been painted in black or red and there is one house in particular that has been completely burnt to the ground!

As I continued to walk throughout the gallery space, there was one photograph in particular that immediately captured my attention. In “Tenth Street, 2011”, Strange has painted a skull onto the very side of a house and the style appears very similar to graffiti or urban street art. I do find Strange’s subject matter particularly fascinating, I began to question the relationship between death, destruction and middle class suburbia. According to Suzanne Frazer from the Melbourne Review, Strange deliberately sets the house on fire that becomes apart of a video installation, Strange effectively captures the orange flames in slow motion that begin to destroy the skull on the very side of the property.

IMG_6863-500x333

Ian Strange: Tenth Street, 2011

The video installation reminds me of death in a way, the flames remind me of decay and disintegration. This makes a very interesting parallel with the skull  the actual process is rather fascinating, to actually think that this extraordinary work of art is destroyed to the extent where the actual foundations of the house dissolve into black ash. To be honest it’s a remarkable idea, Strange has used the house as a canvas that becomes a pure form of artistic expression, the video installation in particular does resonate feelings of isolation and disembodiment, even the cinematography was well executed!

The video installation was definitely my favourite, the visual and the audio effects are quite unsettling to start off with, the video piece reminded me of a horror film especially with the dark undertones. The installation did add a level of suspense that was rather enthralling, when I visit an exhibition I don’t normally watch the entire footage, Strange’s video piece on the other hand managed to captured my attention from start to finish!

The video installation also features a house slowly burning into flames; the slow motion does emphasise a significant amount of detail especially within the orange flames that gradually drift into the open air. The video piece does have a unique style and composition, in a way I do find the fire aesthetically pleasing, for some strange reason it was actually quite relaxing just to watch the house slowly burning in the open field.

SUBURBAN-Exhibition-by-Ian-Strange-Yellowtrace-02

Tenth Street II, 2011

The open fire instantly reminds me of decay and destruction, the idea that nothing in life lasts forever. This is the very reason why I am interested in the skull that was painted onto the side of the house, the video installation does feature the skull slowly burning into flames, in a way the documentary reminds me of death. As soon I as viewed Strange’s extraordinary video piece, I imagined a body, even a corpse slowly burning and disintegrating to the extent where there is nothing left what so ever. It quite a strange thought really, although the artist’s work definitely triggers an emotional response!

If you have the chance, I definitely recommend visiting Strange’s exhibition that is currently exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria, well actually the exhibition is currently located within the NGV Studio that is opposite Federation Square in Melbourne. Strange has used a range of properties or house’s for an artistic and innovative project that would be impossible to miss!

In fact Ian Strange’s ‘Suburban’ is one of the most original exhibitions that I have seen so far, the installations and the photographic works on display do create such a remarkable composition that will encourage you to explore your own personal perspectives in relation to middle class suburbia. If you’re interested in contemporary art, photography and digital media, then Strange’s most recent exhibition is definitely worth the visit!

induro-ian-strange-02-1

Ian Strange Video / Documentary 

References: 

Fraser, Suzanne, “Unsettling Houses: Ian Strange’s Suburban at the NGV”, The Melbourne Review, 2012, accessed 26/8/13, http://www.melbournereview.com.au/arts/article/unsettling-houses

“Ian Strange: Suburban”, The National Gallery of Victoria 2013, accessed 26/8/13,
http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/whats-on/exhibitions/exhibitions/ian-strange

Hurlston, David, Suburban: A New Body of Work by Artist Ian Strange, The National Gallery of Victoria, 27 July – 15 September 2013.

Photo References:

https://plus.google.com/103941029855445812852/posts/i9Pmv4UdoBP

http://www.invurt.com/tag/melbourne/

http://www.yellowtrace.com.au/2013/07/23/suburban-installation-by-ian-strange/


Rally at the National Gallery of Victoria

20130102_160624 copy

Mural Paintings by Eko Nugroho

7/1/2013 – Contemporary Indonesian Artists, Jompet Kuswidananto and Eko Nugroho display their work at the NGV. 

From my previous visit to the National Gallery of Victoria, I discovered a contemporary exhibition titled Rally that presents the works of two Indonesian artists, Jompet Kuswidananto and Eko Nugroho. The exhibition features a range of contemporary mural paintings and installations as well as digital media that explore’s Indonesia’s cultural, political and historical heritage, as referenced by the NGV Official website.

20130102_161523 copy

As I walked down the passageway to the gallery space, I had recognised several flags that were attached to the ceiling; there was one flag in particular that featured quite an interesting composition. I was definitely intrigued by the illustration; the flag features two unusual characters who appear to be using the skull as a football. The characters use their feet to transfer the skull from one person to the other; if you look closely at the image you can see that the characters also create a basic outline of a skull. As soon as I recognised this particular design, I did not hesitate to walk right into the exhibition.

20130102_160532-11

Flag for the Rally Exhibition 

I was amazed when I walked into the gallery space, each wall was decorated with mural paintings that featured a vibrant and stylistic design.  Nugroho’s work does feature very unusual characters that are emphasised through the strong use of line, tone and composition. The skull was a very popular image within the artist’s murals and I began to question whether the skull has any significant meaning or purpose within the exhibition.

20130102_160914 copy

Installations by Eko Nugroho & Video Installations by Jompet Kuswidananto

In almost every corner of the gallery, I had recognised a painting or an illustration of a skull. The NGV website explains that artist, Nugroho is inspired by Indonesian “street art and popular culture”,  one may argue that Nugroho reflects the way the skull has become a prominent symbol within popular culture. The skull has become completely unavoidable within the visual culture, although I do find it rather interesting to see how to skull is interpreted within the contemporary gallery space.

20130102_160723 copy

Eko Nugroho & Jompet Kuswidananto in Rally Exhibition 

I began to wonder whether Nugroho has used to skull to raise certain political issues within Indonesia? I am not too sure whether the skull is used as a symbol of death or whether the skull is used as another popular image? While there isn’t a great deal of information about the use of skulls within Nugroho’s work, I am determined to find out the answer to my question.

20130102_160744 copy

According to the NGV, Nugroho adopts a humorous and comical to his own subject matter; I would agree with this particular description as Nugroho applies an entertaining quality to his own work. Nugroho may provide a positive representation of death through the different colours, patterns and designs.

Nugroho’s work is also exhibited along with Kuswidananto’s audio and visual installations that also emphasises the contemporary Indonesian culture from a  political perspective. Both Kuswidananto and Nugroho do work well within the gallery space; the audio installations also corresponds with the mural paintings on the wall. The large-scale installations on the other hand were visually appealing, as I walked around each installation I was then able to view the paintings on the wall. There weren’t small paintings by the way, these paintings covered the entire wall within the gallery space.

20130102_160926 copy

Paintings by Eko Nugroho

I decided to stand opposite the murals, I did feel incredibly small, the works on display provided a completely different perception of scale. Colour was another interesting quality within the exhibition; within the centre of the space was a creature / person who was covered in fluorescent pink flowers. This was definitely my favourite works within the exhibition, I couldn’t remove my eyes from the arrangement of flowers that covered the model’s body.

I then began to realise, that I have not seen another exhibition with contemporary Indonesian art and it is great to see the NGV promote artists from southeast Asia. The director of the NGV explains that “southeast asian artists” are becoming popular within contemporary art; hopefully this trend will develop within Melbourne.

Rally is a fantastic exhibition that is definitely worth the visit and it’s free for visitors of all ages! If you have an interest for contemporary asian art, make sure to plan your next visit to the NGV.

For further information please click on the links below.

“RALLY: Contemporary Indonesian Art – Jompet Kuswidananto & Eko Nugroho”, the National Gallery of Victoria, 2012, Accessed 14/1/13, http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/ngv-media?sq_content_src=%2BdXJsPWh0dHAlM0ElMkYlMkZ3d3cubmd2LnZpY
y5nb3YuYXUlMkZtZWR
pYS1hcHAlMkZtZWRpYVJlbGVhc2VzJTJGMjU0JTJGZGlzc
GxheSZhbGw9MQ%3D%3D

http://www.ekonugroho.or.id/


The Four Horsemen: Apocalypse, Death and Disaster

Print/ Illustration from the Exhibiton

22/9/12 – Latest exhibiton at the Nation Gallery of Victoria.

On the day of my birthday, I had received a book from an exhibition at the NGV, “The Four Horsemen”. I am very pleased that I now have a copy of this book and I can’t wait to read through it! I remember visiting the exhibition last month and I was amazed with the level of detail in the prints and the illustrations on display.

According to the NGV website, artists had emphasized death,famine and disease in Europe during the 18th century. Most of the prints,paintings and illustrations in the gallery space featured skulls and skeletal figures mocking or imitating the living world. Hans Holbein’s” Dance of Death” was also exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne and I was an incredible experience to actually see the artist’s work in person.

Catalouge from the NGV Shop.

I was expecting the print to be quite large, instead there were three very small prints that were carefully framed and mounted to the wall. I had to take a closer look at the images on display and it was impossible to see anything from a distance. I was so amazed by the level of detail in such a small illustration and everytime I went back to the images, I was able to witness something completely different. I would also recommend buying thr catalouge at the NGV bookshop!

http://ngvshop.ngv.vic.gov.au/books-and-catalogues/ngv-publications/four-horsemen-apocalypse-death-and-disaster

The National Galleryof Victoria, The Four Horsemen: Apocalypse, Death and Disaster, NGV Website, http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/whats-on/exhibitions/exhibitions/the-four-horsemen (Accessed 22/9/12)