On the weekend I finally went to visit the Triennial exhibition at NGV. I wanted to go earlier in the year but it did not seem safe to be in a gallery where people come from all over town and state and even interstate while Covid was at large. It was 3 weeks without any community transmission of Covid on the weekend and felt safer. Even so, I was surprised only about half the visitors seemed to take the NGV's strong advice to wear a mask. Fortunately the art was worth the wait, though there was so much to see that I wish I had the opportunity to go again. But I am not sure I have time over the next month before it closes. Here is a taste of what I saw.
The fun starts as soon as we enter and see the huge mesmerising, constantly changing, spiraling, cascading, falling, fading and growing patterns on "Quantum memories" by Refik Anadol. The Triennial exhibits are dispersed throughout the whole gallery. It is a lot of walking and even then, we missed some of the exhibits.
I really loved the sequinned tapestry called "House of Heroines" by Lara Schnitger with bumper sticker slogans and empowering words.
Diamond Stingily made "In the middle but in the corner of 176th place" at first glance looks like a huge trophy exhibition of some sports star. But upon a close read of the trophies, it seems that there is less of the celebration of sport going on. Inscriptions like "through all the madness this all you gone get" puts sport back into perspective, and were fun to read.
The vibrant blues of Indigenous artist Dhambit Mununggurr in the "Can we all have a happy life"exhibition are startlingly bright. I liked this lively painting of Garma: her mother's brother started the Garma festival that brings Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together in the outback up North each year.
One think I have enjoyed about a Covid world (if that does not sound odd) is mask fashion. These prints of fax vintage outfits with matching masks by Scotty So in this "China Masks" were quite beautiful.
This "Walls 4 Sale: near new and supersized" by BTVV was like walking through Alice's Wonderland. Doors were either too big or too small. The toilet and kitchen were definitely too big. I could see kids loving it but my daughter was too old for some fun and was outside in the garden with her friend. Meanwhile my dad's arm can be seen in this photo to show some perspective on the huge sliding door.
Another favourite was the Salon et Lumièr. Paintings were crowded onto red walls to imitate a Paris Gallery of the Nineteenth Century. Back then people were excited for the opportunity to see artworks. In our digital age, we have many opportunities to see artworks but not like this. This was a light and sound show with the paintings on the wall as the canvas. Shadows and thunderstorms and tv static and more brought the thrill of art to modern day gallery!
The beauty of Triennial is that it is an immersive experience that cannot be shared by just showing you some photos. Some of the exhibits were hard to photograph. Here are a few that I enjoyed without my camera:
- Alicja Kwade's "WeltenLinie". This set up of mirrors created an optical illusion where many of the visitors - including me - were quite flummoxed to work out what was mirror and what was real life. I saw quite a few people reaching out to check if it was a mirror or not.
- Tomoaki Suzuki's "Biole, Carson, Dasha, Marisa" had lots of statues of tiny people - about 30cm high. We had a quick look from the corridor but did not have the time or patience to join the long queue of people who were going in to look more closely.
- Liam Young's Planet City was an imagining of a futuristic city built up rather than sprawling outwards. The video was quite mesmerising with the slow swooping down past tall building that gave the feeling of floating.
When I checked the website after the exhibition, I saw how much I had missed. I wished I had seen:
- Faye Toogood - "Downtime: Candlelight wall scenography and Family busts and Roly-poly chair / Water"
- Kengo Kuma and Geoff Nees - "Botanical pavilion"
- JR - "Homily to Country"