CAS Members and Friends visit to National Gallery of Victoria and The NGV Triennial 2020

Monday 1 February 2021

Review by Heather King and Karen Foley

On 1 February 2021 a group of CAS members gather at the NGV to tour the Triennial-exhibition at the NGV. Our president Robert Lee did his homework and had previously gone around the exhibition with a Gallery Curator friend who had give Robert the low down on the show, so he was able to give many high lights and information about the works not readily available. Well done Robert.

Quantum Memories by media artist Rifik Anadol

The first thing you see when you come into the Triennial is a huge white box like structure, looking like an enormous package that comes with certain high end phones and tablets. Beautiful three dimensional forms flow towards you and appear to splash over the edges of the frame. It is in fact an illusion as the screen is only a few millimetres thick which Robert Lee told us rolls up.

The graphic illusion appeared to project 300mm into the foyer in all directions without 3D glasses. Anadol asks the question, can the lens of AI (artificial intelligence) find another reality? Can “a quantum alternative create nature”.

The Plastocene–Marine Mutants from a disposable world series 2020, waste and recycled materials, by Porky Hefer

There are represented all forms of art expression. Photography, latest digital media of LED’s and video film, sculptures and installations in all mediums: ceramic, stainless steel, fabric, glass, timber etc. My observations: many of the artists’ artworks tackled the issue of scale and this was exciting. Big and small. The big artworks hit you in the face and say “look at me”, for example: the big LED screen by Rifik Anadol. Born in Turkey, he lives and works in Los Angeles; The Plastocene–Marine Mutants from a disposable world series 2020 made from using waste and recycled materials by Porky Hefer (South Africa), who lives and works in Cape Town; Jeff Koons (USA) lcreated a arger than life stainless steel figure, Venus 2016-20, based on the 18th century porcelain figurine of the same name by Wilhem Christian Meyer.

Venus 2016-20 by Jeff Koons

Robert told us this sculpture was made up of 15 sections welded together, sanded and polished to perfection. It made a big statement in a modern minimalist setting. This work had a whole room to itself, unlike the Saloon gallery, in which a loud and theatrical light show, which in the main, detracted from the artworks. The quilted fabric panels of Lara Schnitger’s House of Heroines, 2020 did remind me of a Grecian frieze and ancient temple architecture.

House of Heroines, 2020, by Lara Schnitger

Feminist representation reflected in Lara’s work, awoman’s voice and sexuality.The large patchwork fabric/stocking columns have timber engineered rings (like a concertina) that can fold down for transporting so take up little space.

There was a whole apartment on display, designed by BTVV Switzerland/Finland/USA based in Zurich: Walls 4 Sale: near new and supersized 2020, delved into the world of real estate advertising and sales. Some rooms are scaled up: the ensuite, kitchen, parents’ bedroom and air conditioner/balcony; and kids’ bathroom, kids’ bedrooms and family room all scaled down in size. A collage of bad design practices and emotional responses to design. All white and bland. Interesting.

Walls 4 Sale: near new and supersized by BTVV

Botanic Pavillon by Kengo Kuma and Geoff Nees

Kengo Kuma from Japan, and Geoff Nees from Australia, produced Botanic Pavillon, a wooden shell tunnel/pavilion made up of different species of trees felled or removed from Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens. Some of the trees pre-date European settlement. Exquisite modular timber frame that fits together like a puzzle. The light within the pavilion creates beautiful patterns in abstract shapes echoing a leaf covered pergola.

Hidden Figures by David Arsham

The NGV commissioned David Arsham (New York artist) to produce a work, Hidden Figures 2020. He picked two figures from The Banquet of Cleopatra painting, and by using the same pose under a white fibreglass sheet wind swept over their bodies and hollowed out from the back. Very dramatic and quite ethereal as larger than lifesize. In the same gallery, Fred Wilson produced To die upon a kiss, an ornate chandelier of Murano glass graded in colour, from clear to black. Spectacular. Something special that is well designed and executed.

The neon light installation C=O=D=A 2019-20 by Cerith Wyn Evan (born Wales, lives and works in London) was a highlight too. A drawing in light suspended in space. Individual strands of neon tubes hanging above you in space. All independent of each other but creating a beautiful abstract piece to explore.

C=O=D=A 2019-20 by Cerith Wyn Evan

I would encourage you to see this exhibition before it closes on 28 February. We spent 4 hours before having a late lunch. I would like to go again.

The NGV website is well worth checking first as you have to book a session time even though it’s free due to COVID restrictions of numbers of people at any one time. Online are also details of artists and videos of artworks, and descriptions of their working processes. A great resource.

Go To Top