Exploring some of the most globally relevant and pressing issues of our time, including isolation, representation and speculation on the future, the NGV Triennial will present a large-scale exhibition of international contemporary art, design and architecture at NGV International from 19 December 2020.
“The NGV Triennial offers visitors a significant opportunity to explore how we use art to express ourselves, communicate and consider the world as it is, while also asking how we would like it to be,” said Tony Ellwood AM, Director, National Gallery of Victoria.
“Artists, designers and architects of the twenty-first century perform a vital role in giving form to our collective imagination, fears and aspirations. We are all living in a world in flux: there has never been a more important moment to celebrate human capability than now.”
Featuring 86 projects by more than 100 artists, designers and collectives from more than 30 countries, the NGV Triennial comprises an ambitious and diverse selection of works showcasing the vanguard of contemporary practice, the exhibition offers a visually arresting and thought-provoking view of the world at this unique moment.
Featuring works by Aïda Muluneh (Ethiopia) Alicja Kwade (Germany), Cerith Wyn Evans (Wales), Dhambit Mununggurr (Australia), Faye Toogood (England), Fred Wilson (USA), Hannah Brontë (Australia), Jeff Koons (USA), JR (France), Kengo Kuma (Japan), Liam Young (Australia), Misaki Kawai (Japan), Patricia Urquiola (Spain), Porky Hefer (South Africa) and Refik Anadol (Turkey), the NGV Triennial includes 34 major new world-premiere works especially commissioned by the NGV for this exhibition.
Highlights include: an entire floor dedicated to works concerning light and illumination presented in dialogue with the NGV’s historical collection; a monumental video work by Refik Anadol spanning 10 metres high and wide, which uses artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and quantum computing to visualise our digitised memories of nature; and a larger-than-life mirror-finished sculpture of Venus, Roman goddess of love, by American artist Jeff Koons.
Further highlights include a comprehensive display of works by Yolngu woman Dhambit Mununggurr, the first Yolngu artist to depict country in her signature shades of acrylic blue paint. The presentation comprises 15 large-scale bark paintings, some more than 3 metres high, and nine hollow poles that were painted exclusively with the use of the artist’s left hand after an accident left her with limited mobility.
Kengo Kuma, one of the most respected figures in Japanese architecture, will collaborate with Melbourne artist Geoffrey Nees to create an architectural pavilion that acts as a sensorial walkway through which to approach and contemplate a newly acquired painting by South Korean artist Lee Ufan. The work will be constructed from timber harvested from trees that died during the Millennium Drought at Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens, some of which pre-date European colonisation.
Exploring the themes of daylight, candlelight and moonlight inspired by and within the context of the NGV’s seventeenth and eighteenth century Flemish, Dutch and British collections, interior designer Faye Toogood will curate several gallery spaces creating a considered salon-style interior featuring newly commissioned furniture, lighting, scenography, sculpture and large-scale tapestries.
Also making its world premiere will be a work by renowned French artist JR, which brings global attention to the ecological decline of the Darling River. The work will comprise a chapel-like structure erected in the NGV Grollo Equiset Garden that features a set of large stained-glass window portraits of people he visited in the Sunraysia agricultural region of Victoria and New South Wales on a recent visit to Australia.
The exhibition is underpinned by four themes – Illumination, Reflection, Conservation, and Speculation – that invite audiences to embark on a journey of exploration and to discover the intersecting ideas through the works on display. The four thematic pillars have emerged from the collective work presented in the NGV Triennial, illuminating the pressing concerns that preoccupy the artists, designers and architects of our time.
Drawing on intimacy and awe, sadness and beauty, ruination and inspiration, these themes present a microcosm of the current world. Free and exclusive to Melbourne, this is the second instalment of the NGV Triennial, which is held every three years. The inaugural exhibition, held in 2017, remains the NGV’s most attended exhibition to date, with 1.23 million visitors.
The NGV, the largest art book publisher in the southern hemisphere, will produce a large-scale and highly illustrated publication to accompany the exhibition, which will feature over 50 authors from around the globe presenting discourses from a variety of perspectives, including those of academics, journalists, literary figures, social commentators, artists and curators.
The NGV Triennial publication will comprise five removeable paperback books housed within the single magnetic case. Four volumes will speak to a different theme explored in Triennial, while the fifth volume will act as a dossier on NGV Triennial and will include biographies of artists and authors, and project descriptions. The NGV will also present virtual exhibition tours and programs as part of NGV Triennial associated programming.
NGV International, St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Exhibition: 19 December 2020 – 18 April 2021
For more information, visit: www.ngv.vic.gov.au for details.
Image: Refik Anadol, Render of Quantum memories, 2020 (render). Custom software, quantum computing, generative algorithm with artificial intelligence (AI), real time digital animation on LED screen c4 channel sound, 1015.0 x 1020.0 x 250.0 cm. Commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Purchased with funds donated by Loti & Victor Smorgon Fund and Barry Janes and Paul Cross, 2020 © Refik Anadol – image courtesy of Refik Anadol