On the Couch with Victoria Lynn

Victoria Lynn oncWho is Victoria Lynn?
Director of TarraWarra Museum of Art – located one hour outside Melbourne in the spectacular Yarra Valley.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I have always tried to convey that Australian art is part of a global conversation. I celebrate the connections between art movements, artists and ideas in Australia and abroad. Given the opportunity, I would advocate for more interaction between our creative practitioners and their peers in other parts of the world and facilitate collaborative ventures, experimental projects and the exchange of art across the globe.

Who inspires you and why?
Currently on show at the Museum is Ian Fairweather, one of my favourite modern Australian artists. He travelled widely to China, India, Norway, Canada, Bali. He painted from the 1930s until the early 1970s with a meandering and layered use of line that fused his interests in Chinese calligraphy, an Aboriginal palette and an interest in abstract painting. He typifies the ways in which Australians are open to diverse cultures, embracing them, and learning from them.

Next year we will show the work of Pierre Huyghe, a contemporary French artist who has made films in the Antarctic, descended into the Crystal Cave in Mexico and taken photographs, and creates art works with living animals, such as ants, spiders and crabs. He is one of the most imaginative and inventive artists of our time, and he breaks down the divide between culture and nature.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
In a context where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, education and living standards remain so far behind the Australian average, it is necessary that the art of these communities is understood at a wide level. I try to exhibit indigenous art whenever possible, making connections with the cultural activism that is embedded in its very forms. I would like to find ways that art can help ‘close the gap’ between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
It is a toss-up between Venice – the place where I was married to my husband Nikos Papastergiadis – or the Greek island of Aegina, a place we visited many times when we spent a year living in Athens. Both of these destinations have a wonderful mix of ancient culture and relaxed atmosphere with fabulous food and wine!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
TarraWarra Museum of Art of course! It is a very special place: spectacular views on the outside, and innovative exhibitions and programs on the inside.

What are you currently reading?
Linda Jaivin’s The Empress Lover – a wonderful tale set in China which traverses memories of the 1940s in China, and the contemporary metropolis of today.

What are you currently listening to?
On my drives to and from TarraWarra Museum of Art I listen to Radio National (Fran Kelly in the morning, and Waleed Aly in the evening). I also turn the dial to PBS where I enjoy rhythm and blues, fiesta jazz, and soul. When my ten year old daughter Maya is in the car, it’s Nova!

Happiness is?
Collaboration with my husband Nikos – on books, ideas, parties, life – and watching our daughter grow up into a curious, beautiful and sensitive girl. Recently we launched our book Art in the Global Present in Melbourne’s MPavilion, and Maya very proudly sold the books to our guests.

What does the future hold for you?
Art, art and more art!

Victoria Lynn is the author of over 70 articles and 3 books on contemporary art, and a curator with over 20 years’ experience in Australian and international art. Since joining as Director, TarraWarra Museum of Art in April 2012, Victoria has curated the TarraWarra Biennial 2012: Sonic Spheres,  TarraWarra International: Animate/Inanimate, 2013 along with several exhibitions of contemporary Australian artists including Tony Tuckson: Paintings and Drawings and Gosia Wlodarczak: Found in Translation.

From 2004 – 2012 Victoria was an independent curator. She was the visual arts curator for the Adelaide Festival in 2010 and 2012, where she established and curated the Adelaide International: Apart, we are together (2010) and Adelaide International: Restless (2012). Apart, we are together was a finalist in the ALICE Awards in the category of ‘Biennial’, where it also won the ‘people’s choice’ award. In 2010 Victoria curated The Trickster, Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art, Korea, 2010.

In 2009 she was curator of Double Take, the Anne Landa Award for Video and New Media Arts, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney. In 2007 she curated turbulence, 3rd Auckland Triennial; Julie Rrap: Body Double, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and Regarding Fear and Hope at Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne.

Previous roles have included Director, Creative Development, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne and Curator, Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney.

For more information about the Tarrawarra Museum of Art, visit: www.twma.com.au for details.

Image: Victoria Lynn – photo by James Bodington

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