Artists sought for the Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab

MBL Natalie KingThe iconic Queen Victoria Market precinct will be home to a bold new public art program that will see 10 artists work with national and international experts to develop temporary artworks related to the site.

The City of Melbourne is inviting artists to apply for this once-in-a-career opportunity to be part of the inaugural Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab titled What Happens Now? and led by Chief Curator Natalie King.

The selected artists will spend two weeks in June developing their ideas in a laboratory setting under the mentorship of public art experts including renowned British arts producer Claire Doherty. From there up to 10 artists will create and install temporary artworks in the market precinct during the Melbourne Festival in October.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said the 2016 Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab would draw more people and vitality to the market precinct. “Melbourne is a leading creative city and there is no better place to launch our first Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab than the quintessentially Melbourne location of Queen Victoria Market,” said the Lord Mayor. “It is an icon loved by locals and tourists alike for its diversity, atmosphere, culture and history.”

Chair of the Arts and Culture Portfolio Councillor Rohan Leppert said the Biennial Lab was the centrepiece of Public Art Melbourne’s experimental program, which supports the development of artists. “For Melbourne to create great public art, it needs skilled, confident and high-calibre artists working in the public realm,” said Cr Leppert.

“The Biennial Lab takes early mid-career artists who already have a proven track record, gives them time and space to work intensively with recognised experts and then helps them create the resulting artwork in the heart of the city for the enjoyment of the people of Melbourne.”

Artists for the Melbourne Biennial Lab will be selected by a panel of nationally and internationally renowned visual artists and curators, led by Natalie King. The lab will include public forums to ensure the wider Melbourne community can share in the creative experience taking place.

“The Biennial Lab is an opportunity for artists to explore bold, creative ideas in an aesthetically and intellectually rigorous situation while testing the reception of their work in an extraordinarily diverse Melbourne context,” said Chief Curator, Natalie King.

“Public art can inspire and confound so it is important that these artists occupy the public realm with ideas that provoke and contest our understanding of place and situations.”

Applications for the Melbourne Biennial Lab close 11.00pm – Friday 29 April 2016. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Natalie King, Chief Curator of the Melbourne Biennial Lab – courtesy of the Tarrawarra Museum of Art