NGV Triennial

NGV Ron Mueck, Mass, 2016-17 (Installation view) - photo by Sean FennessyOn display until 15 April 2018, an unprecedented, large-scale exhibition of international art, design and architecture, the National Gallery of Victoria has opened the inaugural NGV Triennial featuring major works by more than 100 artists and designers from 32 countries.

Traversing established, mid-career and emerging practitioners at the forefront of their fields, the NGV Triennial artists and designers are exploring some of the critical issues of our time through practices embracing cutting edge technologies, from 3D printing to robotics, as well as performance, film, painting, drawing, installation and fashion design, tapestry and sculpture.

Comprising a monumental mass of 100 hand-cast skulls, each measuring 1.5m and collectively weighing approximately 5 tonnes, Ron Mueck’s world-premiere installation, Mass, 2016-17, is one of twenty large-scale new artworks that have been especially commissioned by the NGV for this exhibition. Reminiscent of the catacombs in Paris, the awe-inspiring work by one of Australia’s leading sculptors has been generously supported by the Felton Bequest.

“The inaugural NGV Triennial offers our audiences the opportunity to engage with some of the most vital and significant international contemporary art and design,” said Tony Ellwood, Director NGV. “An exhibition such as this offers artists and designers an invaluable platform to explore the many important questions of our contemporary world. We hope the NGV Triennial will become a critical and ongoing cultural asset for Victoria.”

Transforming all four levels of NGV International, additional highlights of the NGV Triennial include Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama’s major new participatory work in which visitors will completely cover a purpose-built apartment with 3D flowers and flower stickers; and Xu Zhen’s 15.8m long replica of a reclining Buddha sculpture on which he places 3D scanned and cast replicas of classical Greco-Roman, Renaissance and Neoclassical sculptures in order to break down cultural boundaries and promote cross-cultural understanding.

Chinese couturier Guo Pei has created a never-before-seen installation of crystal-encrusted, Marie Antoinette-inspired haute couture gowns from her sumptuous Legends collection; while Sissel Tolaas, the world-renowned ‘smell designer’ has imbued the scents of Melbourne into the walls of the Gallery in an interactive olfactory display.

Revealing the personal histories of six refugees, Candice Breitz’ new video work features Hollywood actors Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin giving voice to their stories – bringing the privilege of celebrity into contrast with the hardship of the refugee experience, is in stark contrast to the interactive and immersive installation from Japanese design collective, teamLab – who create a ‘vortex’ using a digital floor which responds as water would to the audience’s presence and movement.

The NGV Triennial will present fifty Manga chairs, 2015, which reimagine the standard chair with design elements drawn from manga; effect lines, speech bubbles and symbols that visualise emotion are incorporated into the chairs’ stainless-steel frames. A major acquisition for the NGV Collection, Nendo’s Manga chairs will be presented alongside fifty Trace sconce lights, 2016.

In an Australian premiere, Dutch art collective, We Make Carpets has created a spectacular exhibition for children and families in which the floors and walls of the children’s gallery will be covered in vividly colourful murals created with household objects, including kitchen sponges, Velcro squares, pegs, pool noodles and coloured rope. Visitors are encouraged to add to the kaleidoscopic patterns by adding objects directly to the walls and floors of the gallery.

“Melbourne hasn’t seen anything like this before – it’s bold, it’s exciting and it once again cements our reputation as the creative state,” said Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley. “It’s been a bumper year for Australia’s most popular gallery. The NGV team continues to raise the bar and they’ve done it again with the inaugural NGV Triennial.”

NGV Triennial
NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Exhibition continues to 15 April 2018
Free admission

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: NGV Ron Mueck, Mass, 2016-17 (Installation view) – photo by Sean Fennessy