I was in a café a couple of Fridays ago when I heard the distinctive intro to The Cure’s Friday I’m in Love. Like a familiar old friend, the tune prompted a smile and a stream of happy memories - some songs never dull with time. The same can be said about certain art movements, such as Vienna’s art and design revolution in the early 1900s. Despite their popularity over a century ago, the unique and innovative pieces featured in the National Gallery of Victoria’s Vienna: Art & Design exhibition still hold their own today. In the same way that memorable tunes never die, exceptional art and design will also endure the test of time.
If you missed Inga Walton’s intriguing article, Gustav Klimt: the world in female form in Trouble’s June issue, this is a reminder to check out NGV’s unmissable Vienna: Art & Design exhibition before 9 October. Just over a century ago, Vienna was a crucible brimming with artists, architects, designers, musicians and other creative types who were all pushing the boundaries of modernism. Big names, such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Adolf Loos, Josef Hoffmann and others blazed the trail in a new direction away from traditional, conforming ways. This artistic revolution permeated society through art, architecture, product/interior design and fashion. The appeal of Vienna: Art & Design is not only its vastness, but also the seamless curation of art, furniture and other household objects which convincingly convey what life would have been like during this exciting and extravagant era. Highlights from the 250 pieces featured in this extensive collection include the Klimt’s breathtaking Beethoven Frieze comprised of neutral tones highlighted with emerald, cerulean and gold, as well as his 1902 portrait of Emilie Flöge, fashion designer and stylist. - www.ngv.vic.gov.au
Image of Uncle Larry Walsh by John Sones (detail), Singing Bowl Media.
Answers to the question, “what do you think it means to be an Aboriginal?” are the foundation for Footscray Community Arts Centre’s latest exhibition, Blak Side Story. The fascinating responses prompted by this question have been recorded in a series of interviews that are presented alongside a selection of 22 powerful portraits of Indigenous community members from Melbourne’s West. This multi-media exhibition is a collaborative project from artists Paolo Balla, Tamsin Sharp and John Sones with Traditional Owners and Elders from West Melbourne’s Indigenous Community. The large portraits on display throughout the exhibition are complemented with four interactive Androids presenting a Digital Quilt in which viewers can touch the faces of several exhibition participants for a response to the questions: “Where are you from?” and “What does it mean to you to be Aboriginal?”. Four computers the middle of the gallery provide additional interviews and stories from community members. Runs until 28 August - www.blaksidestory.com
In his latest ACMI exhibition, Stereo Sequences, Shaun Gladwell describes his featured works as “performative landscapes”. Using large-scale film and slow-motion techniques, Gladwell creates works that feature skateboarders and BMX bike riders. Exploring themes of mirroring and parallels, the large-scale nature of Gladwell’s works engulf the viewer. Works such as Parallel Forces, 2011 draw the viewer into the piece as they walk between four large screens mirroring each other. Likewise, Endoscopic Vanitas (no veins version) 2011 features a smoke screen that viewers are forced to walk through to access the piece. Stereo Sequences is the first exhibition in a series of ACMI artist commissions and runs until 14 August. - www.acmi.net.au
SHAUN GLADWELL 'Parallel Forces' 2011, Synchronised dual channel HD video, 16:9, stereo Courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery.
SHAUN GLADWELL 'Planet & Stars Sequence: Bondi' 2011, Dual channel HD video presented as 2 x 16 mm film loops Performer: Shaun Gladwell Cinematography: Gotaro Uematsu and Josh Raymond Photography: Josh Raymond Courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery.
SHAUN GLADWELL 'Tangara' 2003, Single channel video 16:9, Silent Performer: Shaun Gladwell Cinematography: Gotaro Uematsu Photography: Josh Raymond Courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery.
Bundoora’s Homestead’s Darebin Art Show is an acquisitive exhibition featuring the work of 83 artists and craftspeople living and working in Darebin. “The City of Darebin has established a reputation for supporting and developing the arts within our city. We do this through a range of innovative programs, promoting excellence and innovation in contemporary visual art practice and supporting both emerging and established artists. This is a special exhibition as it celebrates the strength of our own artistic community,” says Councillor Stanley Chiang, Chairman of the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Board. The biennial show features a ‘People’s Choice Award’, in which visitors are encouraged to vote for their preferred work. The winners of the show will be announced at the show launch in mid-July and the exhibition runs until 17 September - www.bundoorahomestead.com
Dion Horstmans’ latest exhibition Light Speed at Flinders Lane Gallery features abstract, brightly-coloured geometric sculptures inspired by speed, light and shadow. Light and shadows work in conjunction with these three-dimensional sculptures, creating depth and complexity for each piece. A selection of names for pieces including Super Nova, Cosmos and Comet, demonstrate Horstmans’ fascination with mechanics, physics and speed.
Also at Flinders Lane Gallery, Dr Terri Brooks explores natural mark making via paint and surface textures in her latest exhibition, Over the Edge. Considering herself “a city based landscape artist”, Brooks explains that “the walls and walkways are my hills and valleys. My work is process based but the end result matters. The process is ephemeral, the outcome concrete...” Brooks has the innate ability to create striking, complex works from urban scenes that most of us would find unappealing and overlook as a source of inspiration. The brilliance of her work lies in her skill for finding beauty in the colours, textures and lines of the urban environment, which is often worn and far from pristine perfection. Light Speed and Over the Edge run from 9 – 27 August. - www.flg.com.au
Groundwork at the Ian Potter Museum of art features a selection of paintings from three Indigenous artists: Butcher Cherel, Mick Jawalji and Rammey Ramsey. Curator Quentin Sprague has selected these prominent artists from Western Australia’s Kimberley region to challenge common conceptions and expectations of Indigenous art, such as distinctive regional style. Despite sharing common social and cultural relationships (all three artists have previously worked together on cattle stations throughout the region), their art practice ventures in different directions. Sprague explains that “Cherel, Jawalji and Ramsey all employ different formal and conceptual techniques to explore the tensions between storytelling, representation and picture-making in their art ... Cherel’s fields of mark-making, Jawalji’s use of geometry and Ramsey’s pictographic representations are three examples of respective iconographies, all of which can be seen as dynamic individual variations to the established forms of art-making in the region.” Another noteworthy aspect of this exhibition is that “the works can also be seen to represent a social and cultural mapping of the region - one that represents shared influences on the artists regardless of the differences apparent in their work.” Runs from 3 August to 23 October.
Traditional techniques, combined with contemporary innovation have formed the foundation for Gioiellid’Autore. Padova e la Scuoladell’oro (Contemporary Jewellery. Padua and its Jewellery School) at RMIT Gallery until 14 August. The Padua jewellery school is internationally renowned for its excellence in instruction of Gold and Silversmithing. More than 150 pieces from sixteen of the Padua jewellery school’s students are immaculately presented in silver-grey display cases lined with matching silk, upon which the jewellery has been carefully placed and labelled. The variety and outstanding excellence of the pieces presented is a testament to Padua and its students. Look out for Paulo Maurizio’s colourful Modulo ’69 arcobaleno, 1989 necklace, made from gold and anodised photonic titanium and displaying an ombré rainbow of colours from bronze to purple, teal, green and gold as well as Marco Rigovacca’s oversized earrings. - www.rmit.edu.au/rmitgallery