Around the galleries – Winter preview

June 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

Published: The Age, A2, May 30, 2009.

Around the galleries – Dan Rule

Tacita Dean

Tacita Dean

WHAT Salvador Dali: Liquid Desire
WHERE National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Road, city, tel 8620 2222,

There’s barely a scraggily high school art student – or former scraggily high school art student for that matter – who hasn’t at some stage worshipped, pastiched or outwardly ripped-off the work of the great Salvador Dali in their noble ascent to the lofty realms of day jobs and discarded easels. The sixth instalment in the NGV’s Melbourne Winter Masterpieces will be the tonic for fresh burst of creativity. Liquid Desires – the first comprehensive retrospective of the legendary Surrealist to be staged in Australia – brings together over Dali 200 works, spanning painting, drawing, watercolour, sculpture, jewellery, fashion, photography and cinema. Admission fees apply: Adult $23 / Concession $18 / Children $11 / Family $60. June 13 to October 4.

WHAT Tacita Dean
WHERE Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, 111 Sturt Street, Southbank, tel 9697 9999,

One of the UK’s most acclaimed contemporary artists, Tacita Dean’s contemplative negotiations of vestige and history inhabit a space between fact and fiction. Her understated 16mm film, photography, print and drawing work delves into both temporality and the mystique of the natural world.  Relics of history and of form are recaptured and reconsidered; celluloid is rescued from the throws of the digital age. In what ACCA describe as “a great coup for Melbourne”, fourteen of the award-winning artist’s recent projects will come together to comprise the most extensive exhibition of Dean’s work to ever be shown outside of Europe. June 6 to August 2.

WHAT The Light in Winter
WHERE Various locations, Federation Square, city, tel 9655 1900,

The people at Federation Square plan to take the chill off the winter air with this public light-based festival. Drawing on themes of light, enlightenment and hope, The Light in Winter is part of a series of public light-based installations around the CBD. The festival includes striking commissions from UK-based design group United Visual Artists (known for their work with U2, Massive Attack, Arctic Monkeys and Kylie Minogue) and local lighting designer Nathan Thompson. Members of Melbourne’s multicultural communities will also offer their own interpretation of light as part of ‘The Gift of Light’, a special community gathering at Fed Square on June 20 (the winter solstice).  June 4 to July 5.

WHAT Louis Porter: Cheap Flights
WHERE Centre for Contemporary Photography, 404 George Street, Fitzroy, tel 9417 1549,

Louis Porter is a sucker for suburbia. The British-born, Melbourne-based photographer’s penchant for colour-saturated anti-exoticism in some ways recalls fellow Brit Martin Parr. But while Parr is known for divulging and exaggerating the garishness of his subjects, Porter’s work breathes with a more candid, human sensibility. He relies on composition and space rather than personality; his sparsely populated suburban streetscapes, vacant lots, tangles of shopping trolleys and discarded plastic bags are as beautiful as they are destitute. Cheap Flights sees Porter get out of town. Shot on various trips between 2005 and 2008, the collection strips away the romanticism to explore on the more disappointing, anti-climactic facets of travel. The cheerful “homemade propaganda” of holiday albums is refocused to reveal the generic fast food outlets, litter and letdowns. June 5 to August 2.

WHAT Len Lye: An Artist in Perpetual Motion
WHERE Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Federation Square, city, tel 8663 2200,

Perhaps the most significant New Zealand experimental artist of the 20th Century, Len Lye (1901–1980) had a far-reaching impact across countless emerging artistic movements and mediums. Having spent extended amounts time in Samoa and Sydney studying indigenous folk art and modernism in the 1920s, Lye went onto develop experimental film and animation techniques in London in the 30s, became ensconced in Surrealism (exhibiting alongside Dali, Max Ernst and Man Ray), contributed to the experimental art and film scene in New York in the 50s, before developing his robotic ‘tangible motion sculptures’ in the 60s. An Artist in Perpetual Motion is billed as “the largest and most comprehensive” survey of his work to date. Presented in association with the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, it will feature works never exhibited before, including sketches, paintings, batiks, photographs, animations, documentary films and his astonishing motorised kinetic sculptures. July 16 to October 11.

WHAT Craft Cubed
WHERE Craft Victoria, 31 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, tel 9650 7775,

With the handmade experiencing a design-savvy boom, Craft Victoria launch the inaugural Craft Cubed festival – under the theme of City|Country – this August. Utilising the Craft Victoria gallery space as well as the online domain, the festival aims to further the conversation between individual craft practitioners and the cutting edge design community. It will comprise an online exhibit of 50 international design projects as part of its Whitebox program, showcase 50 of Craft Victoria’s professional members in a curated onsite exhibition Perspective, and offer a string of professional development and open studio programs. August 1 to September 12


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