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Exploring some of the most globally relevant and pressing issues of our time, including isolation, representation and speculation on the future, the NGV Triennial will present a large-scale exhibition of international contemporary art, design and architecture. Featuring 86 projects by more than 100 artists, designers and collectives from more than 30 countries, the NGV Triennial will open at NGV International on 19 December 2020. The exhibition offers a visually arresting and thought-provoking view of the world at this unique moment.

Featuring works by Aïda Muluneh (Ethiopia) Alicja Kwade (Germany), Cerith Wyn Evans (Wales), Dhambit Mununggurr (Australia), Faye Toogood (England), Fred Wilson (USA), Hannah Brontë (Australia), Jeff Koons (USA), JR (France), Kengo Kuma (Japan), Liam Young (Australia), Misaki Kawai (Japan), Patricia Urquiola (Spain), Porky Hefer (South Africa) and Refik Anadol (Turkey), the NGV Triennial includes more than 30 major new world-premiere works especially commissioned by the NGV for this exhibition.

Highlights include: an entire floor dedicated to works concerning light and illumination presented in dialogue with the NGV’s historical collection; a monumental video work by Refik Anadol spanning 10 metres high and wide, which uses artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and quantum computing to visualise our digitised memories of nature; and a larger-than-life mirror-polished sculpture of Venus, Roman goddess of love, by American artist Jeff Koons.

Further highlights include a comprehensive display of works by Yolngu woman Dhambit Mununggurr, the first Yolngu artist to depict country in her signature shades of acrylic blue paint. Comprising 15 large-scale bark paintings and nine larrakitj (hollow poles), some of which stand more than three metres high, the works have all been painted with the artist’s non-preferred left hand after an accident left her with limited mobility.

Kengo Kuma, one of the most respected figures in Japanese architecture, will collaborate with Melbourne artist Geoffrey Nees to create an architectural pavilion that acts as a sensorial walkway through which to approach and contemplate a newly acquired painting by South Korean artist Lee Ufan. The work will be constructed from timber harvested from trees that died during the Millennium Drought at Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens, some of which pre-date European colonisation.

Exploring the themes of daylight, candlelight and moonlight inspired by and within the context of the NGV’s seventeenth and eighteenth century Flemish, Dutch and British collections, interior designer Faye Toogood will curate several gallery spaces creating a considered salon-style interior featuring newly commissioned furniture, lighting, scenography, sculpture and large-scale tapestries.

Also making its world premiere will be a work by renowned French artist JR, which brings global attention to the ecological decline of the Darling River. The work will comprise a chapel-like structure erected in the NGV Grollo Equiset Garden that features a set of large stained-glass window portraits of people he visited in the Sunraysia agricultural region of Victoria and New South Wales on a recent visit to Australia.

Drawing on intimacy and awe, sadness and beauty, ruination and inspiration, these themes present a microcosm of the current world.

The exhibition is underpinned by four themes – Illumination, Reflection, Conservation, and Speculation – that invite audiences to embark on a journey of exploration and to discover the intersecting ideas through the works on display. The four thematic pillars have emerged from the collective work presented in the NGV Triennial, illuminating the pressing concerns that preoccupy the artists, designers and architects of our time. Drawing on intimacy and awe, sadness and beauty, ruination and inspiration, these themes present a microcosm of the current world.

Tony Ellwood AM, Director, National Gallery of Victoria said: ‘The NGV Triennial offers visitors a significant opportunity to explore how we use art to express ourselves, communicate and consider the world as it is, while also asking how we would like it to be. Artists, designers and architects of the twenty-first century perform a vital role in giving form to our collective imagination, fears and aspirations. We are all living in a world in flux: there has never been a more important moment to celebrate human capability than now.’

The NGV will present virtual exhibition tours and programs as part of NGV Triennial associated programming.  NGV Triennial runs 19 December 2020 – 18 April 2021 at NGV International, St Kilda Road, Melbourne. Further information is available via the NGV website.

For more visit: ngv.vic.gov.au

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