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First Look: Massive NGV Exhibition Melbourne Now

Ten years after the first blockbuster edition of Melbourne Now in 2013, the NGV is bringing back the ground-breaking exhibition at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia on Friday 24 March 2023. 

This huge exhibition showcases the work of more than 200 Victorian-based artists, designers, studios and firms, including more than 70 world-premiere works commissioned especially by the NGV. It will cover all levels of The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia.

The exhibition features local emerging, mid-career and senior practitioners and collectives – including many who are presenting at the NGV for the very first time. 

Expect to see fashion, jewellery, painting, sculpture, architecture, ceramics, video, virtual reality, performance, photography, printmaking, product design and publishing. 

Melbourne Now

NGV Melbourne Now

As you enter NGV Australia, you’ll see Lee Darroch’s 10-metre-long installation Duta Ganha Woka (Save Mother Earth Now). It comprises driftwood collected on Country, representing men and women from the 38 Indigenous language groups of Victoria.

In the third-floor foyer is Lou Hubbard’s Walkers with Dinosaurs, 2021–23: a mass of inflatable walking frames tumbling out into the foyer, presented alongside two stacks of colourful, dinosaur-shaped children’s chairs. 

Other highlights include:

A room-sized neon-lit ‘temple’ constructed from thousands of computer fans by emerging artist Rel Pham, which draws on the artist’s Vietnamese heritage and interest in gaming culture. 

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Rel Pham TEMPLE2022 digital render ©Rel Pham Courtesy of artist

Troy Emery’s largest sculptural and most ambitious work to date – brightly-coloured pom poms pinned over a large feline sculpture standing over three metres high.  

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The Design Wall returns with a large-scale installation celebrating consumer products designed in Melbourne over the past decade, including guitars, ladders, Tontine pillows, luggage, motorbikes, Robert Gordon Pottery and more. 

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Installation view of Design Wall on display in Melbourne Now 2013 at the National Gallery of Victoria from 22 November 2013–23 March 2014. Photo: NGV

Fashion Now highlights the work of 18 local designers with more than 30 recent acquisitions and loans, including Ngali, Chris Ran Lin, Arnsdorf, Blair Archibald, Nixi Killick, Erik Yvon, Strateas Carlucci and Verner, plus a glamorous gown commissioned by the NGV from J’Aton Couture.

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Arnsdorf Fashion House Jade Sarita Arnott Designer Alessandra Trench Coat 2022 recycled vegan leather, australian merino wool ©Arnsdorf Photo: Arnsdorf

Community Hall will bring people together through a daily rotation of programs. Through collaborations with a range of partners – including Multicultural Arts Victoria, Play It Forward, Arts Project Australia, Moroccan Soup Bar, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Australian National Academy of Music, and the Australian Queer Archives – Community Hall provides an opportunity for visitors to engage with exhibiting artists and designers, to learn more about the projects in Melbourne Now, and experience the vibrant diversity of Melbourne’s creative communities.  

Civic Architecture surveys five award-winning civic projects by Melbourne architects that have been catalysts for transformation in different neighbourhoods, including in Dandenong, Broadmeadows and Geelong. 

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 Installation view of Geelong Library & Heritage Centre by ARM Architecture ©ARM Architecture Photo: John Gollings

No House Style assembles leading and emerging Melbourne-based furniture designers and architects. 

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Installation view of RaeRae House 2020 by Austin Maynard Architects© Austin Maynard Architects Photo: Peter Bennetts

Jewellery Now provides insight into Melbourne’s dynamic culture of contemporary jewellery practice through the work of fifteen artists and designers.  

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Inari Kiuru Nightwatch 2022 neckpiece, fabricated from paper clay, pigments, 18-carat gold, polymer coated copper wire.22.5 x 22.5 x 7.0 cm ©Inari Kiuru Photo: Inari Kiuru

Georgia Banks has created Gee, an AI chatbot developed using data from the questionnaires Banks completed during the process of applying for several Australian reality TV dating shows. Over a six-month period, Banks spoke to Gee every day, to see if they could fall in love with each other. During the exhibition, you can see if you too can fall in love with Gee!

Shaun Gladwell’s Passing Electrical Storms is a participatory extended reality (XR) experience. Through headsets, the work guides participants through a simulated life and death experience that invites the audience to contemplate the universes both within and beyond the body. 

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Production of Shaun Gladwell’s Passing Electrical Storms 2022. Courtesy of NGV

Part playground and part photo booth, James Lemon’s participatory work Swarming invites audiences of all ages to learn through play about the importance and fragility of bee life in our ecosystems – and to human survival.

Melbourne Now is on display from 24 March to 20 August 2023 at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Fed Square, Melbourne. Free entry. 

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James Lemon Swarming2022 stoneware-various dimensions© James Lemon Images courtesy of James Lemon

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Melbourne Now at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia – PIN this picture to save this post!
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Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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In the spirit of reconciliation, we acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community.

We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

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