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Discover The Spectacular NGV Triennial 2023, NGV International

If you’re passionate about contemporary art and design, then get excited for the third iteration of the NGV Triennial. 

Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is hosting its highly anticipated Triennial Exhibition from Sunday 1 December to Sunday 8 April 2024.

Covering all four levels of NGV International, it’s a spectacular celebration of art, design, and architecture, bringing together leading international artists and designers from around the world. 

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NGV Triennial Exhibition

An immersive art experience awaits you at the NGV Triennial Exhibition, with 75 contemporary works from 100 artists, designers and collectives representing a diverse range of artistic practices including painting, sculpture, installation, fashion and digital art. 

From awe-inspiring large-scale installations to intricate sculptures and vibrant paintings, each artwork tells a unique story.

You’ll encounter renowned artists as well as emerging talents, all pushing the boundaries of their craft. 

There are more than 25 world-premier projects commissioned by the NGV, especially for the exhibition.

With many of the works on display entering the NGV’s permanent collection, the NGV Triennial is part of the process of establishing a lasting legacy for Victoria and Australia. 

Azuma Makoto Block Flowers
Azuma Makoto Block Flowers

2023 NGV Triennial Themes

There are three key themes for the 2023 NGV Triennial – Magic, Matter and Memory.

The themes offer an insight into the concerns of the artists and designers. The exhibition fosters a spirit of innovation, encouraging visitors to question, reflect, and engage with the art in meaningful ways.

Highlights include:

Polish-born Agnieszka Pilat will train Boston Dynamics robot dogs to paint autonomously and audiences can witness the robot dogs painting a monolithic durational work. Pilat imagines that in a distant future these paintings will be revered as the first primitive art-making of AI enabled robots.

NGV Triennial px
Quadruped robot dogs Bonnie Spot and Basia Spot

In a special collaboration with Paris haute couture house Schiaparelli, the NGV has invited artistic director Daniel Roseberry to present a selection of works from recent collections alongside a collection of gilded surrealist accessories and body adornment.

Presented within an immersive and celestial environment, the display highlights Roseberry’s interest in pushing the boundaries of couture practice, the elemental, and his view that art and fashion can question, shape and address the concerns of contemporary life.

Flora Yukhnovich A taste of toxic Paradies
Flora Yukhnovich A taste of toxic Paradies

Counter-culture icon Yoko Ono will present a large-scale text-based work on the NGV International façade. The multi-media artist will draw upon her Instruction Pieces and major public art commissions around the world for this poignant work. 

Ilana Savdie Chronic Irritations Collective edging
Ilana Savdie Chronic Irritations Collective edging

NGV Triennial will also present a selection of recently acquired work by British artist Tracey Emin. Highlights include a five-metre-high text-based neon light installation of Emin’s own handwriting, abstract and tactile bronze sculptures, plus gestural and figurative paintings that confront moments of extreme emotion, anguish, elation or pain.

Portrait of Bethan Laura Wood photo Mark Cocksedge
Portrait of Bethan Laura Wood photo Mark Cocksedge

Senior Paris-based and American-born sculptor Sheila Hicks presents Nowhere to Go, 2022, a major sculptural installation utilising Hicks’ signature bulbous forms of brightly coloured fibre. Stacked high against a wall, the forms gather to create an imposing and yet playful installation that celebrates the experience of architectural space and the emotional potential of colour.

Portrait of Betty Muffler Courtesy of the artist and Iwanta Arts
Portrait of Betty Muffler Courtesy of the artist and Iwanta Arts

David Shrigley OBE presents his monumental public sculpture, Really Good, 2016. The work was originally conceived for the Fourth Plinth in London’s iconic Trafalgar Square, in the immediate aftermath of the UK’s decision to leave the EU. Taking the form of a seven-metre-high thumbs-up, the sculpture is characteristic of the self-conscious irony often found in Shrigley’s work and is intended as both a satirical and sincere gesture.

Portrait of Iluwanti Ken Image courtesy of the artist Tjala Arts and Jan Murphy Gallery
Portrait of Iluwanti Ken Image courtesy of the artist Tjala Arts and Jan Murphy Gallery

Collaborators Elmgreen and Dragset offer a dynamic sculptural installation where multiple works combine to traverse the artists’ unique approach to sculpture and installation. The Painter, Fig. 1, 2021, depicts a male figure, barefoot and shirtless, caught in the process of making a sweeping black mark across a white canvas. In The Balcony, a figure leans out from above to photograph the audience. Above it all is What’s left?, a tightrope stretched across the void, a lone figure clings to the rope, seemingly to drop at any moment, to a tragic fate.

Li lihong McDonalds China dragons
Li lihong McDonalds China dragons

Mun-dirra is a monumental one-hundred-metre-long woven fish fence which was produced over two years by ten artists working with apprentices in Maningrida, Arnhem Land. The immersive installation, which invites audiences inside it, represents one of the two common types of fish traps produced in the area. The weavers are from the Burarra language group from the east-side Arnhem Land who specialise in the customary weaving. 

Jaime Hayon Afrikando
Jaime Hayon Afrikando

Tokyo-based artist Azuma Makoto will present a room sized installation as an homage to the magical beauty and lifeforce of plants. After freezing a multitude of Australian flowers and botanicals into crystalline acrylic blocks, the artist places these jewel-like sculptural elements in dialogue with a beguiling multi-screen film depicting the life and death of flowers. 

Installation view of Keith Wikmuneas Teewiith yot a plenty of white cockatoos
Installation view of Keith Wikmuneas Teewiith yot a plenty of white cockatoos

American artist Hugh Hayden will exhibit his 2022 installation, The end, for the NGV Triennial. Taking over an entire gallery space, the work depicts an apocalyptic elementary school classroom – replete with desks and chairs – that has been overrun with branches and dodo skeletons. Also on display will be Hayden’s 2020 work The Cosby’s, which comprises a series of cast iron skillets that have been reimagined as West African masks.

Installation view of Betty Mufflers Ngangkari Ngura Healing Country
Installation view of Betty Mufflers Ngangkari Ngura Healing Country

Megacities is large-scale, NGV-commissioned presentation that invites ten leading street photographers to capture the urban environment of ten global megacities, with a population exceeding 10 million: Cairo, Dhaka, Jakarta, Delhi, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Seoul, Lagos, Tokyo and Mexico City. 

Hulda Guzman Daily Ceremony
Hulda Guzman Daily Ceremony

Beyond the exhibition, the NGV Triennial offers a range of engaging experiences for visitors of all ages. 

Li Lihong Mickey China
Li Lihong Mickey China

The exhibition runs for several months, allowing ample time to plan your visit. Head over to the NGV website to explore the exhibition’s highlights and learn more about featured artists and the artworks. 

Installation view of Hugh Haydens The End
Installation view of Hugh Haydens The End

NGV Triennial for Kids

For families there is a world-premiere all-ages exhibition RIFIFI: Jean Jullien for Kids that invites kids and their families to experience the work of leading contemporary artists and designers in an interactive and playful environment. 

Plus the NGV Kids Summer Festival 2024 celebrates the work of the NGV Triennial artists and designers with an exciting 9-day program of all-ages workshops, activities and events.


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NGV Triennial PIN
NGV Triennial – PIN this picture to save this post!

About Joyce Watts

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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