As recommended by Kiki
Disclaimer: This isn’t a complete guide to the Southbank Arts Precinct - Buxton Contemporary (a new fave) was sadly missed as it was closed on a Sunday. What this edit is, is a round-up of galleries that are sometimes eclipsed by the amazing NGV International; venues that are within walking distance of each other; and that are also FREE!
The distinctive rusty steel façade of ACCA (Australian Centre for Contemporary Art) has become one of Melbourne’s architectural icons. Based on the European model of the kunsthalle or ‘exhibition hall’, the building is, in its simplest form, a large shell for the display of contemporary art. Their exhibitions champion new art and bold ideas for artists, thinkers and enthusiasts of the visual arts.
Time your visit and see a show at the Malthouse Theatre afterwards (next door); or if you’re extra fortunate with timing (or an over-zealous planner) catch a fantastic dance performance at the Chunky Move studio which is tucked at the back of the building.
Once inside we encountered objects that purposely create spaces of geometry and materiality. Walking through the sculptural practise of Eva Rothschild reinforces the inner architecture of ACCA and your own bodies physical presence.
Our favourite work was the theatre curtain of glossy coloured plastic that invokes a geometric painting (yes you are allowed to walk through it!) The sacrificial lair speaks to Rothschild’s interest in forms of public pageantry, ceremony and procession, as well as the relevance of constructivist theatre to her work.
You can get a sense of the exhibition and the artists practise if you watch this video: Eva Rothschild: Kosmos. Kosmos is showing until the 25th November 2018.
ACMI (Australian Centre for Moving Image) started its life as the State Film Centre for Victoria but once it moved into the heart of Fed Square in the 90s it morphed into an immersive exploration of EVERYTHING to do with the moving image: film, TV, video games, comics and digital art.
True to its roots you can still grab a glass of vino and head upstairs and to the cinema(s). You can even join their very own film society – Mediatheque – which celebrates rare international works of cinema every Wednesday at 7pm!
And yet it’s still morphing. Just launched, ACMI X is a dedicated state of the art office space for moving image artists. ACMI is looking to continue the transformation by fostering a culture of collaboration, innovation and sustainability. Watch this space.
Also located in Fed Square is the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia. We meandered between the foyers of the three levels to experience the conceptual sculptures and sculptural installations of Truly, Madly which is on display until 17 February 2019.
Still practising at 86, Ken Unsworth has fine-tuned his wonderful ability to make his art and ideas accessible using humour, nostalgia, fear and a little bit of WTF?!
At ACMI we lounged in the gallery turned cinema, which is set up with bean bags to watch Zanny Begg’s The Beehive (on from 31 July to 4 November 2018)
The Beehive is randomly assembled from a reservoir of scripted fictions, documentary interviews and choreographed sequences. The software, created by programmer Andy Nicholson, randomly selects a different combination of footage with each viewing, offering different glimpses and interpretations of this infamous true crime. We watched it through four times and could of stayed for more.
If you’re in Sydney, it’s just been announced that the film will be shown as part of the Sydney Festival at the UNSW Galleries in Paddington (from 5 Jan to 23 Feb 2019). Win.
The MPavilion is an architectural commission that sits in the lush Queen Victoria Gardens. The annually created space provides an innovative civic hub for the community to engage in a diverse arts program. There is honestly something for every Melbournite, from wee babes to Nonna’s.
We stretched out on the lawn under the glorious afternoon sun and shared some takeaway Pidapipo gelato, followed by Four Pillars gin and cucumber tonics, with the Australian Youth Orchestra as our background soundtrack. Delightful.
Other activities earmarked for this Summer by Kiki are:
Just to feel well rounded after all that culture and to show off any existentialist ‘art talk’ you might of picked up, our suggestion is to end your excursion with a drink. We chose somewhere close to home and safe from the cool change that snuck up on us.
A ‘neighbourhood bar with minimal waste ethos’ – Lay Low Bar is a new Seddon/Footscray discovery that is the perfect drinking hole for the black moon beauty. Enter Brixton Pound, ring the doorbell to gain entry (very Melbourne) and walk down the corridor. The drinks are quirky and the setup is surprisingly spacious and light once you make it in.
Hot Tip: the Pancake Breakfast. Enjoy.