I just had a good scan of the program for the upcoming Melbourne International Arts Festival and there’s a whole bunch of crazy awesome things to check out. I thought I would summarise the ones that I consider “not to be missed”. You really don’t have an excuse not to go now! ;)

Behind The Lens: Up Close On Film

What: Film screening
ACMI, Cinema 1
When: Sunday 17 October 2010, 3.30pm
Moolah: $14 full, $11 concession

Get a glimpse of the photographers behind the camera with these two documentaries about two of the artists featured in Heide Museum of Modern Art’s Up Close exhibition.

Girl In A Mirror Kathy Drayton, 2005, Rated M
Kathy Drayton’s award-winning film offers a vibrant portrait of the counterculture of 1970s Sydney and Melbourne as seen through the eyes of the iconic Australian photographer Carol Jerrems. The screening is introduced with a short talk by Natalie King, guest curator of Up Close: Carol Jerrems with Larry Clark, Nan Goldin and William Yang, and followed by a Q & A with the film’s director Kathy Drayton, chaired by Natalie King.

Sadness Tony Ayres, 1999, Rated M
A moving and unforgettable filmic adaptation of William Yang’s acclaimed stage performance, Sadness, as told by celebrated Australian filmmaker Tony Ayres (The Home Song StoriesWalking on Water). The screening is introduced with a short talk by Jason Smith, Director and CEO of Heide Museum of Modern Art, and followed by a Q & A with the film’s director Tony Ayres and artist William Yang, chaired by Jason Smith.

Click here for more information and tickets.

Bill Viola In Conversation

What: Artist talk
ACMI, Cinema 2
When: Friday 8 October 2010, 6.30pm – 8.00pm
Moolah: $14 full, $11 concession

As part of the 2010 Melbourne Festival’s Bill Viola celebration, this In Conversation offers a rare opportunity to hear one of the world’s most renowned contemporary artists discuss his remarkable work.

Throughout the Festival Viola’s Fire Woman and Tristan’s Ascension can be experienced at St Carthage’s Church, The Raft is showing at ACMI and his work is also part of the Mortality exhibition at ACCA.
Ocean Without a Shore is a permanent installation at NGV International until 13 September 2010.

Click here for more information and tickets. (PS: I think this might be sold out)

come, been & gone

What: Performance (dance)
Where: State Theatre, The Arts Centre
When: Friday 8, Saturday 9, Sunday 10 October 2010 at 7.30pm – 9.30pm (Sunday show is 5pm – 7pm)
Moolah: Premium $97.50, A Reserve $75/$56.25, B Reserve $60/$45, C Reserve $42/$31.5 (full/concession)

The worlds of classical ballet, modern dance and explosive rock music collide head on, yet manage to coexist in perfect harmony, in this exhilarating Australian premiere of Michael Clark’s come, been and gone. The playful and provocative smash hit of last year’s Edinburgh Festival is set to be this year’s must-see Melbourne Festival event.

Created to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Michael Clark Company, the critically acclaimed production come, been and gone is made primarily to the music of the legendary David Bowie. It also embraces the work of his key collaborators Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Brian Eno and touches on some of his influences including The Velvet Underground and Kraftwerk amongst others.

Dancer, choreographer and artistic associate of London’s Barbican, Michael Clark creates work that combines his classical integrity with a more complex contemporary sensibility embracing virtue and vice, abandon and control, grace and embarrassment. He is renowned for his legendary collaborations with bands, fashion designers and visual artists including Wire, BodyMap, Leigh Bowery, Trojan and Sarah Lucas.

Click here for more information and tickets. Be quick! When we bought our tickets last week there weren’t that many left! Saturday night still has some decent ones available.

Dying In spite Of The Miraculous

What: Exhibition
Gertrude Contemporary
When: Friday 8 October to Saturday 23 October 2010
Moolah: Free!

Featuring work by seven major international artists, Dying in Spite of the Miraculous reveals the shadowy outlines that bleed between worlds, where artists become inseparable from their haunting of a site or a story. Co-curated by the Festival and Gertrude Contemporary, the exhibition explores film’s potential as an allegory for the interplay between real time and the illusory, as actors blur their characters with themselves, and sites resonate with accumulated history.

Combining the intrigue of real life events born from trauma and psychosis with ritual and magic, Dying in Spite of the Miraculous presents a restless fusion of the celestial and the real. In all of these works the celestial coexists with the out-take and the certain becomes ethereal.

Working in collaboration with architect Johan Van Schaik, Gertrude Contemporary’s two gallery spaces will be transformed into a dematerialising labyrinth, mirroring the way the works blur the distinction between self and subject.

Jeremy Blake (USA) presented work in the 2000, 2002 and 2004 Whitney Biennials, and his work also features as the abstract sequences in the film Punch Drunk Love.
Ulla von Brandenburg (Germany) has exhibited widely including in the 2009 Venice Biennale, the 2008 Torino Triennale and at Tate Modern, London.
Bas Jan Ader (Netherlands) exhibited at Museum of Modern Art, New York, ‘Prospect ’71’ Dusseldorf, and in numerous solo exhibitions.
Joachim Koester (Denmark) was a 2008 finalist for the Hugo Boss Prize and exhibited for the 2005 Venice Biennale Danish Pavilion.
Justin Lieberman (USA) has exhibited at galleries and museums in New York, Israel, Paris, Milan, Brussels, Switzerland, and London.
Mel O’Callaghan is an Australian born, Paris and Berlin-based artist whose film, video, photographic and sculptural installations have been exhibited in Australia and overseas.
Saskia Olde Wolbers (Netherlands) was the winner of the Beck’s Futures award in 2004 and the Baloise Prize at Basel Art Fair 2003 and has exhibited extensively internationally.

Click here for more information.

En Masse

What: Installation and live performance
Where: Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall – Main Hall
When: Installation on during festival, live performance on Tue 19 – Sat 23 Oct at 6.30pm & 8pm, Fri 22 – Sat 23 Oct at 5pm
Moolah: Free to view installation, $25 full and $18 concession for live performance

A sensual experience that explores survival in a complex and chaotic world.

Audiences are invited into the heart of a spherical space where dream-like images are projected all around. A musician plays live, her solo set against an electroacoustic backdrop realised by some of the world’s most respected sound artists. In the midst of this evolving world, you lie back on your chair and immerse yourself in the exquisite sights and sounds.

Inspired by experiences and ideas based within nature, en masse is the result of a collaboration between Australian recorder virtuoso Genevieve Lacey and UK filmmaker Marc Silver. Part concert, part film, part installation, this unique and mesmerising Festival experience is made complete by the soulful sounds of Lacey performing live, but can also be experienced as a beautiful sonic and visual installation.

Click here for more information.

Fire Woman And Tristan’s Ascension

What: Installation
Where: St Carthages, Parkville
When: 8 Oct to 23 Oct 2010, 7.30pm – 10pm
Moolah: Free!

Pioneering American artist Bill Viola has been instrumental in the establishment of video as a vital form of contemporary art. For over 35 years he has created videotapes, architectural video installations, sound environments, electronic music performances, flat panel video pieces and works for television broadcast. His video installations – total environments that envelop the viewer in image and sound – employ state-of-the-art technologies and are distinguished by their precision and direct simplicity. His next major commission is the creation of two permanent altar pieces for St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

For the 2010 Melbourne Festival, in partnership with Kaldor Public Art Projects, St Carthage’s Catholic Church in Parkville is turned into a video art shrine complete with the latest technology, surround sound and enveloping operatic narrative. Shown in a continuous loop, the two works, Fire Woman and Tristan’s Ascension, combine for a 20 minute visual and aural experience that extends Viola’s lifelong engagement with the human condition into ancient themes of life, love and death.

These two immersive installations are derived from Viola’s creation for Richard Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde directed by Peter Sellars. Now separated from the opera, the stunning installations feature mythical and mystical apparitions set to their own new soundtrack, and can be experienced in all their glory in the sacred surrounds of St Carthage’s.

Click here for more information.


What: Exhibition
Where: ACCA
When: Throughout festival, according to ACCA’s opening hours
Moolah: Free!

From the cradle to the grave… ACCA’s major exhibition Mortality takes us on life’s journey from the moment of lift off to the final send off, and all the bits in between. Curated by Juliana Engberg to reflect the Festival’s visual arts themes of spirituality, death and the afterlife, this transhistorical event includes metaphoric pictures and works by some of the world’s leading artists.

The amazing list of exhibiting artists are: Charles Anderson, George Armfield, Melanie Boreham, Bureau of Inverse Technology, Aleks Danko, Tacita Dean, Sue Ford, Garry Hill, Larry Jenkins, Peter Kennedy, Anastasia Klose, Arthur Lindsay, Dora Meeson, Anna Molska, TV Moore, Tony Oursler, Neil Pardington, Giulio Paolini, Mark Richards, David Rosetzky, Anri Sala, James Shaw, Louise Short, William Strutt, Darren Sylvester, Fiona Tan, Bill Viola, Annika von Hausswolff, Mark Wallinger, Lynette Wallworth, and last but not least, Turner Prize winner Gillian Wearing. 

Click here for more information.

The Raft

What: Video installation
Where: ACMI, Gallery 2
When: Throughout festival, according to ACMI’s opening hours
Moolah: Free!

Experience video artist Bill Viola’s interpretation of The Raft of the Medusa by Theodore Gericault as part of the Festival’s celebration of this renowned artist’s work. The Raft (2004) shows a group of men and women of various races and socio-economic backgrounds suddenly being knocked to the ground by a huge, high-pressure jet of water. Water flies everywhere, clothing and bodies are pummelled, faces and limbs contort in stress and agony against the cold, hard force. Then, as suddenly as it arrived, the water stops, leaving behind a band of suffering, bewildered, and battered individuals.

The action in The Raft is recorded in high-speed film and unfolds in extreme slow motion to reveal subtle nuances of the light and colour in the explosive impact of the water and the individual expressions and gestures of the figures in the face of an overwhelming onslaught. Described by the artist as “an image of destruction and survival”, this powerful and extremely moving work is a symbol of hope in the difficult times we find ourselves.

Click here for more information.

The Solo Projects

What: Exhibition
Where: Victorian College of the Arts – The Margaret Lawrence Gallery, 40 Dodds St, Southbank
When: Throughout festival, according to gallery opening hours
Moolah: Free!

For The Solo Projects, Melbourne-based artists Jensen Tjhung and Sean Loughrey each construct a room within a room to create intense and immersive viewing experiences.

Through researching and collating information on the psychology of fractured belief systems, places of worship in philosophy and mythology, Tjhung creates a large-scale monument reflecting the dark forces of the Australian psyche from the deep suburbs to the outback.

Loughrey’s new work, titled Fiat lux – Let There Be Light – Again, utilises projection, both inside and outside a prefabricated constructed and furnished room or shed. As in previous works, this new project reflects upon the work of Samuel Beckett. While the title pronounces a repeated beginning, the contrary underlying philosophical concerns are questions of existence and the end of “things” as a character in a Beckett play might say.

Click here for more information.

An American Index Of the Hidden And Unfamiliar

What: Exhibition
Where: Centre for Contemporary Photography, 404 George St, Fitzroy
When: Throughout festival, according to gallery opening hours
Moolah: Free!

Inspired by rumours of weapons of mass destruction and secret sites in Iraq, American photographic artist Taryn Simon focuses her lens on the hidden and inaccessible places in her own country.

An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (2006) takes the viewer behind closed doors to uncover some extraordinary things inside places usually hidden from the public’s view. Ranging across the realms of science, government, medicine, entertainment, nature, security, and religion, Simon’s photographic subjects include glowing radioactive capsules in an underwater nuclear-waste storage facility, a Braille edition of Playboy, a deathrow prisoners’ exercise yard, an inbred tiger, corpses rotting in a Forensic Research Facility, and a Scientology screening room.

Shot over four years, mostly with a large-format view camera, the images in this fascinating exhibition are in turn ethereal, foreboding, deadpan and cinematic. In examining what is integral to America’s foundation, mythology and daily functioning, the Index provides a surprising map of the American mindset and creates a vivid portrayal of the contemporary United States.

Click here for more information.


What: Performance art
Where: ACCA
When: Thurs 14 & Fri 15 Oct at 7pm and 8pm, Sat 16 Oct at 8pm and 9.30pm
Moolah: $25

What happens when the German artist Gerhard Richter and the jailed journalist turned terrorist Ulrike Meinhof are placed in the same room?

The latest performance work from artist David Chesworth is an evocative exploration of the limits of representation and direct action.

Richter/Meinhof-Opera has its origins in the controversial painting series ‘October 18, 1977’ by Gerhard Richter. The paintings depict scenes surrounding the apparent suicides of jailed members of the notorious Baader/Meinhof Group, responsible for a deadly campaign to overthrow the West German establishment. Derived from archival newspaper photographs, the paintings caused a sensation when first exhibited in Germany in 1989.

Drawing on the writings of both Richter and Meinhof and records of actual events, this intimate performance artwork is set to a series of compelling soundscapes by Chesworth. Richter/Meinhof-Opera entangles art with politics, the real with the ritualised and the personal with the State.

Click here for more information.

The Feast of Trimalchio

What: Exhibition
Where: Anna Schwartz Gallery, 185 Flinders Lane
When: Throughout festvival, according to gallery opening hours
Moolah: Free!

Russian collective AES+F work with photography, video, sculpture and mixed media. Since 1987, they have interwoven imagery relating to modern technology, Hollywood cinema, fashion photography, advertising, death, religion, the British Royal Family, mass media, popular culture and youth obsession throughout their work.

The Feast of Trimalchio is an interpretation of the witty but melancholy fiction ‘Satyricon’ by the Roman poet Petronius. In the ancient version Trimalchio’s feast was portrayed as the ideal celebration that Trimalchio imagined for his own funeral. In the AES+F 21st Century version, an orgy of consumerism reflects on the contemporary state of Russia and indeed the world. Created from over 75,000 photographs, the complete work is a nine-channel panoramic media that made its celebrated debut at the 2009 Venice Biennale. For the Festival, Anna Schwartz Gallery features a set of three expansive photographic tableaux. These captivating images of a temporary hotel paradise portray opulence and excess overshadowed by a dark uneasiness.

Click here for more information.


One thought on “The Melbourne International Arts Festival

  1. Pingback: Report from the Melbourne Arts Festival « Not-Quite-Critics

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