Recommended: where to find Melbourne's best street art.
One of Australia’s largest showcases of street art is coming to a multi-level warehouse in inner Melbourne. For ten days, Can’t Do Tomorrow will bring together over 100 street artists, musicians and collectives to celebrate the street art industry where it stands today. Head along to the Facility in Kensington to see works from artists like Archibald finalist Michael Peck, street artist and designer Callum Preston, contemporary freehand artist Kaff-eine, figurative painter Lisa King, illustrator and muralist Justine McAllister and heaps more. The best part? Many of the works are for sale so you can support the artists while having a good time. Head along to enjoy live acts and DJs playing across the festival including Teymori, Cool Out Sun, MzRizk, Zepherin Saint, Mikey Goodfellow, DJ Manchild and more. While you’re there you can take part in exclusive workshops on stencilling and plastic recycling. Food and drink will be served across the venue so you can keep fuelled while you hang out. There’s a bar on every level of the Facility, including the Greenhouse and Purnell’s Loft bars, the Tallows Bar downstairs and an elusive bar hidden between the two levels which will be pouring Stomping Ground beer, Four Pillars gin and Innocent Bystander wine. Don’t miss the talks portion of the festival either. On Thursday February 20 you can hear from LA-based artist and film director Aaron Rose in conversation with the Design Files’ Lucy Feagins. Then, on Saturday February 29, yo
It’s only relatively recently that artists have started embracing virtual reality as a medium, but New York-based visual artist Jess Johnson and New Zealand animator Simon Ward use the technology better than just about anybody in this exhibition of five works that take you into different realms. Some are curiously beautiful and relaxing, while others are a total sensory overload. And as with all virtual reality, the viewer is in complete control. There’s also a physical element to the exhibition, with the entire floor covered by a tesselated pattern relating to the worlds they conjure up in virtual reality. Terminus premiered at the National Gallery of Australia in 2018 and is now embarking on a national tour. Heide Museum of Modern Art is the first stop.
Mikala Dwyer has been fiddling around with unearthly forces for her latest Melbourne exhibition, Earthcraft 2020. Within the walls of Anna Schwartz Gallery, Dwyer has installed ten separate works that explore a utopian, if occult, version of 2020. As a whole, the exhibition feels futuristically witchy, as if you’ve stumbled into a coven run by Apple. Geometric forms and motifs (a staple for Dwyer) are threaded throughout the exhibition and connect back to the Earthcraft title (which is inspired by the old English word “eorõcræft”, meaning geometry). Dwyer’s giant silver orb ‘Sphere’ immediately sucks in eyes with its gleaming surface that make it less mirrorball and more otherworldly portal. Bookending Earthcraft are two hanging banners emblazoned with geometric patterns typical to Dwyer, and sure to baffle archaeologists after the fall of civilization. The futuristic mysticism continues in ‘Collapsed Line’, a collection of suspended, helmeted heads formed into a outerspace devil’s nest. Dwyer has seemingly even decided to take on Maurizio Cattelan’s infamous $120,000 banana with ‘Fall’, which features an apple hanging from a string. Earthcraft 2020 is at Anna Schwartz Gallery from February 8 to March 14.
It’s pretty common to get caught in the rain while walking around Melbourne. What’s less common is to get caught in the rain while walking around indoors in Melbourne – and even weirder when you realise that the rain is inexplicably falling everywhere except on you. Melbourne is the first city in the southern hemisphere to host ‘Rain Room’, an immersive artwork by London-based collective Random International. ‘Rain Room’ is one of Random International’s most famous works and has previously shown at the Barbican in London, MoMA in New York and at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai. Guests are invited into a darkened room filled with continuous rain. No need to bring an umbrella though because this rain won’t dampen your clothes or spirits. Thanks to motion sensors in the ceiling ‘Rain Room’ detects where visitors are and ensures a dry six-metre radius around guests. The artwork has been brought to Melbourne thanks to a collaboration between the currently closed ACMI and uber-luxe hotel Jackalope. Until the end of March, you can experience the installation for yourself at the Jackalope Pavillion, a pop-up space on the corner of Acland and Jackson streets in St Kilda. Tickets are available now.
His name might not be as well known as some of his contemporaries, but Roger Kemp was one of Australia’s greatest abstractionists. Best known for his large-scale tapestries that hang in the great hall of the National Gallery of Victoria, during his lifetime Kemp eschewed figurative and landscape art in favour of a more metaphysical approach that sought to “make visible the invisible”. Now the National Gallery of Victoria will host the first major retrospective exhibition of Kemp’s work since his death in 1987. Developed in conjunction with the artist’s estate, the exhibition includes several works that have never been shown publicly before, and traces Kemp’s evolution as an artist, from his early Cezanne-inspired sketches to the geometric, stained glass-like paintings by which he made his name.
The early 20th century was a time of great cultural and social prosperity for Japan. Between the 1923 Kanto earthquake and the outbreak of World War II, emerging movements from Europe began to influence the island nation’s artists, resulting in the creation of Japanese Modernism. The NGV has brought more than 190 of these works to Melbourne for Japanese Modernism, a multidisciplinary exhibition spanning printmaking to fashion. The NGV has spent the last five years collecting works for Japanese Modernism, with all works featured being exhibited for the first time in Australia. Japanese Modernism showcases rare paintings and woodblock prints as well as magazine covers, street posters, kimonos and accessories in Art Deco and Art Nouveau designs. Bronzeware, lacquerware and glassware are also featured and highlights how these contemporary art movements worked with centuries-old Japanese designs. Women in early 20th century Japan began to experience new freedoms, with many moving to metropolitan centres, finding work and gaining the opportunity for financial independence. In that light, the NGV has acquired works that celebrate the art of Japanese women artists. One of the most promising women artists of the period was Taniguchi Fumie, whose large-scale, six-fold screen work ‘Yosoou Hitobito’ (‘Women Preparing for a Party’) will be featured in the exhibition. The work takes inspiration from 17th century Matsuura screens and depicts the changing attitudes towards women and fas
Agatha Gothe-Snape is one of the most original and thoughtful artists working in Australia at the moment, always questioning how we approach and understand contemporary art in novel ways. This survey at Monash University of Modern Art covers more than a decade of her work, stretching back to 2008. It includes wall drawings, powerpoint presentations, sculpture, video, augmented reality, works on paper and collaborations. There’ll also be two new major artworks, about which we know very little. But you can be sure to expect something thought-provoking, which will make you reconsider your position as an audience member, and in keeping with Gothe-Snape’s minimal aesthetic.
The real, the fictive and the speculative roll together as one in this exhibition that asks six Australian and international artists to sample and reinterpret real and imagined characters and events from their past and present in order to understand and speculate upon the feature. Incorporating elements of spirituality, mythology, philosophy and pop culture, the six participating artists – Madison Bycroft, Tianzhou Chen, Lu Yang, Sahej Rahalm, Justin Shoulder and Zadie Xa – use video, installations, interactive gaming, artificial intelligence and live performance in a way that challenges us to imagine how things could have been.
Petrina Hicks is one of the most instantly recognisable photographers working in Australia today, known for her large-scale, hyperreal works that co-opt the visual language of advertising and traditional portraiture to explore ideas around consumerism and the female experience. Yet, until now there has never been a major survey exhibition of her work. Bleached Gothic brings together more than 40 works from Hicks’s 15-year career, tracing her evolution from commercial photographer to awarded artist. Included in the exhibition are several works featuring albino artist and performer Lauren, whose ethereal appearance is one of the most recognisable features of Hicks’s work, alongside five video works that play with the concept of slow time to create a sense of menace and unease in the viewer.
Polixeni Papapetrou was one of Australia’s leading contemporary photographers before her tragic death last year at the age of just 57. Best known for her images of children, particularly of her daughter Olympia and son Solomon dressed as characters from historical, artistic or imaginary settings, her work was frequently concerned with imagination, storytelling, childhood and issues of identity. Curated in conjunction with Papapetrou’s family, Olympia marks the first major museum retrospective of her work, bringing together never before seen works alongside those from celebrated series, including Phantomwise (2003), MY HEART - still full of her (2018), Eden (2016) and 2014’s Melancholia, which reflects on Papapetrou’s grief upon hearing her second, and ultimately terminal, cancer diagnosis.
Prefer your art outdoors?
Sure, street art covers almost every nook and cranny of our creative, colourful city, but there are more highly concentrated clusters than others. These are the street art hotspots that any self-respecting 'grammer should be snapping: the city's ten best street mural hotspots, in all their spray-painted laneway glory.