Sunday, January 5, 2014

Melbourne, Fourth Time Around


Actually, I have lost count of the number times I have been to Melbourne in the past five years. It is at least four times but it could be my fifth or sixth visit. But hey, who’s counting, right? Each time I have come here to house sit for friends, who take the opportunity to enjoy a summer break elsewhere.

Each time I come back, I like to return to locations I have enjoyed on previous visits. Places like the Melbourne Museum, the ArtsCentre, the National Gallery of Victoria, ACMI (the Australian Centre for the Moving Image) at Federation Square, and of course many other places.

HOTHAM STREET LADIES
This time my first trip into the city took me as always, to Federation Square, and since it was Saturday, I went straight to the Atrium where every Saturday numerous booksellers from around the city display their second hand titles to a constant flow of willing buyers and interested browsers. Right next to the Atrium is the Ian Potter Centre: National Gallery of Victoria, Australia. I popped into the gallery, but decided not to do the rounds of the various exhibition halls. I confined myself to several large, colourful installations on display in the foyer of the gallery. These sat under the collective title: At Home with the Hotham Street Ladies. The installations were created by five female artists who go under the name, Hotham Street Ladies.

Above: A typical suburban lounge room setting with a difference. Each of the major pieces of furniture are here adorned with individually hand crafted icing fashioned to resemble pieces of pizza (and the box the pizza came in), cigarette butts, home furnishings, and other items.

Above: What appears to be a multicoloured floor covering on closer inspection (below) is an installation consisting of thousands of individually placed elements ‘woven’ together from ordinary icing coloured to give the impression of carpet fibre.


In an artist statement on display at the exhibition the group state: “We like to make art that is interesting, funny and even a little bit disgusting. We take old fashioned activities such as cake decorating and handicrafts, and make them fresh and new.“ The statement goes on to explain that the work was inspired by the house they used to share in Hotham Street, Collingwood.

Above: I particularly liked this installation, because it reminded me of the many family gatherings  which always left assorted crockery and tables covered with the detritus of long, wholesome, home cooked meals. Incredibly, all the ‘food’ on the table is made from coloured icing.

Above: The title board for the installation consists of hundreds of small icing sugar candies (see detail below) that are literally good enough to eat. One can only wonder at the patience and fortitude of the artists as they slowly and methodically created each piece of icing, hand coloured it, and carefully attached every piece in place.


The installation is on display until March 2014. I wonder if we are allowed to eat the icing once the exhibition is over?

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