Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama will present a major new work at the NGV Triennial in which audiences will ‘obliterate’ a domestic setting with flowers, referencing the artist’s first experience of hallucination
Credit: Copyright of Yayoi Kusama and Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/ Singapore

Major new works by Yayoi Kusama and Ron Mueck, installations of the work of fashion designers Guo Pei and Iris Van Herpen and a new video work starring Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin that reveals the personal histories of six refugees are three of the many highlights of the National Gallery of Victoria’s blockbuster inaugural Triennial program, unveiled today.

Opening December 15 2017, the NGV Triennial will bring together the work of over 60 artists, designers and architects from over 30 countries for a free and exclusive exhibition that will take over all four levels of Melbourne’s NGV International. Selected for their diversity and dynamism of practice, participants ranging from well-established icons to nascent practitioners across a variety of disciplines will present new large-scale commissions and recent works across five conceptual themes that will frame the dialogues of the exhibition: ‘body’, ‘change’, ‘movement’, ‘time’ and ‘virtual’.

Of the twenty new large-scale commissions created for the Triennial, notable highlights include contributions from Alexandra Kehayoglou, an Argentinian artist who uses her family’s traditional carpet-making techniques to create monumental works that mimic the topographies of her homeland; Candice Breitz, whose multi-screen video installation Love Story contrasts the celebrity of Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin with the hardship of six real life refugees through the spoken word; and Norwegian olfactory artist Sissel Tolaas, a renowned ‘smell designer’, who will recreate the scent of Melbourne from a personal library of some 7,000 smells and 2,500 molecules.

Arguably Japan’s most renowned artistic export, Yayoi Kusama, will also present a major new participatory project in which visitors to the Triennial will ‘obliterate’ a domestic setting with adhesive flower motifs in an invocation of the artist’s first hallucinatory experience. The Japanese ‘ultratechnologist’ design collective teamLab will also unveil what looks to be a spectacular interactive and immersive installation that simulates a digital water vortex in response to the audience’s presence.

At left, Guo Pei, Autumn/Winter 2011 Haute Couture and the finale look from Iris Van Herpen’s most recent haute couture show, Between The Lines
Credit: Courtesy Guo Pei/Iris Van Herpen 

Fans of fashion will no doubt delight in the chance to view firsthand the incredible work of two designers from opposite ends of the spectrum of haute couture: Chinese couturier Guo Pei (Not familiar? Three words: Rihanna and Met Gala) and Iris Van Herpen, the Dutch designer whose designs continue to push the boundaries of technology in fashion. 

As part of an installation commissioned by the Triennial, Guo Pei will present garments from her recent Legend Spring 2017 Couture show in Paris, which took its cues from the eighteenth century excesses of Marie Antoinette. Similarly, as part of a presentation of recent couture pieces by van Herpen, the NGV Triennial will present a recent acquisition in Dress 2011, an adaptation of a look from van Herpen’s first couture show designed for Björk to wear on stage during her 2011 Biophilia tour.

One of Australia’s most distinctive contemporary artists, Ben Quilty, will also have recent work featured in the Triennial, as will Australian-born London-based designer Brodie Neill, whose 2016 work Gyro, table 2016 reinterprets the specimen tables of the 19th century for one that substitutes organic matter for fragments of blue and green plastic waste. Ron Mueck will also unveil his largest work to date amongst the NGV’s 18th century Dutch galleries, creating a dialogue between past and present through an installation comprised of 100 large-scale skull sculptures. Considering the artist’s predilection for hyperrealist sculpture, Mass promises to be another unmissable feat from one of the country’s most significant artistic exports.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You can view the full Triennial program, which has been three years in the making, here

The NGV Triennial opens December 15 and will run until april 15 2018 at the NGV International. Entry will be free.

Tile image: Guo Pei Rose Studio Autumn/Winter 2011 Haute Couture Courtesy Guo Pei, Rose Studio, Beijing
Cover image: Candice Breitz, Love Story 2016, Featuring Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin, Commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne), Outset Germany (Berlin) + Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg/Installation View: Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, photograph by Die Arge Lola