Melbourne Design Week 2019 – 6 Must-Sees

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This year’s Melbourne Design Week offers a thought-provoking mix of exhibitions, talks and tours. Take a peek…

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

2019’s Melbourne Design Week features more than 200 exhibitions, talks, tours, films and workshops, with events across town and in neighbouring city Geelong. Running from 14 to 24 March, Melbourne’s largest festival programme to date celebrates both local and international talent, with the core theme of ‘Design Experiments’ – asking how design can shape the future. A mix of ticketed and free activities embrace diverse challenges from the environment to social issues and materials. This year’s festival wraps up on Sunday, but many of the inspiring shows continue beyond the weekend. Here are six of our top FizzPicks…

‘SOMEWHERE OTHER’: JOHN WARDLE ARCHITECTS
Ground Level/Foyer, NGV Australia, Federation Square
Until 28 July (10am-5pm, free)

Visitors are invited to peek through five portals within timber and steel structure ‘Somewhere Other’, a compact, interactive experience by Melbourne practice John Wardle Architects. At NGV Australia until late July, this intriguing installation was first shown as part of 2018’s 16th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale (pictured, top and above). Each of the wooden volumes, voids and apertures in its interconnected series frames views of the studio’s projects, the Australian landscape or the craft of collaborators including artist Natasha Johns-Messenger and filmmakers Coco and Maximilian.

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‘NEW VOLUMES BY ARTEDOMUS’: AN INSTALLATION BY FIONA LYNCH AND THOMAS COWARD
TDF Gallery, 14 Little Oxford Street, Collingwood
Until 24 March (11am-5pm, free)

We’re big fans of Artedomus’s ‘New Volumes’ collection, which showcases solid marble homewares by eight Australian designers. This Collingwood exhibition, curated by interior designer Fiona Lynch and designer Thomas Coward, represents the range in an installation that follows the journey of this sculptural material from the ‘ground to the house’, contrasted with a series of chunky marble plinths.

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‘MATERIAL THOUGHT’
Modern Times, 311 Smith Street, Fitzroy
Until 24 March (see link for times, free)

Presented by Fitzroy interiors store Modern Times, group exhibition ‘Material Thought’ explores material through the work of innovative Australian designers. On show are furniture, lighting and objects by nine top talents, including Henry Wilson (‘Stone Surface Sconce’, in Calacatta Marble, above), Coco Flip and Christopher Boots, all illuminating themes of design experimentation and sustainability.

’CLEMENT MEADMORE: THE ART OF MID-CENTURY DESIGN’
Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, Swanston Street
Until 24 March (see link for times, free)

Fans of modernism will enjoy exhibition ‘Clement Meadmore: The art of mid-century design’, a homage to the acclaimed Australian talent. The first major survey of Meadmore’s industrial design practice, it explores the inspirations that shaped the renowned sculptor’s early career as a designer. Part of a new wave of Australian design in the Fifties and Sixties, Meadmore championed streamlined forms, fresh materials and new manufacturing processes. His furniture and lighting appeared in the houses of iconic architect Robin Boyd, with well known designs such as his 1951 corded dining chair on view at the Ian Potter Museum of Art.

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‘WELCOME TO WASTELAND’
Compound Interest, 15-25 Keele Street, Collingwood
Until 24 March (11am-5pm, free)

Presented by Friends & Associates, ‘Welcome to Wasteland’ shares the work of cutting-edge local talents involved with sustainable design. Featuring architects, industrial designers, furniture makers and researchers, the show explores the potential of waste materials recycled into fresh, eco-friendly products. Typically innovative is Vert Design’s ‘HuskeeCup’ made from coffee husk waste, their collaboration with Spark & Burnish to craft ‘Marine Debris Bakelite Door Knobs’, and Maddison Ryder’s use of discarded Iceberg lettuce to form ‘Lettuce Eat’ disposable plates. Other materials in the mix include waste glass, ceramic, plastic, oyster shells, rubber bands, paper pulp, denim jeans, pigs’ blood and even golf balls!

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WORK SHOP: FIONA LYNCH
7 Glasshouse Road, Collingwood
Until 24 March (see link for times, free)

A curatorial showcase of experimental design, fine art and objects, interior designer Fiona Lynch’s new permanent gallery Work Shop aims to celebrate work by Australian and international designers and artists, as well as doubling as a testing ground for her own studio’s practice. For Melbourne Design Week, the debut show curates a selection of pieces examining the tension between resolved and incomplete elements, including ceramics by Olivia Walker (black porcelain collapsed vessel, above), burnt wood bowls by Makiko Ryujin, paintings by Jiaxin Nong and lighting design by Mary Wallis.

www.ngv.vic.gov.au/melbourne-design-week
Melbourne Design Week 2019 runs until Sunday 24 March at venues across the city and Geelong

Fenton & Fenton Sydney Pop-up

Melbourne interiors store Fenton & Fenton is popping up in Sydney with a colourful 10-day showcase of furniture and art

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

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Melbourne interiors store Fenton & Fenton has garnered a loyal following for its bold, vibrant mix of contemporary furniture, accessories and art, curated with flair. Now the much-loved Prahran trendsetter is coming to Sydney, with 10-day pop-up 'A Home Away From Home' bringing directional design to The Studio in Rosebery from 20 to 29 October. Championing the brand's love of colour, style and travel, the free showroom/gallery event will help you kit out your home, with cutting-edge ideas and inspiration up for grabs.

Eye-catching art will be a major focus, with more than 70 works by 23 established Australian artists on display in a group show, which you can also shop online. Covetable names in the frame include paintings by Michael Bond, Carly WilliamsEmma Gale and Diana Miller, photography by Kara Rosenlund, ceramics by Louise Kyriakou and Jai Vasicek, handblown glass by Amanda Dziedzic, woven wall hangings by Maryanne Moodie, and metal sculptures by Dion Horstmans

Seeking fresh furniture and accessories for summer? The store's new arrivals will be unveiled too, including 'The Riad Collection' of fabulous Moroccan-influenced outdoor chairs, tables, swings and plant pots, which sports graphic patterns in pretty hues. Six room sets, surrounding a pink Moroccan-inspired courtyard, will showcase Fenton & Fenton's chic edit of designs, from living and dining zones to bedrooms, bathrooms and garden spaces. Cushion, throws, rugs, vintage finds and one-off pieces add more pizzazz.

Although the action kicks off on Friday 20 October, the brand is hosting an afternoon House Warming Party on Saturday 21 October (2pm-5.30pm), where you can meet the artists while enjoying aperitivos by Picco and DJ sets by Alice Q. Everyone's welcome, with free entry to both the 10-day event and party – just RSVP first online. Fenton & Fenton's consultants will be on hand to share advice on the collection, colour, styling and trends.

You can also discover Insider Secrets at three ticketed panel talks with creative talents, with themes ranging from sensual homes (6.30pm-8pm, Thursday 26) to entertaining (11am-12.30pm, Friday 27) and displaying art, collections and curios (10am-11.30am, Saturday 28 October). Brand founder Lucy Fenton will take part, alongside stylists, artists, florists, mixologists and chefs, including experts from home sound system Sonos and Australian modern lime paint company Bauwerk, which will launch a bespoke range of six new natural, eco-friendly paint colours at the show. Home sweet home...
www.fentonandfenton.com.au

Fenton & Fenton 'A Home Away From Home – Sydney' is at The Studio, 2/85 Dunning Avenue, Rosebery, Sydney from 20 to 29 October 2017, 10am to 5pm daily. RSVP for the free pop-up event or party, or buy limited tickets in advance for the three talks ($35.57 each)

6 FizzPicks for Sydney Contemporary 2017

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Sydney Contemporary brings the best local and international art galleries to town. See our guide to six must-sees...

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

Get your art on at the third edition of Sydney Contemporary, an exciting showcase of 90 galleries representing more than 500 modern artists at Redfern's warehouse-chic Carriageworks. The four-day fair runs until this Sunday 10 September, including a mix of established and emerging talent (check out the Future section, for galleries going five years or less). Also up for grabs are installations, video, paper works, performance, a playfully interactive red room for children, and a programme of talks, tours and fringe events. There's tempting drinking and dining for refuelling, with tasty bites from Billy Kwong and Kitchen by Mike and pop-up bars by Glenfiddich and Petaluma.

Showcasing local galleries from Australia and New Zealand as well as global offerings spanning Singapore, Hong Kong, Berlin, Chile, Argentina, the USA and even Iran – look out for Tehran's Dastan's Basement (booth A03) with its hyper-detailed paintings – it's a huge gathering. So here our six of our favourites to get you inspired...

ABOVE: Robyn Stacey's mirrored camera obscura 'Double Take' installation, outside Sydney Contemporary art fair at Redfern's former railway yard Carriageworks

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May Space: Catherine O'Donnell
Combining incredibly detailed drawings of windows and doors with a graphic mural of a house, Catherine O'Donnell's 'Urban Perspective' installation at Sydney gallery May Space (booth A14) is startling. O'Donnell grew up in an estate building in Sydney's western suburbs, which informs her work. "My drawings are an exploration of the architecture , culture, and history of the urban environment with a current focus on 1960/70 housing estates," she says, homes she feels are overlooked, both aesthetically and in human terms. "I employ realism as a catalyst to ignite the imagination of the viewer and invite them to look beyond the mundane and banal."

ABOVE: Catherine O'Donnell's charcoal on paper 'Urban Perspective' (2017) at the May Space booth, inset in a charcoal wall drawing


Sabbia Gallery: Honor Freeman and Pippin Drysdale
Sydney's Sabbia Gallery (booth G08) specialises in Australian contemporary studio ceramics and glass, bringing high-end craft to the fair's art and design table. We loved Adelaide talent Honor Freeman's dazzling ceramic work 'Soap Score' (2016), containing a circle of 656 slip-cast porcelain pieces resembling shards of soap, reflecting the amount of soap an average human supposedly uses in their lifetime. The textures, shapes and faded pastel colours are beautiful, reflecting Freeman's long preoccupation with being an 'alchemist of domestic clutter'. Established Freemantle artist Pippin Drysdale's boulder-like series of porcelain works are also striking, incised with gorgeous coloured glazes, so fine they almost resemble glass.

ABOVE FROM LEFT: Honor Freeman's slip-cast porcelain 'Soap Score'; detail of its 656 components; Pippin Drysdale's seven-component porcelain 'Geikie Gorge I – Devil's Marbles III' (2017) in foreground, both Sabbia Gallery


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Martin Browne Contemporary: teamLab
Digital art gets the nod at Sydney gallery Martin Browne Contemporary (booth E10), which stars a large-scale, nine-channel digital work by Japan's teamLab. Entitled 'Continuous Life and Death at the Now of Eternity' (2017), it's a mesmerising nature-meets-tech spectacular of shifting colours, light and moods, with an algorithm creating an endless moving image of flowers being born, budding and blooming, then withering and dying. Rendered in real-time, not a pre-recorded loop, it takes its cue from the local sunrise and sunset, changing throughout the year, so it's never the same twice. "The picture at this moment can never be seen again," say its makers. Sneaky art hounds who charm their way into the fair's VIP lounge can see another stunning, six-channel teamLab digital creation – 'Four Seasons, a 1000 Years, Terraced Rice Fields – Tashibunosho' – in which computer-generated workers in rice fields respond to real-time weather, daylight and seasons in the Japanese region, ploughing in sunshine, sheltering from rain or dancing at night. While the original landscape has been largely unchanged for a century, the art work will be ever-changing, a new frontier for modern art. Look out for the collective's eight interactive Future Park installations at Sydney's Powerhouse Museum this summer.

ABOVE: Japanese collective teamLab's endless digital work 'Continuous Life and Death at the Now of Eternity' (2017) at Martin Browne Contemporary's stand


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Yavuz Gallery Projects: Lucas Grogan
You'll find colour inspiration aplenty at the fair, but Melbourne-based muralist Lucas Grogan's installation for Singapore's Yavuz Gallery Projects (booth A07) has the blue mother lode. Taking up major wall space, his trio of graphic ink works 'The Library' and single piece 'The Collection' all depict shelves of fictitious blue books with cheeky titles on the spines, mingled with the odd horse-head ornament, urn or bowl. As Grogan quipped on his Instagram, "If you spot a typo, keep it to your f••king self." Known for detailed, witty street art in trademark indigo blue, teamed with turquoise, navy and white, he's a colourist to watch.

ABOVE: Detail from multi-panel 'The Library' (2017) by Lucas Grogan, ink, acrylic and enamel on marine ply at Yavuz Gallery


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Arterial Gallery: Hayden Fowler
It's not often you see a performance art work involving a guy trapped in a cage with a dingo, but Hayden Fowler offers just that in 'Together again' for Arterial Gallery (booth G03), donning virtual reality goggles which trigger Australian landscape images, while a motion sensor worn by his companion Juno places the wild dog in the frame too. It's shades of Joseph Beuys' 1974 action with the coyote, but given a 21st-century new-tech spin, exploring the growing gap in our relationship with the natural world. Don't miss Fowler's second installation 'Australia' near the VIP Room, a colonial-style table loaded with white bones, linked to a tannoy, a challenging comment on Australia's painful treatment of its first people.

ABOVE: Hayden Fowler's plaster, polymer and sound 'Australia' (2017) installation for Arterial Gallery comments on the violence of colonialism


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107, Blak Mirror
Small but packing a mixed-media punch, local Redfern gallery 107 (booth C06) shares bold contemporary work by Aboriginal artists in its group show 'The Gilded Age', presented with Blak Mirror. Riffing on the glossy veneer covering today's pressing political and indigenous issues, it includes work by Jason Wing, Amala Groom, and Adam Hill (aka Blak Douglas) – who created the suspended gilded bat above – with traditional wooden shields by Chico Monks, inscribed with cartoonish phrases ('Oops', 'Bang', 'Sorry!'), sitting alongside Nicole Monks' 'Wabarn-Wabarn' chair, made from kangaroo leather draped in plush kangaroo pelts.

Finally, look out for 'Edition', a curated selection of design-art furniture near the entrance area, showcasing pieces by top brands Gufram, Established & Sons, BD Barcelona Design, and the limited-edition 'QTZ' chair by local talent Alexander Lotersztain for Derlot, curated by Sydney furniture label Living Edge. Who said art and design can't mix?

ABOVE: 107 gallery's group stand, including an amazing golden bat by Blak Douglas, bones and other mixed materials, foregrounding Aboriginal  perspectives

Sydney Contemporary is at Carriageworks, 245 Wilson Street, Redfern, Sydney until Sunday 10 September 2017; opening hours 10am-6pm Saturday, until 5pm Sunday. For ticket and visitor information click here.

White Rabbit Gallery: 'The Dark Matters'

It's the last chance to catch contemporary Chinese art show 'The Dark Matters' at Sydney's White Rabbit Gallery

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

Much as we love colour at DesignFizz, we're also enchanted by black. This week marks the last chance to encounter noirish thriller 'The Dark Matters', a brilliant exhibition at Sydney's contemporary Chinese art space White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale, which runs until Sunday 30 July. Spanning darkly delicious sculpture, installations, painting, tapestry, and video works, it's an inspiring fusion of classical and cutting-edge techniques, drawing on calligraphy and computers to generate provocative pieces. Black, grey, cream and white star in its minimal, zen palette, albeit charged with political and emotional content.

TOP: Yang Mushi 'Grinding', 2013-2016, wood, lacquer and metal plate
ABOVE: Lin Yan 'Sky 2', 2016, paper and ink; Yang Yongliang 'Infinite Landscape', 2011, Blu-Ray video still

We were wowed by this introductory text by Elizabeth Keenan, which sums up the eternal appeal of black to China's creatives: ‘The ancient Chinese got their ink from smoky oil lamps, brushing away deposited soot and mixing it into a paste that hardened into “stones”. The black was pure, indelible and did not fade, and they fell in love with it. They used it not only for writing but for painting, which they saw as just another way to express their thoughts. By adjusting the ink’s dilution and the density of their brushstrokes, painters could create a multitude of shades, from deepest blue-black to palest dove grey. Black had always been the colour of mystery, night, the void. The better the artists got to know black ink, the more superficial, even gaudy, colour seemed. As the Daoist philosopher Laozi declared: “Colours cause the eye to go blind.” Black – utterly simple yet infinitely subtle – allowed one to see the truth.'

'Chinese artists no longer live in a simple, natural, orderly world. They get their blacks not just from ink stones but from printer cartridges, spray cans, propane torches, X-ray film, newsprint, polyester, computer bits and steel. And they use blacks to convey realities the classical masters never dreamed of: oil spills, air pollution, megacities, mass production and political machinations. The artists in this show don’t shun light or colour, but in using them they follow Laozi’s advice: “Know the white, but hold to the black.” Containing more than ever, the dark also conceals more than ever. And it matters more than ever that we see.’

ABOVE: Gao Ge 'Trinity', 2010-2013, carbonised wood, detail

Curated by David Williams, the show's standout pieces include Lin Yan's 'Sky 2' (2016) sculpture in the atrium, a suspended dark cloud formed from ink-darkened handmade Xuan paper, a comment on China's industrial pollution. On the top floor, Yang Mushi's spectacular installation 'Grinding' (2013-16) took three years of hard labour to complete, consisting of hundreds of black-lacquered wooden blocks, shards and scraps, sanded and shaped to form a graphic landscape. Wen-Ying Huang reinvents tapestry with 'Searching II' (2014) – shine a torch on it to reveal hidden images in reflective thread. Blu-Ray video 'Infinite Landscape' (2011), by Yang Yongliang, is reminiscent of traditional Chinese painting but on closer inspection you'll spy moving traffic, cranes, cable cars and construction workers amid its densely populated peaks. 

BELOW: Feng Mengbo 'Not Too Late', 2010, video installation still

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ABOVE: Tang Nannan 'Billennium Waves', 2015, video (colour) still

Don't miss Feng Mengbo's video installation 'Not Too Late' (2010), which fuses calligraphic brushstrokes with the Quake III Arena combat game to mesmerising effect. You'll also be seduced by Tang Nannan's 'Billennium Waves' (2015) video, replicated endlessly in the room's surrounding mirrors, an inky-blue ocean that's both beautiful and threatening. And we go back to black...
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'The Dark Matters' is at White Rabbit Gallery, 30 Balfour Street, Chippendale, Sydney until 30 July 2017; follow-up exhibition 'Ritual Spirit' runs from 30 August 2017 to January 2018, Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm (the gallery closes for the re-hang in August).

Pictures: Courtesy the artists and White Rabbit Collection

David Hockney: Current

'David Hockney: Current' taps into the so-now iPad and iPhone art of Britain's greatest living artist

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

World-premiere exhibition 'David Hockney: Current' at Melbourne's National Gallery of Victoria is turning heads not just for the iconic English artist's trademark colourful portraits and paintings of interiors and nature, but also for his more recent tech-driven art.

A major solo show dedicated to this still-influential 79-year-old artist, running until 13 March 2017, it features more than 1,200 works from the last decade of Hockney's career, including paintings, photography, digital drawings and video art. Among them are significant new pieces, such as immersive room installation '4 blue stools', a digitally constructed image (or 'photographic drawing') of Hockney's Hollywood Hills studio presented as floor-to-ceiling wallpaper with custom-created stools and chairs. Also striking is the 60-metre long hall housing recent oeuvre '82 portraits and 1 still life', painted over several years and incorporating portraits of entertainer Barry Humphries, architect Frank Gehry and designer Celia Birtwell.

ABOVE: David Hockney inside the world-premiere exhibition 'David Hockney: Current' at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
BELOW: '4 blue stools' 2014, photographic drawing printed on paper, mounted on Dibond, edition 5 of 25; installation view, including iPad drawing 'Yosemite I', October 16th 2011 (1059); installation view

ABOVE: Installation views of 'David Hockney: Current' at the NGV International, Melbourne

Think Hockney and you probably imagine paintings of sun-kissed swimming pools or primary-hued furniture dotted around LA living rooms – in Vuk Vidor's witty print listing artists' attributes, he states 'Hockney owns California'. More recently in 2004, Bradford-born Hockney returned to his native Yorkshire, capturing its vibrant countryside and changing seasons.

But it's his foray into new-tech digital art that's most arresting here, including works crafted on iPads and iPhones. Over 600 iPad works – some animated – span self-portraits, still lifes (from flowers to tea pots, slippers and chargers) and large-scale landscapes of Yorkshire and Yosemite National Park. They're presented both on screens and as monumental prints, some almost four metres tall, alongside a recent video work focussed on Hockney's iPad drawing practice.

ABOVE: 'Self-portrait', 25 March 2012, No. 3 (1236), iPad drawing; 'Untitled', 91 2009, iPhone drawing; 'Untitled', 655 2011, iPad drawing

This is the first show to focus on Hockney's captivating iPad and iPhone works, proof of his constant experimentation. In the past he has made art using Polaroid photos, colour photocopiers, fax machines, computers, and high-definition multi-screen videos, so he's always been an early adopter. Every suit Hockney owns sports a large pocket, once used to hold a sketchbook, but now containing his go-to iPad. 'I've been able to practise the iPad a lot in the last few years... and I've really loved mastering it,' he says.

BELOW: Installation view of 'David Hockney: Current' at the NGV International; 'The Arrival of spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven)' – 31 May, No. 1 (900), and 2 January (1147), iPad drawings printed on six sheets of paper mounted on Dibond

BELOW: 'Bigger trees near Warter or/ou Peinture sur le motif pour le nouvel age post-photographique' 2007, oil on 50 canvases

Hockney was quick to embrace this emerging design technology, getting the brushes out straight away and enjoying the method of drawing on the screen. 'You're drawing on a sheet of glass, really, and you can't really overdraw, which you can on a piece of paper.' The digital canvas is endlessly expandable though, allowing Hockney to zoom in to add more detail or zoom back out to view the whole composition. He credits this digital innovation with reviving the fading art of drawing, confessing, 'I was amazed that it was the telephone which can bring back drawing. I thought that was very funny!'
ngv.vic.gov.au

'David Hockney: Current' is at the NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne until 13 March 2017. UK fans can also catch major retrospective 'David Hockney' at Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1 until 29 May 2017

Photos: Wayne Taylor (portrait); Richard Schmidt