Farewell Experimenta – behind the scenes of the ‘bump out’


This week we bid farewell to Experimenta Recharge the media art exhibition that has attracted large crowds to its interactive exhibits since November, and delighted audiences on its final viewing at White Night Melbourne on Saturday 21 February.


What a contrast RMIT Gallery is on the first days after the exhibition has ended, and we de-install the artworks. The images of the bustling gallery full of people and artwork are already are fading into memory. The main photo (above, top) is what remains of Khaled Sabsabi’s work 70,000 Veils – a massive piece utilising television screens projecting images to be viewed through 3D glasses (above, with the audience, at RMIT Gallery’s White Night Melbourne event on 21 February).


The day after an exhibition ends it is always a surprise to walk into the main gallery and the magic has gone, and the space transformed. Where there were artworks and an audience, now it is just an empty space quickly filled with boxes, pieces of wood, material being recycled and everything packed up to be freighted to the next location. Above is the crowd arriving for White Night Melbourne and pouring through the gallery reception – below is the same view, two days later, filled with the massive stack of television monitor boxes that were used for Sabsabi’s work.


The two week period of ‘bumping out’ the current exhibition and ‘bumping in’ the new one, means that RMIT Gallery is transformed in that time to something of a building site, with teams of technicians working under the direction of RMIT Gallery registrar Peter Wilson, to take down the current exhibition,  and then prepare the walls and perhaps new partitions for the next exhibition layout.






Down comes Ei Wada’s Towering Records, the installation piece that transfixed audiences with its storytelling and visual magic.

Ei Wada (Japan)
Ei Wada (Japan)

Once all the artwork has been packed away to be freighted back to different locations, all that remains are holes on the walls to be painstakingly patched, and paint colors to be taken back to the blank canvas of the White Cube.  It takes a large team and an enormous amount of work to keep the gallery walls looking immaculate, ready for the presentation of the new exhibitions.Why do we go to this effort?


RMIT Gallery Director and Chief Curator Suzanne Davies said “we want to intensify people’s experience and we can do that by making sure that the environment supports a pleasurable visual experience for the viewer and reflects the respect with which we hold for the artwork and the artist’s vision.”


In the next few blogs, we will explore the installation of our three new upcoming exhibitions, and behind the scenes details of the genesis of their ideas and curatorial rationale. These exhibitions are:

RMIT Gallery India Exhibition Consultant Helen Rayment's behind the scenes images in India of 'Unfolding: New Indian Textiles'.
RMIT Gallery India Exhibition Consultant Helen Rayment’s behind the scenes images in India of ‘Unfolding: New Indian Textiles’.

Unfolding: New Indian Textiles

20 March – 30 May 2015

Contemporary Indian textile designers and artists examine the reinvention of traditional textiles within the wider context of international art and fashion.

Japanese Art After Fukushima: Return of Godzilla

20 March – 30 May 2015

Japanese artists respond to the events at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 and its environmental implications.

Backs of Banaras

20 March – 30 May 2015

Photographer Terry Burrows visual essay in the textiles of the everyday that conveys much of the cultural wealth and contradiction that is contemporary India.






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