Quirky preview: RMIT Gallery pop up performance for launch of RMIT 700s Arts Festival

Mick Douglas performing Library returns at the launch of the 700s Arts festival, Swanston Street library, RMIT.

Mick Douglas performing Library Returns at the launch of the 700s Arts Festival, Swanston Street library, RMIT. 

It was a celebration of the printed book, of the delicious page of a large hard cover from the 700s section of the library, and the sturdy library trolley wheeling in returns. It was quirky, combined art and performance, and above all, it was engaging and much fun – welcome to Mick Douglas’ Library Returns.

The pop up performance at the launch of the 700s Arts Festival on 13 August at the RMIT Swanston Street Library was a taster of things to come – in RMIT Gallery’s brief hiatus while our gallery undergoes soon to be completed building works, we were keen for RMIT staff to know that a new exhibition opening was just around the corner.

That exhibition will be Performing Mobilities, curated by RMIT senior lecturer Mick Douglas, which will open on 25 September at RMIT Gallery. And in the meantime, audiences can view Against The Grain, a pop up exhibition of works from the RMIT Art Collection at the Swanston Street library, launched at the 700s Arts festival with a keynote speech from Professor Paul Gough on “The Art of Browsing (and the Browsing of Art)” as well as performances from Mick Douglas and Baron Von Choice.

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Until 25 September, RMIT’s Swanston Library will host exhibitions, talks and a series of workshops to celebrate the university’s arts book, journal and DVD collection as part of the 700s Arts Festival. The Library is seizing the opportunity to present pop up exhibitions celebrating the arts at RMIT made available through preparations for the Swanston Library Transformation, including Against The Grain, a pop up collection from the RMIT Art Collection, curated by RMIT Collections coordinator Jon Buckingham.

For the pop up, a section of space in the RMIT Swanston Street library’s former shelving area has been transformed by RMIT Gallery into an exhibition and reading space, allowing students to enjoy works from the extensive RMIT University Art Collection by artists including John Brack, Noel Counihan, Jazmina Cininas, Juan Ford, Maria Kozic, Trevor Nickolls, Polixeni Papapetrou and Antoni Tápies.

Against The Grain, RMIT Gallery pop up exhibition. Photo: Margund Sallowsky, 2015.

Against The Grain, RMIT Gallery pop up exhibition. Photo: Margund Sallowsky, 2015.

As part of the Festival, books from the 700s section that relate to the artists and works will be available to browse through, illustrating the abiding connection between the Library and Gallery collections. Many of the works on display are by RMIT staff and alumni, and the University’s ongoing commitment to Australia’s cultural history.

Against The Grain, Art from the RMIT Collection., with books from RMIT library. Photo. Margund Sallowsky, 2015.

Against The Grain, Art from the RMIT Collection, with books from RMIT library. Photo. Margund Sallowsky, 2015.

This collection is classified within the 700s of the Dewey Decimal System. Swanston Library’s “700s” are recognised for their strength, diversity and as an inspirational browsing collection. They are now the largest collection held on-site at Swanston Library.

Audience participation required: the launch of the 700s Arts festival saw crowds gather at Mick Douglas' pop up performance

Audience participation required: the launch of the 700s Arts festival saw crowds gather at Mick Douglas’ pop up performance “Library Returns”.

Audiences at the launch certainly engaged with Mick Douglas’ Library Returns, which bodes well for the interactive aspect of his upcoming exhibition. Performing Mobilities seeks to creatively and critically explore forms, forces, dynamics, meanings and consequences of performing mobility through a program of new experimental work. This dynamic show will include mobile performances that depart from and return to RMIT Gallery.

P-E-R-F-O-R-M-I-N-G  M-O-B-I-L-I-T-I-E-S is the Australian regional cluster contribution to Fluid States(www.fluidstates.org), a networked, year-long program initiated by Performance Studies international (PSi). Over 2015, fourteen regional performance gatherings will be staged in diverse global locations in order to rethink performance ideas and practices in terms of shifting geopolitical and socio-political realities.  

These include:

TRACES
exposition of movement projects
25 September – 24 October, RMIT Gallery
8 October – 7 November, Margaret Lawrence VCA Gallery

PASSAGES
mobile performance program
3 October to 9 October
departing RMIT Gallery + Margaret Lawrence VCA Gallery

ASSEMBLY
symposium presentations, performances, events and discussions
8 to 11 October
RMIT University + University of Melbourne Victorian College of the Arts

Launch night: Susan Wyers, who curated Referencing Artists (Works from RMIT alumni, staff and past staff) and Jon Buckingham, who curated Against The Grain (works from the RMIT Collection) Curated by Susan Wyers.

Launch night: Susan Wyers, who curated Referencing Artists (Works from RMIT alumni, staff and past staff) and Jon Buckingham, who curated Against The Grain (works from the RMIT Collection)
Curated by Susan Wyers.

In the meantime, the launch of the 700s Arts Festival gave audiences a chance to see the library in a temporary new light, with pop up exhibitions which can be enjoyed until 25 September:

  • Referencing Artists
    Works from RMIT alumni, staff and past staff
    Curated by Susan Wyers
  • Art Against the Grain
    Presented by RMIT Gallery
    Curated by Jon Buckingham
  • Grazing the 700s
    Works from students and staff from RMIT School of Art
    Curated by Phil Edwards
  • Screen art programs
    A variety of screen art programs from RMIT staff, students and alumni
    Coordinated by Kim Munro
  • Sound programs
    Sound installations and programs
    Supported by Audio Kinetic Experiment (AkE) Lab and Design Futures Lab.

Vale Robyn Beeche – remembering the magic

Richard Dunn, Emeritus Professor of Contemporary Visual Art at the University of Sydney, and Robyn Beeche, at the opening of Fashion Face, RMIT Gallery 2007.

Richard Dunn, Emeritus Professor
of Contemporary Visual Art at the University of
Sydney, and Robyn Beeche, at the opening of Fashion Face, RMIT Gallery 2007.

RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies and the staff at RMIT Gallery wish to express our sadness at the passing of Australian photographer Robyn Beeche, and share some of the magical creative activities in which she engaged.

Fashion Face: Fashion photography by Robyn Beeche 1979-1989 2 March - 14 April 2007 RMIT Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Fashion Face: Fashion photography by Robyn Beeche 1979-1989
2 March – 14 April 2007
RMIT Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

A photographer in the heart of London’s fashion world in the 1980s, Robyn had an eye for the fantastic and a vivid imagination. She pioneered a photographic style that transcended straight fashion photography and introduced scenarios that privileged fantasy, magic and illusion.
She is celebrated for her ground-breaking pre-Photoshop photographs of painted bodies collaborating with legendary make-up artists Richard Sharah, Phyllis Cohen and Richard Sharples. She created many iconic images – from Visage’s Fade to Grey album cover, to the “puritan” image which inspired David Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes film clip.
Ms Davies said that RMIT Gallery was so proud to have curated, with Robyn Beeche, the exhibition
Fashion Face: Fashion photography by Robyn Beeche 1979-1989, a survey exhibition of Beeche’s significant works in fashion and fine art photography, from 2 March to 14 April 2007.
Fashion Face: Fashion photography by Robyn Beeche 1979-1989 2 March - 14 April 2007 RMIT Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Fashion Face: Fashion photography by Robyn Beeche 1979-1989
2 March – 14 April 2007
RMIT Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

In her catalogue essay of the exhibition, Jennifer Phipps acknowledged discussions she had with Robyn Beeche. Phipps writes: “In 1980s’ London, Beeche kept an open studio for innovative artists in fashion and in hair and make-up. Costs were shared and people worked co-operatively. For these portraits, elaborate make-up that could take twelve hours to apply was first drawn up on paper, lighting was calculated meticulously and there was little thought of personal reward in a heated atmosphere of mutual creativity.”
Fashion Face: Fashion photography by Robyn Beeche 1979-1989 2 March - 14 April 2007 RMIT Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Fashion Face: Fashion photography by Robyn Beeche 1979-1989
2 March – 14 April 2007
RMIT Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Robyn Beeche moved from Sydney to London in the mid-1970s, and in 1985 based herself in Vrindavan, India documenting the festivals and culture of the region known as Vraj.
Ms Davies remembered Robyn as “a most generous friend with whom we shared our passion for India.”
RMIT Gallery Kindness/Udarta Australia-India Cultural Exchange 29 June – 25 August 2012 Curator: Suzanne Davies

RMIT Gallery
Kindness/Udarta
Australia-India Cultural Exchange
29 June – 25 August 2012
Curator: Suzanne Davies

“In 2012 Robyn was important to an RMIT exhibition and publication, Kindness/Udarta in Delhi, Canberra and Melbourne. Beyond these projects, Robyn enabled so may other initiatives and friendships. Her warmth and caring seemed to know no limits. While our world feels now a lesser place, given her faith and grace Robyn will be in perfect peace.”
Radhe radhe Robyn.

Art Against the Grain: The RMIT Collection pops up in the 700s Arts Festival from 13 August

RMIT Gallery Collections Coordinator Jon Buckingham with an RMIT student in the Swanston Street library, in front of Juan Ford’s work Degenerator, 2013, oil on linen, 180 x 240cm. Photo Evelyn Tsitas

RMIT Gallery Collections Coordinator Jon Buckingham with an RMIT student in the Swanston Street library, in front of Juan Ford’s work Degenerator, 2013, oil on linen, 180 x 240cm. Photos by Evelyn Tsitas

RMIT Gallery cordially invites you to Art Against the Grain, part of the RMIT Library’s 700s Festival, featuring a pop up exhibition of selected works from the RMIT University Art Collection, and Library Returns, a performance by Mick Douglas (curator/artist of upcoming RMIT Gallery exhibition Performing Mobilities opening 25 September).

700s Arts Festival at RMIT University Library 
Celebrating our arts, design and media collections with exhibitions, presentations and workshops.
13 August – 25 September

Opening Thursday 13 August 
6.00 pm-7.30 pm

Official proceedings will begin at 6 pm with a keynote speech from Professor Paul Gough on The Art of Browsing (and the Browsing of Art) and will be followed by a program of performances:

  • Mick Douglas, curator of the upcoming RMIT Gallery exhibition Performing Mobilities, performing Library Returns.
  • Literary art band, Baron Von Choice (featuring Martine von Choice on book, Jenelle von Choice on drums, Karen von Choice on bass and Kim von Choice on synth-wall) performing to a sweet synthetic beat, with “cringe-worthy words charting the course between poignant smut and the teenage ego.”

Location:
Swanston Library
RMIT
Building 8, Level 5
360 Swanston St
Melbourne, Victoria 3000

BEHIND THE SCENES: creating a pop up exhibition from the RMIT Art Collection

set up compositeA defiant protest against oppression, issues of social justice, environmentalism and power, and displacement and identity through the lens of art. These are the subjects explored in Art Against the Grain, a pop up exhibition of works from the RMIT University Art Collection, curated as part of RMIT Library’s 700s Festival.

From August 13, Swanston Library will host exhibitions, talks and a series of workshops to celebrate our arts book, journal and DVD collection. This collection is classified within the 700s of the Dewey Decimal System. Swanston Library’s “700s” are recognised for their strength, diversity and as an inspirational browsing collection. They are now the largest collection held on-site at Swanston Library.

As part of the Festival, Art Against the Grain  will enable students to enjoy being surrounded by works from both modern and contemporary Australian and international artists, including John Brack, Noel Counihan, Jazmina Cininas, Juan Ford, Maria Kozic, Trevor Nickolls, Polixeni Papapetrou and Antoni Tápies – many of whom have been staff or alumni of RMIT.

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According to the exhibition curator, RMIT Gallery Collections Coordinator Jon Buckingham, “art is a tool for understanding the problems of society. While we might wish it could, art cannot change the world. What it can do is help us realise that change is possible. ”

As part of the Festival, books from the 700s section that relate to the artists and works will be available to browse through, illustrating the abiding connection between the Library and Gallery collections. Many of the works on display are by RMIT staff and alumni, and the University’s ongoing commitment to Australia’s cultural history.

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RMIT Gallery is currently closed for essential building work and will reopen on Friday 25 September to the public with two new exhibitions, Performing Mobilities and Power to the People! 

 

Vanessa Gerrans new director at the WAG

Vanessa Gerrans (right) at  the opening of the 2013 RMIT Gallery exhibition Peter Corrigan: Cities of Hope which she curated.

Vanessa Gerrans (right) at the opening of the 2013 RMIT Gallery exhibition Peter Corrigan: Cities of Hope which she curated. Photo Vicki Jones Photography.

The Warrnambool Art Gallery has announced RMIT Gallery exhibition coordinator Vanessa Gerrans as its new director from 7 September.

RMIT Gallery wishes to congratulate Ms Gerrans on her appointment, and thank her for her 10 years of service to RMIT University. She has made many professional associations and friendships along the way.

One of the many highlights of her time at RMIT Gallery include curating the 2013 exhibition Peter Corrigan Cities of Hope.

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Ms Gerrans replaces John Cunningham, who has taken a position as director at the prestigious McClelland Sculpture Park on the Mornington Peninsula. Read more about her new position in this article from The Standard.

Performing Mobilities: 25 September – 24 October 2015

Performing Mobilities: 25 September – 24 October 2015

Lucy Bleach, video still from 46a Middle Rd, part of the “Remote Viewing” project, shot by pigeon-mounted micro-camera, HD video, 2012-2015.

Lucy Bleach, video still from 46a Middle Rd, part of the “Remote Viewing” project, shot by pigeon-mounted micro-camera, HD video, 2012-2015.

This exhibition of new work curated by Mick Douglas seeks to creatively and critically explore forms, forces, dynamics, meanings and consequences of performing mobility through a program of new experimental work. This dynamic show will include mobile performances that depart from and return to RMIT Gallery.

Traces of creative journeys form expositions that explore and reimagine movement, place and event with local relevance and global resonance. Performing Mobilities explores how contemporary life in Australia, the world’s largest island continent, is framed by borders whilst constantly being reconstructed through dynamic processes of mobility.

Dr Mick Douglas is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Architecture & Design at RMIT. His creative practice-based research is in socially-engaged public art, performance and mobility, sustainable mobility, inter-cultural creative practice and creative writing, and his recent research has explored inter-relationships between aesthetic experiences of mobility and hospitality, cultural change practices and sustainable transport in global cities.

As part of the exhibition, a new version of the powerful work Beheld by British artist Graeme Miller will be shown in the main exhibition space at RMIT Gallery. Between 2003-2006 Miller visited 10 sites where stowaways fell from aircraft.

Graeme Miller, Beheld (detail, Richmond, Surrey, United Kingdom), 2006-2015. Photograph Graeme Miller. Courtesy of the artist.

Graeme Miller, Beheld (detail, Richmond, Surrey, United Kingdom), 2006-2015. Photograph Graeme Miller. Courtesy of the artist.

An intimate and resonant audio-visual installation, Beheld connects its audience with the disturbing phenomenon of people who fell from the sky. Ten glass vessels are charged with 180º images taken at locations where the bodies of stowaways have fallen from aircraft. On lifting these bowls they resonate with the sound of their location.

Graeme Miller is an artist, theatre maker and composer. Emerging from the bold and influential stage work of Impact Theatre Co-operative in the 1980s, a group he co-founded, his own work now embraces a wide range of media. With the idea of being ‘a composer of many things that may include music’, he has made theatre, dance, installations and interventions. Often reflecting a sense of landscape and place, he regularly makes site-specific works to commission.

Performing Mobilities is the Australian program of Fluid States – a globally distributed performance research project taking place in a sequence of 15 different locations over 2015. www.fluidstates.org

This exhibition presents TRACES of new Australian and international arts projects that explore and reimagine systems of movement, place and event through challenging performance practices and ideas. The projects reveal tensions around the movement of people migrating lands or crossing a city; the movement of cultural ideas and social practices; the movement of matter through time and across space and through transformations of state; and the movement of non-human species and other than human forces.

Gathered together, the projects across the performing, visual, new media and social and spatial arts reveal interplays of worlds in motion.

Artists: Jude Anderson, Chris Barry, Kaya Barry, Lucy Bleach, Nadia Cusimano, Kim Donaldson, Mick Douglas, Paul Gazzola, Jondi Keane, Graeme Miller, Open Spatial Workshop, Pablo Patelli, David Thomas, Laurene Vaughan, Giuditta Vendrame.

Public Program: 25 September 1-2 pm: Artist talk: Graeme Miller. Bookings: (03) 9925 1717.

Mobile Performances (to be announced): Over the course of the exhibition mobile performances will depart from and return to RMIT Gallery in a fluid program of activities.

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