Moving & Storing the RMIT Art Collection

packed art works
RMIT Gallery is in transition! Building work commences next week as we begin essential work, including restoration of the airconditioner, and so staff have had to pack up and relocate to another RMIT University building until September 2015.
painting on trolley
That leaves works from the RMIT Art Collection not currently displayed around the campuses. These need to be carefully packed up and moved, itemised, logged and accounted for. It’s a far bigger job than staff wrapping their keyboards in plastic and ensuring their paperwork is placed in moving boxes.
empty storage
As well as its regular programming of exhibitions and events, RMIT Gallery also has responsibility for the RMIT Art Collection, which includes storage. RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies is chair of the RMIT Art Committee, and RMIT Collections Coordinator Jon Buckingham and RMIT Gallery Registrar Peter Wilson have the day to day responsibility for looking after the collection. Mr Buckingham also oversees the digitisation of the entire collection as part of the large scale RMIT Art Collection Online project. 
enhanced Jon and Sir Storey
Here Mr Buckingham carefully wraps up William Dargie’s ‘Portrait of Sir John Storey’ (1952, oil on canvas) as it prepares for a ‘holiday’ in safe storage. See you in September, Sir Storey.
gallery 6 packed
A large part of the Art Collection is being stored at the RMIT Bundoora campus, but more space is needed, and as a city based university, space is at a premium. This is the exhibition space known as Gallery 6, which looks a little different from its recent incarnation when it held Terry Burrows exhibition Backs of Banaras. Here is Terry giving an artist talk (below) – an interesting contrast to the photo (above) where paintings are being wrapped for storage.
backs of banaras talk
With space is issue around the university, and works needing secure and climate controlled storage – the solution is to store extra artworks in external purpose built facilities.
IAS carrying work
The last two days of our move from RMIT Gallery’s premises at Storey Hall, 344 Swanston Street was overseen by International Art Services.
maria IAS
IAS Storage Registrar Maria-Luisa said the artworks would be going to an IAS climate controlled storeroom.  “We’ve been listing, coding and packing around 150 two dimensional works,” she said. “The artwork will be stored on purpose built, elevated 2D racks in humidity and climate controlled rooms which are all dust proof.”
The move back will be equally time intensive, all the more so because it will come at a time when RMIT Gallery prepares to install its next exhibitions to celebrate the reopening of the building in September. Stay tuned!
Next exhibitions – September – October 2015

Power to the People!  18 September – 10 October

Spanish artist Julio Falagán’s work questions power and the established status quo through humour and irony, inviting audiences to become art collectors by taking home posters of the five original works made through the manipulation of popular prints bought in flea markets.

Artist statement:

“My work deals with the questioning of power and the established status quo through humour and irony. With a justified lack of respect for what or who doesnʼt deserve it, dignifying the trivial and obsolete as a starting point to reflect on social fracture, calling into question any dogmas.
A plea in favour of the small, the overlooked, the discarded, calling out the grandiloquences and the absolute truths.”

Performing Mobilities18 September – 24 October

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.

Traces of creative journeys form expositions that explore and reimagine movement, place and event with local relevance and global resonance. 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.

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.


Revelations exhibition ends 12 July 2014

RMIT-Collection-068Farewell Revelations: Sculpture From The RMIT Art Collection. It has been a delight to promote, take tours and wax lyrical on social media about this wonderful RMIT Gallery exhibition. I will so miss my favourite work as well – Vincas Jomantas’ The King ll, 1975 (cast 2014)…a striking bronze cast that was commissioned posthumously through the RMIT Art Fund, 2013 for the RMIT University Art Collection. Photo by Mark Ashkanasy.

Next week I’ll start exploring the world of German design as we gear up for the opening of the Ulm School of Design exhibition on 29 July. Stay tuned!

* Evelyn Tsitas, RMIT Gallery Media Coordinator.

Can sound be sculpture?



Can sound be sculpture? Hear it in Bill Fontana‘s beautiful Kiribilli Wharf room at RMIT Gallery when the new exhibition Revelations: Sculpture from The RMIT Art Collection is opened tonight by Ken Scarlett OAM at 6pm on 22 May 2014.  Ken Scarlett‘s publication Australian Sculptors was the first to present a complete survey of sculpture in Australia.

The sound sculpture room was designed to complement the Fontana work by curator Jon Buckingham. He says “we have presented Kiribilli Wharf here with a lighting component designed to de-emphasize the conventional ‘white cube’ of the gallery space, and to create a truly immersive experience. “

In his catalogue essay, Jon Buckingham writes;

That innovation is such an integral part of contemporary sculptural practice suggests that it isn’t simply a deliberate recycling of form. Krauss’ expanded field is a reformulation of what can be considered sculpture – a broadening of the term in line with an increasingly diverse approach to practice, but still within a closely defined set of parameters. This properly allows for the inclusion of works like Bill Fontana’s Kirribilli Wharf and Reko Rennie’s I wear my own crown, which use sound and light respectively to express form. Artist Gareth Jones finds this problematic: in jettisoning the concept of sculpture as object, sculpture risks losing the identity that defines it. Though one can respect this line of reasoning, it seems overly reductive. Fontana and Rennie’s works are just further examples of truth-to-materials, addressing the subject of sound with sound, light with light.  This is not to suggest that these works are simply formal experiments; both works are profoundly concerned with establishing a sense of place, and in Rennie’s case, a sense of identity as well.

Bill Fontana (b. 1947)

Kirribilli Wharf, 1976

8 channel sound installation

edition 2/3

duration 27 min 53 sec (looped)

Purchased through the RMIT Art Fund, 2012

Sound Art Collection

RMIT University Art Collection SA.2013.3