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.

 

Last days: current RMIT Gallery exhibitions close on 30 May

RMIT Gallery Unfolding: New Indian Textiles, RMIT Gallery, 20 MAR 2015 - 30 MAY 2015 - photo by Mark Ashkanasy.

RMIT Gallery Unfolding: New Indian Textiles, RMIT Gallery, 20 MAR 2015 – 30 MAY 2015 – photo by Mark Ashkanasy.

The current exhibitions at RMIT Gallery – Unfolding: New Indian Textiles, Backs of Banaras by Terry Burrows and Art After Fukushima: Return of Godzilla close at 5 pm on Saturday 30 May. Don’t miss seeing these visually compelling shows. Here is what others are saying about them:

“Loving these brilliant colors!” That’s a typical comment from audiences who come to Unfolding: New Indian Textiles, which celebrates the handmade and strong tradition craftsmanship in Indian villages, and the innovative designers who meld the old and the new to reach out to a global audience.

“This is an outstanding exhibition of color and texture, that has opened our eyes to an India of which we were unaware,” is a comment in our visitor’s book.

This is echoed by other comments – “Indian textiles – wool stitching is incredible – excellent exhibition!”; “Visually and technically magnificent!”; “An amazing, inspiring, surprising, beautiful exhibition…a truly memorable and very beautiful experience to behold.”

RMIT Gallery: Unfolding: New Indian Textiles, 20 MAR 2015 - 30 MAY 2015 Indian textile designers are the envy of the rest of the world because they continue to have close, easy contact with all manner of hand production and crafts no longer available elsewhere. Photo by Mark Ashkanasy, 2015

RMIT Gallery: Unfolding: New Indian Textiles, 20 MAR 2015 – 30 MAY 2015
Indian textile designers are the envy of the rest of the world because they continue to have close, easy contact with all manner of hand production and crafts no longer available elsewhere. Photo by Mark Ashkanasy, 2015

The complementary exhibition Backs of Banaras, by Terry Burrows, presents a display of large photographic prints that lines up many torsos along the ghats of the Ganges at Varanasi (Banaras). Banaras is known as the city of Shiva, one of India’s most revered sites of Hindu ritual, and the exhibition invites viewers to explore another side of India.

The exhibition provides a visual contrast with Unfolding: New Indian Textiles and this dichotomy between high fashion and the textiles worn by villagers in rural India is a deliberate choice by RMIT Gallery Director and Chief Curator Suzanne Davies.

RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies with artist Terry Burrows at his RMIT Gallery exhibition Baccks of Banaras, a curated selection of works from his book which they are holding. Photo: Evelyn Tsitas

RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies with artist Terry Burrows at his RMIT Gallery exhibition Baccks of Banaras, a curated selection of works from his book which they are holding. Photo: Evelyn Tsitas

“The aim of the exhibitions is to showcase the 21 st century application of Indian craftsmanship to an international audience, and to reveal also the everyday, ordinary textiles worn in rural areas,” Ms Davies said.

“We wanted people to have a meditative experience when they viewed Backs of Banaras, and pause to enjoy a sense of calm.”

And it worked – in the visitor’s book, someone notes; “Terry Burrows photos were outstanding. An intriguing set that kept revealing more and more on many levels; aesthetic, social, patterns, texture, shapes – wonderful. Thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition and it opened my eyes to new ways of seeing.”

RMIT Gallery 20 Mar 2015 - 30 May 2015 Japanese Art After Fukushima: Return of Godzilla: photo by Mark Ashkanasy, 2015

RMIT Gallery
20 Mar 2015 – 30 May 2015
Japanese Art After Fukushima: Return of Godzilla: photo by Mark Ashkanasy, 2015

One of the great strengths of a university public art gallery is its ability to explore often provocative ideas and challenge viewers, showcasing how artists have responded to certain events or ideas. This is the case in the third exhibition at RMIT Gallery, shown alongside Unfolding: New Indian Textiles and Backs of Banaras.

The exhibition Japanese Art After Fukushima: Return of Godzilla is curated by Associate Professor Linda Williams, RMIT School of Art, and draws inspiration from two major events in Japan that led to radioactive contamination: the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 and the 2011 tsunami. Art After Fukushima questions the benign effects of the use of nuclear power, as explored through the work of six Japanese artists.

One visitor commented; “An excellent showing of three very different exhibitions. The Indian materials are stunning. The Japanese exhibition is so powerful and hauntingly beautiful in its vulnerability. The Backs of Banaras captures each moment in time with exquisite human stories. Thank you!”

Here at RMIT Gallery we work with a passion for the arts and are firm believers in the power of cultural diplomacy and the ability of the arts to move and affect people. Perhaps it is too big a task to ask any artform to be able to change people’s perspectives, but we do believe that well curated exhibitions have an impact on people, even if it is just an opportunity to take a moment to think – and view – things differently.

RMIT Gallery 20 Mar 2015 - 30 May 2015 Japanese Art After Fukushima: Return of Godzilla:  close up of new commissioned work by Yutaka Kobayashi - ‘Absorption Ripples – Melt down melt away’ 2015, made from  Zeolite, Lichen and mixed media.  Installation photo by Mark Ashkanasy, 2015.

RMIT Gallery
20 Mar 2015 – 30 May 2015
Japanese Art After Fukushima: Return of Godzilla: close up of new commissioned work by Yutaka Kobayashi – ‘Absorption Ripples – Melt down melt away’ 2015, made from
Zeolite, Lichen and mixed media. Installation photo by Mark Ashkanasy, 2015.

We are always attentive to the comments in our visitor book, and are often very moved by what people choose to spend time to write and tell us about their experience. Here are some more highlights:

“As a disability support pensioner with acquired brain injury, it was wonderful to attend an exhibition free of charge…thank you very much for what I saw and this wonderful opportunity.”

“Positive – positive – positive! A challenge to deadly uranium. Keep it in the ground. This art is revolutionary!”

Three RMIT Gallery exhibitions opening 26 March 6-8 pm

 

RMIT Gallery official opens the exhibitions Japanese Art After Fukushima: Return of Godzilla, Unfolding: New Indian Textiles and Backs of Banaras on Thursday 26 March from 6-8 pm.

The gallery will also be showcasing a series of free artist and curator talks as part of the opening week.

Artist Yutaka Kobayashi at work at RMIT Gallery on his installation 'Absorption Ripples' for RMIT Gallery's exhibition Japanese Art After Fukushima: Return of Godzilla - official opening 6-8 pm Thursday 26 March 2015.

Artist Yutaka Kobayashi at work at RMIT Gallery on his installation ‘Absorption Ripples’ for RMIT Gallery’s exhibition Japanese Art After Fukushima: Return of Godzilla – official opening 6-8 pm Thursday 26 March 2015. Image Evelyn Tsitas

Japanese Art After Fukushima: Return of Godzilla – Curator talk

Associate Professor Linda Williams will give a talk about climate change – a curator’s response, to celebrate Japanese Art After Fukushima: Return of Godzilla (26 March – 30 May) in which Japanese artists respond to the events at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 and its environmental implications.

Title: Japanese Art After Fukushima: Return of Godzilla – curator’s talk

Date: Wednesday 25 March

Time: 12.30-1.30 pm

Venue: RMIT Gallery, 344 Swanston Street Melbourne

Bookings: (free) (03) 9925 1717

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Unfolding: New Indian Textiles – curator and artist talk

At visual artist Parul Thaker's workshop in India. Image: Helen Rayment

At visual artist Parul Thaker’s workshop in India. Image: Helen Rayment

Curator Maggie Baxter’s exhibition showcases contemporary Indian textile designers and artists. She will talk about the reinvention of traditional textiles within the wider context of international art and fashion with Indian designers Himanshu Dogra (Play Clan), Parul Thaker (visual artist) and Bappaditya Biswas (bai lou).

Title: Unfolding: New Indian Textiles – curator and artist talk (26 March – 30 May)

Date: Friday 27 March

Time: – 12.30 – 2 pm

Venue: RMIT Gallery, 344 Swanston Street Melbourne

Bookings: (free) (03) 9925 1717

Backs of Banaras

This curated selection of anonymous portraits from The Banaras Back Book, taken along the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi, provides a strangely impersonal view of private moments of contemplation or indifference.

It is also a visual essay in the textiles of the everyday and conveys much of the cultural wealth and contradiction that is contemporary India. Terry Burrows is a Research Affiliate of Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney.

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Inspired by India – two new exhibitions to open at RMIT Gallery

Photographer Terry Burrows will be giving an artist talk on Friday 20 March 2015, 12.30-1.30 pm at RMIT Gallery.

Photographer Terry Burrows will be giving an artist talk on Friday 20 March, 12.30-1.30 pm at RMIT Gallery.

RMIT Gallery throws open its doors to the public with two new exhibitions inspired by India with the official opening on Thursday 26 march from 6-8 pm. The exhibitions – Backs of Banaras and Unfolding: New Indian Textiles will run until 30 May, and be officially opened from 6-8 pm on Thursday 26 March with an address by Ms Manika Jain, Acting High Commissioner of India.

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Backs of Banaras

Banaras is known as the city of Shiva, one of India’s most revered sites of Hindu ritual. In this exhibition, Sydney based photographer Terry Burrows captures the cultural wealth and contradiction that is contemporary India. Selected from the complete series of 1008 photographs (an auspicious number for Hindus) that feature in his The Banaras Back Book, this parade of backs, mostly male and strangely impersonal, conveys much of the cultural wealth and contradiction that is contemporary India.

The subjects are draped in their personal cloth and form a visual essay in the textiles of the everyday. These photographs were taken during a five-month residency that Burrows completed in Varanasi in 2010/11. The contrast of traditional religious ritual amidst contemporary street life is intriguing and Burrows argues it is portrayed particularly prominently with Hinduism.

Terry Burrows will be giving a talk about his photographic practice and on photographing in India on Friday 20 March from 12.30-1.30 pm. Bookings RMIT Gallery (03) 9925 1717.

Who should be photographed – how and why? Terry will explore the politics of photographing a subject ‘by stealth’. Should an artist get permission – or not? Is photographing someone’s back the same as their face? Is it different in a country like India – especially if you are a Western photographer? A fascinating insight into a complex issue about rights and responsibilities of an artist to coincide with his exhibition.

Unfolding: New Indian Textiles

Image courtesy of Play Clan

Image courtesy of Play Clan

Indian textile designers are the envy of the rest of the world because they continue to have close, easy contact with all manner of hand production and crafts no longer available elsewhere.

This vibrant new exhibition places contemporary Indian textile designers and artists within the wider context of international art and fashion and examines the reinvention of traditional textiles through the sari, uncut cloth, street wear as well as textiles and fibre as contemporary art.

Unfolding: New Indian Textiles has been developed by independent curator, public art coordinator and artist Maggie Baxter to coincide with her new book on contemporary Indian textiles. Ms Baxter has travelled to India for more than two decades, where she has worked with traditional crafts in the Kutch region of North West India since 1990. The Indian village remains a constant presence in textile production terms of tradition and subject matter, drawing extensively on the daily life and popular culture of villages and marketplaces.

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