On 23 July the National Gallery of Victoria
opened 10 ways to look at the past, a contemporary exhibition exploring artists fascination with the passing of time. This exhibition features works by 10 Australian artists, including new acquisitions by David Noonan, Tom Nicholson and Richard Lewer, which is on display at the NGV for the first time. Drawn entirely from the NGV Collection, 10 ways to look at the past explore how the concepts of history and memory have been observed, challenged and reinvented through a diverse range of works.
Jane Devery, Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art, NGV, said the concept of the past is being used to introduce different ideas relating to the passing of time, both real and imagined, that connect the works in this exhibition Some artists draw on personal histories, while others explore the past through collective or cultural memories. Some test notions of truth and fiction while others delve into the past through imaginary realms, said Ms Devery.
On display for the first time is the powerful installation, Untitled 2009 by David Noonan. Featuring five larger than life-size figures, this work forms a mysterious procession of dark, hooded characters, monstrous puppets and children parading banners.
The NGV also unveiled recent work by Tom Nicholson. Documents from a banner marching project, 2004-2007 is an installation based on a series of banners from marches organised by Nicholson in 2004-2005. The artist used the outline of various national boundaries created since 1901 to generate the route the marches followed, creating a haunting memorial to the legacy of the 20th century.
The third new acquisition, The Sound of your own breathing by Richard Lewer is an animation centred around three characters who each reveal an unsettling chapter from their past. Frances Lindsay, Deputy Director, NGV said: In the NGVs 150th year we are delighted to have acquired these works by three significant Australian artists. This is a wonderful opportunity for Victorians to see exciting new additions to the NGV Collection in the context of the other contemporary works in this exhibition. 10 ways to look at the past displays works by Tom Nicholson, David Noonan, Ricky Swallow, Narelle Jubelin, Emily Floyd, Brook Andrew, Peter Kennedy, Tracey Moffatt, Richard Lewer and Martyn Jolly.