You might have heard that the University of Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts in St Kilda Road has undergone an amazing transformation – bigger, open spaces, more contemporary and embracing what was, until recently, the Victoria Police horse stables.
It’s not a closed-shop for the elite cultural, but, more than ever before, it has thrown its doors open to the general public. The most accessible of its spaces to the general public is the brand new Buxton Contemporary Gallery on the corner of Southbank Boulevard & Dodds Street in Southbank.
Designed by renowned architects Fender Katsalidis, the museum opened in March last year and comprises four public exhibition galleries, teaching facilities, and the largest outdoor screen in Australia dedicated to the display of moving image art.
In 2014 art collectors and property developers Michael and Janet Buxton donated their collection of modern art to the University of Melbourne, along with funds to build and partially endow a new museum to house it.
Since it started in 1995, the Buxton Collection had acquired individual artists’ work in depth, across media, and over time. Within twenty years the Collection had grown to more than 350 major artworks and is now widely recognised as one of the most important collections of recent Australian art held anywhere in the world.
The Buxton Contemporary displays both a permanent collection and a rolling program of temporary exhibitions. The current temporary exhibition pays homage to the Bauhaus movement, in the centenary year since the movement was founded. Bauhaus Now! explores the movements legacy in Australia.
Mondspiel, the ground-floor installation by Mikala Dwyer and Justene Williams, is part resurrection and part zombie dance. The first-floor gallery displays rare Bauhaus archival material from the two former Bauhaus students exiled to Australia, Gertrude Herzger-Seligmann and Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack.
Reconstructions by kinetic artists Michael Candy and Christopher Handran demonstrate the celebrated Bauhaus experiments with colour and light, in Hirschfeld-Mack’s Farbenlichtspiele, (Colour-Light Play) and Moholy-Nagy’s Light Space Modulator.
The recent Bauhaus Weaving of Elizabeth Pulie and Rose Nolan’s constructions are both made from the cast-off litter of domestic life. Other artists in this exhibition channel colour theory, like Peter D Cole’s miniature multiples, Jacky Redgate’s experiments with colour, light and photography, and Shane Haseman’s performance Triadic Dance of the Secondaries.
Buxton Contemporary Gallery, Victorian College of the Arts
Open: Wednesday-Sunday 11am – 5pm
Cnr Southbank Boulevard & Dodds Street Southbank, Victoria, Australia