The NGV Triennial brings contemporary art, design and architecture into dialogue, offering a visually arresting and thought-provoking view of the world at this time. Featuring major new commissions and recent works that span geography, perspective and genre, the exhibition celebrates the work of some of the world’s most accomplished artists and designers, while also giving voice to emerging practitioners.


Crossing cultures, disciplines and traditional divides, the NGV Triennial seeks to question the status quo of the art and design world through the generation of collaborative projects with positive impacts and long-term legacies. A range of new commissions and initiatives demonstrate that we can use the creative process to create outcomes that are intellectually, socially and aesthetically compelling.



Michael Gittings & Makiko Ryujin, Saṃsāra2020.  Photo: Tom Ross


Michael Gittings

Saṃsāra 2020 is a lighting installation designed by Makiko Ryujin and Michael Gittings. The two-part work takes the form of a large blossoming tree and separate hanging canopy to embody the cyclical nature of our existence. The tree rises floor-to-ceiling from a textured steel trunk and opens into a canopy of branches fabricated by Gittings, which embrace the walls and ceiling of the Mezzanine Gallery at NGV International. A series of charred timber light shades, hand turned and then burned by Ryujin, appear as a constellation of iridescent blooms. The shades are punctuated at the centre by soft, warm light from a hand-blown glass bulb and a rich blush of gold leaf.


Saṃsāra continues the designers’ exploration into themes of transience, brevity and perpetual change, which emerged in their 2019 collaboration Impermanence. Transitioning from bud to full bloom, then declining to its frail state before it drops, the blossom captures a lifetime in a year. In this time of global uncertainty, their latest collaboration is nature writ small, encouraging us to reflect upon the cycles of life within and around us.



Sabine Marcelis, Dawn XXXIII, 2015.  Photo: Sean Fennessy


Sabine Marcelis

Sabine Marcelis’ Dawn XXXIII 2015 is one of twelve light works from the designer’s 2015 Dawn light series featuring a large circular wall light cast in red and yellow polyester resin. Embedded within the resin is a white glass neon circle, illuminating the work to evoke the warm orange and red hues of the sun rising at dawn. The designer’s work captures a temporal, spatial, spectacular phenomena that occurs each day. Caused by the scattering and refraction of particles in the earth’s atmosphere, our visual perception of the burning star is informed by the character of the light reflected. Inspiring wonder, surprise and fear in human beings throughout history, the aesthetics of the cosmos as observed in every day and rare experiences is underpinned by humanity’s enduring preoccupation with making sense of light and its dynamic interaction between objects, the environment and radiant energy. Dawn XXXIII belongs to a collection of contemporary art and design works assembled for the NGV Triennial ‘floor of light’.


 Rive Roshan, Colour dial tablesunrise light, 2020.  Photo: Tom Ross


Rive Roshan 

Displayed as part of a broad range of projects relating to ideas of illumination, and set amongst the NGV historical collection, Colour dial table, sunrise light 2020 is a circular glass table treated with a surface colour gradient. The piece is a continuation by Rive Roshan, the artistic practice of Ruben de la Rive Box & Golnar Roshan, exploring hues of colour on a glass surface. Light that falls onto the table travels through the glass picking up the different tones and leaves a coloured trail on the surrounding floor. The intention is to use the table as a projector or lens, creating the effect that time is caught in hues settling down on the surface. The resultant image is ever-changing depending on the angle of the source of light. Colour dial table, sunrise light is part of a new body of work by the duo exploring the journey of colour and movement through light.

January 1, 2021
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