NGV Australia’s newest temporary exhibition is a first for an Australian art institution – a look at Australia’s history of car design and engineering called ‘Shifting Gear: Design, Innovation and the Australian Car’.
The exhibition is particularly well-timed given the 2015 Formula 1 Grand Prix starts on Thursday 12 March and the fact that Australia’s automobile industry is frankly, going down the tube. Now is the time to capture the stories, archives and history of the heyday of the Australian car industry and provide some scholarly analysis and discussion on Australia’s contribution to global knowledge and design.
If, like me, you’re not really into cars (bikes are more my thing) then ‘Shifting Gear: Design, Innovation and the Australian Car’ is still an interesting visit. I was invited to a special preview of the exhibition along with the launch of NGV’s new contemporary design and architecture strategy and programs.
The twenty-three cars on show in the gallery foyer and the ticketed exhibition range from vehicles from the 19th century through to now. They have all been shined to a mirror buff, raised onto pedestals and exhibited as objects of sophisticated art and design.
The gallery design is extremely effective and I loved how the bold colour palettes greatly enhanced the presentation of the cars. Even if you read none of the information it’s a visually stunning space and very photogenic.
Shifting Gear: Design, Innovation and the Australian Car is one of the branches of NGV’s long-term strategy to become a leading hub for contemporary art, design and architecture. Just this year Nordic Cool – Modernist Design has opened, a new curatorial department has been created, the two gallery shops have been relaunched as a design-focused retailer NGV design store and a new collection area is being created for design and architecture.
In April Coco Flip will enliven the Great Hall with Puku Ottomans and in September an ongoing Commission for Ephemeral Architecture will launch with a stunning sweeping work by John Wardle Architects ‘I Dips Me Lid’.
In 2016 a Design Project Space will open presenting a year round program of exhibitions and in 2017 the NGV Triennial will launch.
It’s going to be an exciting period for the National Gallery of Victoria!