Cover image of the review
Nikki Lam, the unshakeable destiny_2101 (2021), still, 16 mm film transferred to 2K digital with sound. Courtesy of the artist and Copyright Agency, Australia © Nikki Lam.

Melbourne Now

1 Apr 2023
National Gallery of Victoria | The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia 24 Aug - 20 Aug 2023

Why doesn’t the NGV have a FUCKING cinema?! Of course, it’s often said that ACMI is just next door and that film (and the “moving image”) is their domain—but seriously? The two institutions are in the same building, separated only by the atrium at Federation Square. Alternatively, why doesn’t ACMI move to somewhere more “Australian”? This is Melbourne, after all! It’s Melbourne NOW, a city (and not a National Gallery…well, for now). More significantly, the 2023 edition of the decennial survey exhibition is chock-a-block with digital video work. From Kiron Robinson’s factory-like boxes with screens installed in the Brown Collection on level two, titled If you want my mind, you can take my pain as well (2019–present), to Layla Vardo’s Orders of Magnitude (2021) succinctly displayed in its own gallery setting and consisting solely of sharp intakes of breath by none other than an unwitting Sir David Attenborough. Perhaps Robinson’s “crawling man” is trying to tell me something. Get out? The impossibility of escape? The physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living?

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