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Museums and Collections
 
e-news


May 2018

Welcome to the latest issue of e-news from The University of Melbourne Museums and Collections. This electronic newsletter is circulated each month and provides information on current exhibitions, events and news items from the University’s museums and collections. For details of the individual collections explore the Museums and Collections website.

News

2018 International Museums and Collections (IMaC) Award recipient announced

Alice O’Rourke has recently been selected as the UK recipient of the 2018 International Museums and Collections Award. Currently studying for her Masters in Art History and Curating at the University of Birmingham, she will come to Melbourne in August. During her month-long placement, Alice will work closely with museum professionals and be able to develop collection management and curatorial skills across a range of collections. Alice is especially keen to expand her understanding of museum and gallery practices within an international context, and to have a chance to apply her theoretical and analytical skills in a ‘real world’ environment. Of her upcoming placement she commented ‘I can’t wait to explore the museums and collections at the University of Melbourne - this will be a wonderful opportunity to try new things and develop my existing knowledge on collections…I’m looking forward to gaining new skills and bringing these back to Birmingham!’ While in Melbourne she is also very keen to establish professional networks and build relationships within the sector.

The reciprocal part of the IMaC Award exchange will see a Melbourne student selected in September to travel in early 2019 to the University of Birmingham, and similarly to have the opportunity to work on projects with their museums and collections.   

Alice will be based with the Museums and Collections Unit from early August, and you will be able to follow her cultural adventures in Melbourne via her blog, which will be accessible through the Museums and Collections website

Image: Alice O’Rourke, UK recipient of the 2018 IMaC Award

Science Gallery Melbourne's new building set to open in 2020

Science Gallery Melbourne is one step closer to building its new home in Australia's leading innovation precinct, with planning approval received last week. The new building will be located at the site of the old Royal Women's Hospital on the corner of Grattan and Swanston streets in Carlton, as part of the University of Melbourne Carlton Connect Initiative. Construction of the new building will commence in mid-2018, with doors set to open in 2020.

As part of the next planning phase, staff are currently looking at how to design the new gallery with the ultimate digital fit out, inspired by hospitals, shopping centres and airports. Faced with the challenge of future-proofing the gallery’s digital environment, Science Gallery Melbourne has teamed up with the Microsoft Research Centre for Social Natural User Interfaces at the University of Melbourne and identified a range of considerations, such as maximising the lifespan of today’s technologies; designing for changing museum requirements and visitor expectations; and integrating technology in the architectural design of museum spaces.

The Director of Science Gallery Melbourne Rose Hiscock and digital media specialist Dr Niels Wouters will be discussing these issues and more at a free public talk to be held on Tuesday 8 May as part of Melbourne Knowledge Week 2018.

Image: Artist's impression of the new building to house Science Gallery Melbourne

Honing drawing skills with the University's museums and collections

Drawing workshops run by the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) with the University’s  museums and collections provides an important means to hone artistic skills. Students participating in the workshops recently visited the Medical History Museum, the Noel Shaw Gallery Dark imaginings exhibition, the Baillieu Library Print Collection  and the Grainger Museum to draw objects on display, as well as items that had been brought out from storage.

Copying works of art through drawing is an age-old tradition which assists students to acquire and understand the techniques exercised by master artists. Grasping perspective and foreshortening challenges created through displays and gallery spaces is another skill which can be learned.

The students had the opportunity to draw with pencils and experience another medium, that of silverpoint, a method which grew from medieval manuscripts and which employs the use of a metal stylus on a prepared ground. Drawing objects from the collections is an opportunity for artists to get out of the studio, and bring the objects to life through their creative efforts.

Image: Student participating in the Baillieu Library Print Collection workshop. Photograph by Alice Mathieu, Arts Programs, UMSU

Gaming in France: a set of 32 piquet playing cards 

At first glance, playing cards may seem a novel addition to the Baillieu Library Print Collection, yet playing cards are some of the earliest printed images produced in Europe and they convey a world of information about art and society. Piquet is a game rather like euchre which uses 32 cards instead of the regular 52 deck. The set of cards was acquired to provide students of printmaking studies a practical example of the use and application of colour with stencil, but they are also of interest to students of history and psychology.

Playing cards are documents of social exchange and they record many fascinating insights about human interaction and moments in history. France has an important role in the development of playing cards and their suits of trèfles (clovers or clubs), carreaux (tiles or diamonds), cœurs (hearts) and piques (pikes or spades) were adopted by many other nations. The design on the piquet set existed briefly at a time when Napoleon deemed that French playing cards be redesigned and stripped of allusions to the former monarchy. He selected a design by Nicolas Marie Gatteaux which instead identifies each of the face cards as a famous person from history or literature such as Caesar, Lancelot and Judith.

Image: One of the recently acquired set of 32 piquet playing cards designed by Nicolas Marie Gatteaux, c.1810-1816. Baillieu Library Print Collection, University of Melbourne

New exhibition on Australian Indigenous traditional healing practice

The Medical History Museum at the University of Melbourne recently opened its new exhibition The art of healing: Australian Indigenous traditional healing practice. The exhibition presents examples of traditional Indigenous healing practice from the many distinct and varied Indigenous communities throughout Australia. These are shown through contemporary art practice and examples of plants.

Highlights include the work of Gija elder and artist Shirley Purdie, who has spent the last two years illustrating the bush medicine of her region near Warmun in the Kimberly, as well as the work of Treahna Hamm who reveals in Yorta Yorta Bush Medicine First Aid Kit the use of medicinal plants in Victoria. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with the perspectives of Indigenous communities represented.

The key to this exhibition is revealing that traditional Indigenous healing is a current practice informed by the past, and an intrinsic part of the life of Indigenous people in Australia.

Image: Judith Pugkarta Inkamala, Bush Medicine, 2017. Medical History Museum, University of Melbourne

Events

Electronic 60s sounds hit Melbourne at the Grainger Museum

Grainger Museum, Wednesday 2 May 2018, 12.00pm to 1.00pm

Join exhibition curator Dr Heather Gaunt as she guides you through this interactive exhibition chronicling the history of the electronic music machines on display and their pioneers. The exhibition Synthesizers: Sound of the Future explores the Melbourne scene of electronic music creation focused on the Grainger Electronic Studio in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Australian composer and educator Keith Humble (1927-1995) led a period of intense creative compositional activity based at the Grainger Museum in this period. Humble chose to make the Grainger Museum the centre of his many activities in musical composition, improvisation, education, and experimentation. He built up an electronic studio in the Museum that included the most cutting-edge analogue synthesizers available in the period. With like-minded local musicians and artists, Humble promoted the discussion of contemporary music aggressively, creating a new climate of excitement in Melbourne around the avant-garde.

Free event. Further information and bookings.

Image: Jean-Charles Francois and Ian Bonighton in the Grainger Museum Electronic Music Studio, 1971. Grainger Museum, University of Melbourne

Think of a Sound - Now Make It: A history of the Electronic Music Studios  

Grainger Museum, Thursday 10 May 2018, 12.00pm to 1.00pm

Presented by Jim Gardner, University of Canterbury

In this talk James Gardner will discuss the origins, instruments, and Australian links of Electronic Music Studios (London) Ltd., many of whose synthesizers are featured in the Synthesizers: Sound of the Future exhibition. He will also contextualise the electronic music of the late 1960s and early 1970s and demonstrate how the role of synthesizers and electronic music during this period was still being negotiated. Given Percy Grainger’s optimism for ‘Free Music’ and electronic instruments, he himself might have come up with one of EMS’s famous slogans: ‘Think of a sound…now make it.'

Free event. Further information and bookings.

Image: Portable analogue synthesizer EMS VCS 3, made in 1969, at the Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio. Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio (MESS) Collection. Photograph Amber Haines

Dark tourism: Ghosts and the Gothic theatre of Victoria’s heritage sites

Leigh Scott Room, level one, Baillieu Library, Thursday 17 May 2018, 12.00pm to 1.00pm

Gothic narratives and ghost tours in particular are increasingly deployed to draw visitors to heritage sites such as Old Melbourne Gaol, Castlemaine Gaol, Ararat Lunatic Asylum and other sites connected with traumatic pasts. In this lecture, Mary Luckhurst considers why the Gothic spin has such an effective appeal and what ghostly narratives both reveal and obscure. How does a ghost story operate and what performance techniques and narration do different heritage operators use? Why is the Gothic so prevalent in Victoria?

Mary Luckhurst is a theatre historian and co-editor of Theatre and Ghosts: Materiality, Performance and Modernity (2014), the first book to link theatre and performance with spectrality studies and cultural heritage.

Free event: Further information and bookings

Image: Unknown photographer, The Apparition [detail], c.1880s, Special Collections, University of Melbourne
 

Louise Dyer and Editions de l’Oiseau-Lyre: The establishment of a music press

Two-day symposium with associated concerts

Tallis Wing, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Royal Parade, Friday 18 May 2018, 2.00pm to 6.00 pm

Dulcie Hollyock Room, Ground floor, Baillieu Library, Saturday 19 May 2018, 11.00am to 5.30pm


The University Library and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music are co-hosting a symposium celebrating the achievements of Melbourne woman, Louise Dyer (later Hanson-Dyer), who, in 1932, set up and operated a music publishing house, Editions de l’Oiseau-Lyre, in Paris.  Rare Music, Special Collection has held the Editions de l’Oiseau-Lyre archive since the company closed in 2013.

The symposium concentrates on the Press’s early period, through to the end of World War II. It also, in the 350th year since the birth of Francois Couperin, celebrates Dyer’s contribution to Couperin scholarship in her inaugural publication. French curator and musicologist Catherine Massip is keynote speaker.

Free events (symposium days and concerts): Further information and bookings

Image: Cover detail, François Couperin Œuvres complètes (Paris: Editions de l’Oiseau Lyre), 1932–1933, Rare Music, Special Collections

Exhibitions at The University of Melbourne

The shape of things to come

Buxton Contemporary, to Sunday 24 June 2018

The shape of things to come explores the roles and agencies of the artist in culture, society and politics as visionaries, storytellers, dissenters, foreseers and imaginers of different futures. This project spans the mythic role of the artist as well as some of the more specific social agencies of artists as producers of powerful trans-historical narratives; as sensors, transformers, intermediaries and ‘advancers’ of the world we inhabit.The diverse array of selected artists and works featured are variously imbued with a sense of ritualism, mysticism, and even foreboding; evoking the dynamics of a world in constant change and turmoil. More

Image: The digital screen at the entrance of the Buxton Contemporary, featuring Kate Mitchell's digital video In Time, 2015. Courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery. Photograph James Geer

Meredith Turnbull: Closer

Ian Potter Museum of Art, to Sunday 1 July 2018

Meredith Turnbull takes a non-hierarchical approach to art making, combining sculpture, photography, decorative objects and jewellery in artworks that invite reflection upon use, value and decoration, adornment and excess. In Meredith Turnbull: Closer the artist presents an installation of newly commissioned work which responds to the University of Melbourne Art Collection. Turnbull has drawn from the Collection’s eclectic and vibrant holdings of decorative art to make new forms and display contexts for objects ranging from large scale wood carvings, glazed earthenware and porcelain, to modernist fine art jewellery. Closer engages with decorative traditions to explore the intersections between visual art, craft and design. Meredith Turnbull is a Melbourne-based artist, curator and writer.

Image: Meredith Turnbull, Co-workers: Objects, Décor, Fabrics (Dekor XXVIII), 2010-2016. Courtesy of the artist and Daine Singer, Melbourne
 

Stieg Persson: Polyphonic

Ian Potter Museum of Art, to Sunday 1 July 2018

Stieg Persson: Polyphonic explores the rich, complex and beguiling practice of Melbourne-based artist Stieg Persson. Bringing together work spanning a thirty-year career, this major exhibition provides the opportunity to reflect upon the preoccupations and concerns that thread through and bind the artist’s expansive practice: issues of mortality and the human condition; the ongoing relevance and importance of the past; the ebb and flow of notions of taste and class, and underpinning these intersecting interests, the fundamental question about just what is the contribution of art to contemporary life. As Persson asks, “Does art any longer have any faith in its ability to be an authentic form of self-expression?”

Stieg Persson is an alumnus of the University of Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts, graduating with a Bachelor of Art (Painting) in 1981 and a Master of Fine Arts in 1998. Persson is currently a PhD candidate at the VCA; examples of this new work are included in the exhibition. More

Image: Stieg Persson, Landscape (Covetous) [detail], 1983. The University of Melbourne Art Collection. Purchased 1983

Dark imaginings: Gothic tales of wonder

Noel Shaw Gallery, Baillieu Library, to Tuesday 31 July 2018

In 18th century Europe a revolutionary shift in literary and artistic expression took place that became known as ‘the Gothic’. Nightmarish images of barbarity, oppression and the supernatural were abstracted from an earlier medieval (or ‘Gothic’) age and fused with a Romantic focus on imagination and emotion, resulting in works of frightening and thrilling originality. Leading exponents of the gothic set their creative works in dark and claustrophobic spaces or wild, threatening landscapes and infused them with melancholy, gloom and fear.

Dark imaginings: Gothic tales of wonder explores the expression of the Gothic from the mid-18th to the mid-19th centuries. The exhibition marks several important gothic anniversaries, including the bicentenary of the first publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the 200th birthday of Emily Brontë, author of Wuthering Heights. More

Image: Graphic by Janet Boschen based on: Robert Burns (author) and John Faed (artist), Tam O’Shanter. Edinburgh, 1855. Rare Books, Special Collections, University of Melbourne

Synthesizers: Sound of the future

Grainger Museum, to Sunday 9 September 2018

Presented by Grainger Museum and Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio

Today’s musical hackers, sound artists and digital musicians who patch and share and experiment with sound are the direct beneficiaries of innovators in electronic sound in the second half of the twentieth century. The Grainger Museum was at the heart of musical experimentation in Melbourne in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when University of Melbourne composer and teacher Keith Humble, and composer and Grainger Museum Curator Ian Bonighton ran a renegade electronic composition studio with early analog synthesizers, including the EMS Synthi 100.

The exhibition Synthesizers: Sound of the future explores this Melbourne scene and, more broadly, the evolution of the commercially produced synthesizer by EMS (Electronic Music Studios Ltd, UK) in this period. The exhibition features key instruments on loan from the Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio (MESS) and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. More

Image: Portable analogue synthesizer EMS VCS 3, made in 1969, at the Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio. Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio (MESS) Collection. Photograph Amber Haines

The art of healing: Australian Indigenous traditional healing practice

Medical History Museum, to Saturday 29 September 2018

The art of healing: Australian Indigenous traditional healing practice follows the premise of Tjukurrpa (dreaming). It looks at traditional Indigenous healing practice as past, present and future simultaneously. It presents examples of healing practice from the many distinct and varied Indigenous communities throughout Australia. These are shown through contemporary art practice and examples of plants and medicines.

The exhibition is accompanied by a major catalogue with the perspectives of Indigenous communities represented. The key to this exhibition is revealing that traditional Indigenous healing is a current practice informed by the past, and an intrinsic part of the life of Indigenous people in Australia. More

Image: Judith Pugkarta Inkamala, Bush Medicine, 2017. Medical History Museum, University of Melbourne
 

Liquid form: Ancient and contemporary glass

Ian Potter Museum of Art, to Sunday 28 October 2018

Liquid form: Ancient and contemporary glass celebrates the luminous medium of glass. Displaying significant artefacts from the Egyptian and Roman periods alongside the work of contemporary makers, Liquid form examines the development of faience and glass manufacture in the ancient world and demonstrates how these methods have been reinvigorated and extended in the modern era.

Highlighting the treasures in the University of Melbourne’s Classics & Archaeology Collection, Liquid Form is the first major exhibition of glass at the Ian Potter Museum of Art. The exhibition also showcases significant works from major collections around Australia, including the Australian Institute of Archaeology, Melbourne; the Dodgson Collection of Egyptian Antiquities at Queens College, the University of Melbourne; the John Elliot Classics Museum, the University of Tasmania; the RD Milns Antiquities Museum, the University of Queensland and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. More

Image: Egyptian necklace, 1550BCE-395CE. University of Melbourne Art Collection. Classics and Archaeology Collection. Gift of Miss D Kilburn, 1962

More exhibitions

For a full list of exhibitions and associated events at the University of Melbourne, visit the websites of the individual galleries and museums.

Ian Potter Museum of Art

Margaret Lawrence Gallery

George Paton Gallery

The Dax Centre

Science Gallery Melbourne

The Professor Sir Joseph Burke Gallery, Trinity College

Buxton Contemporary

Image: Visitors at the Ian Potter Museum of Art. Photography by Jody Hutchinson

Now available: University of Melbourne Collections

Issue 21 of the University of Melbourne Collections magazine is now available. Join the Friends of the Baillieu Library and receive two complimentary issues annually.

 
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