This exhibition brings together a selection of recent work by the Japanese contemporary artist Miyanaga Akira. The Kyoto-based practitioner is known for mesmerising moving image works constructed from film footage taken from everyday life. Fragments filmed in both urban and rural areas of Japan – from crowds moving through subways to light gently falling over […]
“The Buddha smiled and varicoloured rays of light extended from the smile, up to the gods in heaven and down to the various hells, where warmth brought relief to those suffering in the cold hells and its coolness brought relief to those in the hot hells.” Adaptation from The Legend of King Ashoka Buddha’s Smile introduces […]
Katsushika Hokusai is regarded as one of the most influential and creative minds in the history of Japanese art. His unique social observations, innovative approach to design and mastery of the brush made him famous in Edo-period Japan and globally recognised within a decade of his death. The self-described ‘Old man mad about drawing’ was […]
Textiles and Jewellery from Central Asia
A National Gallery of Victoria exhibition in association with Ararat Regional Art Gallery Adorned: Textiles and Jewellery from Central Asia draws on the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria to present a window into the magnificent sartorial traditions of the vast Central Asian region stretching from China in the east to the Caspian Sea in […]
Tradition in contemporary form
Bamboo groves are a quintessential part of the Japanese landscape, and bamboo weaving is one of the oldest technical skills to have developed in Japan. The exhibition Bamboo: Tradition in contemporary form explores the evocative, sensual and sculptural power of contemporary Japanese bamboo art through 22 contemporary and five traditional bamboo works, made possible thanks to […]
Alchemy of a Colour
Cobalt blue pigment and indigo blue dye are two of the most distinctive and influential colourants employed by artists worldwide. Blue: Alchemy of a Colour explores how artists have created works in the desirable blue and white palette using a wide range of methods and styles, to produce unique and exquisite works of art. On display […]
Gods, Heroes and Clowns
Performance and Narrative in South and Southeast Asian Art
Gods, Heroes and Clowns: Performance and Narrative in South and Southeast Asian Art explores visual and performance art inspired by the many narratives that pervade South and Southeast Asia, including the great Hindu epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, and ballads describing the exploits of local folk heroes. Works on display come from India, Thailand, […]
Reflection Model (Itsukushima)
Takahiro Iwasaki is recognized as one of Japan’s new generation of emerging young artists, who creates intricately detailed models that reinterpret contemporary cityscapes and iconic historic buildings. The Reflection Model series focuses on seven of Japan’s most sacred buildings that all have an intimate visual relationship with the reflections they cast in the water that surrounds them.
Commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria, the third and largest work in the Reflection Model series takes as its subject the Shinto shrine of Itsukushima, located on the tidal flats of Japan’s Inland Sea.
Felton Bequest, 2014
The Instrument Builders Project
Collaborations in Sound by Indonesian and Australian Artists
NGV Studio hosts the first Australian iteration of The Instrument Builders Project (IBP), an experimental collaborative project between Australian and Indonesian artists and musicians curated by Kristi Monfries and Joel Stern.
NGV Collection Focus
Negoro refers to simple and elegant red lacquer objects produced during Japan’s medieval period, between the twelfth and seventeenth centuries. Embodying the ancient sense of Japanese beauty, the minimalistic forms of Negoro lacquer ware were primarily intended to be functional objects and are void of elaborate decoration. The supple shapes and naturally worn patina of red and black lacquered layers give Negoro an ambience of antiquity and sophistication that has made them treasured objects throughout the ages. Since the early twentieth century they have become highly appreciated by modern-day connoisseurs as objects of outstanding design and utilitarian beauty.
This exhibition launches the NGV strongly into international new media, featuring three large scale immersive video works from Wang Gongxin, who is a major force in Chinese video art.
Way of the Samurai
Bushido explores the fascinating world of the samurai who were the warriors, rulers and aristocratic elite of Japanese society for more than 800 years.
From the 12th century through to the end of the Edo period in 1868 the Shogun, regional lords and their warrior retainers (all samurai in their own right) ruled the country and lived to a strict code of ethics. This military aristocracy aspired to a life of spiritual harmony that not only perfected the art of war but also embodied an appreciation of the fine arts that established their life as an art form itself. Throughout these tumultuous times of war and peace samurai virtues of honesty, courage, benevolence, respect, self-sacrifice, self-control, duty, and loyalty combined with their passion for a cultural lifestyle not only established social stability, but also cultivated a legacy of art and culture in Japanese society that continues to this day.
Poetry, Calligraphy and Painting in Chinese Art 三绝：詩书画
Three Perfections explores the interconnections between poetry, calligraphy and painting. In traditional China, scholars and scholar-officials were cultivated in these arts as vehicles of self-expression. Painting was regarded as ‘silent poetry’ and poetry ‘painting with sound’. Scholars trained in the ‘art of handwriting’ or calligraphy at an early age used calligraphic brushstrokes in their paintings.
This exhibition consists of paintings and calligraphy from the Asian Collection. Works dating from the fourteenth century to the present will show the uniqueness of Chinese art and the contrast between traditional and contemporary art in the continuity of a living tradition.
Contemporary Asian & Pacific Art
The NGV’s newly opened Contemporary Asian & Pacific Art gallery focusses on art practice that is part of a global art world, yet geographically closer to Australia than Europe or North America.
Visit our newly refurbished Asian art galleries dedicated to displaying the art and culture of Chinese, Japanese and South and Southeast Asia.
Thanks to the support of the Felton Bequest, The Art Foundation of Victoria, the Supporters of Asian Art and many generous donors, the NGV’s Asian Art collection has grown to be one of the most revered collections in Australia.
RALLY: Contemporary Indonesian Art
Jompet Kuswidananto & Eko Nugroho
Jompet Kuswidananto and Eko Nugroho are members of the art community that centres on the vibrant central Java city of Yogyakarta in Indonesia. Jompet is an installation artist, while Nugroho works across diverse media; creating paintings, murals and handmade comic books, contemporary updates of the tradition of shadow puppet theatre, and collaborations with local craftspeople to produce embroideries. As a pairing, they shine light on the effervescent contemporary Indonesian art scene and present a wide-ranging, yet precise snapshot of this world.
The Art of Belief
A National Gallery of Victoria Touring Exhibition
This exciting exhibition draws upon diverse material from across all areas of the NGV’s rich collections to explore a range of living religious traditions found in the Victorian community today. With over 50 works of art, many rarely exhibited before, dating from the medieval period through to the contemporary, the exhibition looks afresh at religious practice and belief as seen through the eyes of artists past and present.
In the steps of the Buddha
This exhibition of 80 Buddhist and Hindu works of art drawn from the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria explores the development of Buddhist imagery across Asia. From early Buddhist works created in India in the 2nd – 4th centuries AD to a contemporary Zen Buddhist ink and brush painting in the Chinese tradition, In the steps of the Buddha illustrates different styles of art associated with the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist schools. The exhibition presents a wide range of Buddhist works of art including sculptures of the Buddha, bodhisattvas and Buddhist deities in bronze, wood, clay and lacquer, ritual items, pilgrimage souvenirs, paintings, masks and manuscript covers and includes works from Gandhara, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Japan, China, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan.
Kaleidoscope: Art and colour
Kaleidoscope: Art and colour celebrates the power of colour and the impact it has on our lives, from how we see and experience the world around us, to how we employ colour to express ourselves.
Treasures of Asian Art
Selections from the Mr and Mrs John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of the Asia Society, New York
This exhibition demonstrates the great art traditions of Asia through 85 important artworks drawn from the Mr and Mrs John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art.
Spring Flowers, Autumn Grass
Spring Flowers, Autumn Grass presents exquisite works from NGV’s collection of Asian art (Chinese and Japanese), revealing the collection’s depth and richness. The exhibition includes screens, scrolls of paintings and calligraphy, ceramics and lacquer and examples from the 14th to the 21st Century.
Living Together is Easy
Living Together is Easy brings together the diverse practices of six Australian and six Japanese artists. The exhibition seeks connections between regional specificity and cultural identity, global politics and interpersonal relationships, biodiversity and sustainable ecologies, and the natural and constructed environment.
Highlights of the Asian Collection
The NGV has one of the most impressive collections of Asian Art in the country. This display reveals its diverse nature and the interactions of artistic culture and style.
The Art of Zen
From the Asian Collection
This exhibition includes Zen paintings and calligraphies, ceramics, lacquer and a paper robe that explore the Zen Buddhist way of looking at the world. Zen (Chan in Chinese) originated in China in the 6th century. Zen was revolutionary in that it did not rely on the word, Buddhist scriptures, or Buddhist statues for worship. Zen teaching was to be transmitted from mind to mind, and we can attain enlightenment or awakening to our original nature, when we see the unity of all things.
Printemps – Été
Akira Isogawa is one of Australia’s most distinctive and respected contemporary designers. This exhibition focuses on the creative process that Isogawa embarked upon over a five month period in the lead up to the presentation of his spring/summer collection in Paris in October 2004.
Sons of Kings
This exhibition presents 80 paintings and drawings depicting Rajput courtly life from the 17th to the19th centuries. Created in the princely states of Rajasthan, the paintings encapsulate the vitality and sensuality of life at the Maharana’s court.
Focus on Lacquer
Japanese Lacquer at the National Gallery of Victoria
Focus on Lacquer celebrates one of the most highly regarded expressions of Japanese art. The works on display explore the range of lacquer ware produced in Japan from the 14th century to the present. Styles represented include contemporary and historical Negoro lacquer and maki-e lacquer.
Six good reasons to stay at home
Hiraki Sawa video works
Hiraki Sawa’s home is both the backdrop and inspiration for most of the works in Six good reasons to stay at home. In the whimsical world of Sawa’s videos, domestic space becomes a place of wonder, but our voyeuristic inclusion within this world frequently edges towards the surreal.
Contemporary Chinese Australian Art
This exhibition provides a glimpse of the breadth of practice that constitutes contemporary Chinese Australian art. The artists are indicators rather than agents for the state of contemporary Chinese art and their work can be read in several ways, with emphasis on the philosophical, political or aesthetic.
Mountains and Streams
Chinese Paintings from the Asian Collection
China’s magnificent scenery of mountains and streams has inspired Chinese scholars, poets and painters for thousands of years. Drawing on the NGV’s Asian art collection, this exhibition focuses on the period from the 14th century to the present day and examines the worship of mountains as sacred places in China.
Asian resist dyed textiles
Ikat explores the Asian textile tradition by focusing on a particular technique of textile embellishment that is employed throughout the region. Drawn predominantly from the NGV Collection, this exhibition explores a range of motifs and media and the context of Asian ikat textiles and costume.
Contemporary Chinese Photography
Over the last decade, Chinese photography has undergone a remarkable period of transformation and growth. Often reflecting an urgent desire to explore individual and social identity in a time of unprecedented change, a group of Chinese photographers have used their own bodies as the vehicle for creative expression and critique.
Moon in Reflection
The art of Kim Hoa Tram
Moon in Reflection is a journey to spiritual enlightenment and artistic discovery. Featuring works by Kim Hoa Tram in the NGV’s Collection, the exhibition explores the human condition of birth, old age, sickness and death, and themes in Zen philosophy: impermanence, delusion and meditation as a way to spiritual awakening.
The cricket and the dragon
Animals in Asian Art
Aimed at children of all ages, this fun and colourful exhibition explores images of animals – from elephants to insects – from the NGV’s Asian Collection. Featured are works in all media from South East Asia, China, India, Persia and Japan which explore the symbolic and mythological meanings of animals.
Dressed to Rule
Imperial Robes of China
Dressed to Rule exhibits imperial robes of China from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), including robes worn by the Qing Emperor of China and members of the imperial court. The exhibition also features some stunning accessories such as undergarments made of bamboo beads and silk `lotus’ shoes for bound feet.
Five Elements – Water
Master Tetsunori Kawana is an internationally renowned practitioner of contemporary Japanese bamboo sculpture. In Five Elements – Water, Master Kawana transforms the Grollo-Equiset Garden at NGV International with a unique bamboo sculpture of vast physical proportion and lyrical power.
Nineteenth–century Japanese Studio Photography
In the mid 19th century a distinctive style of photography developed in Japan. Shashin (Japanese for ‘photography’) explores this remarkable period where Western and Japanese photographers followed the conventions and subject matter of the famed ukiyo-e woodblock prints to show courtesans, actors and scenes of entertainment.
Pictures of the Floating World
Japanese Prints from the Collection
Pictures of the Floating World (ukiyo-e in Japanese) was the phrase applied to the popular arts of the woodblock prints, illustrated books and paintings that portrayed Japanese urban life in the Edo period of 1615–1868. This exhibition presents more than100 Japanese woodblock prints from the NGV’s Asian art collection.
The Art of Bollywood
Featuring works from pre-independent India to the present day, Cinema India: The Art of Bollywood charts the historical, political and cultural changes experienced by the country, as seen through the eyes of the Bollywood film industry.
Screens have developed as an indispensable element of Japanese architecture and an integral part of Japanese life. Drawn from the NGV’s Asian collection, this exhibition explores the aesthetic and stylistic aspects of the structure and function of the Japanese screen through exquisite examples created between the 17th–19th centuries.
Love and Devotion
Krishna is one of the most popular of the Hindu gods worshipped throughout Asia, in particular India. This exhibition offers both historical and contemporary interpretations of Krishna worship and devotion and explores the narrative of Krisha’s life story through some 70 works in a range of media from across India.
Tea and Zen
Tea and Zen presents the history of tea in China and Japan, exhibiting works that demonstrate its unique cultural aesthetic. Featured are ceramic, lacquer and bamboo tea utensils alongside Zen paintings and calligraphy, creating a contemplative setting evoking the spirit of the ‘Way of Tea’.
Asia in Europe 1620–1840
‘Chinoiserie’ was coined in the 19th century for a decorative style that takes its inspiration from Asian art and design but ultimately reflects European visions of Asia. This exhibition illustrates the development of the style through the NGV’s stunning collection of European and Asian decorative arts, as well as key loans.