Level 1, Asian Art temporary exhibitions
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Botanical pavilion, 2020, is a collaboration between Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and Australian artist Geoff Nees. The structure is a circular pavilion made in the Japanese tradition of wooden architecture, where pieces interlock, held by tension and gravity. The interior of this installation is lined with tiles of timber collected from trees felled or removed during the Millennium Drought (1966–2010) at Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens. Some of the trees used within predate European colonisation, while others signal the evolution of the gardens as a site of scientific research and botanical classification. Importantly, the botanical species used for Botanical pavilion are colour coded, rather than following any taxonomic order. By prioritising natural phenomena over scientific order, the designers call into question the reductive nature of science during the colonial era – a mindset at odds with many Indigenous cultural beliefs and knowledge systems. Botanical pavilion offers a site for contemplation, reminding us of our relationships to nature and one another. As a sensory experience, Botanical pavilion is also a walkway through which to approach and contemplate the philosophical nature of South Korean artist Lee Ufan’s painting Dialogue, 2017.
The NGV warmly thanks Triennial Major Supporters Connie Kimberley & Craig Kimberley OAM for their support.
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