Continuing the National Gallery of Victoria’s engagement with contemporary art and design from China, SO – IL: Viewing China presents a large group of porcelain items from the NGV Collection within a vibrant architectural display designed by ground-breaking architecture practice SO – IL (China/USA). The project is displayed within Federation Court at NGV International for the opening of Melbourne Design Week in March 2019.
SO – IL (Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu) is a New York based architectural design firm established in 2008 by Chinese architect Jing Liu and Dutch architect Florian Idenburg. Acclaimed for its innovative use of materials, the firm won the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program in 2010 and designed the inaugural venue of the Frieze Art Fair in New York City, as well as the award-winning Kukje Gallery in Seoul. SO – IL were recently announced as the architects of the public spaces in Melbourne’s redeveloped arts precinct in collaboration with Australian practice Hassell. SO – IL: Viewing China is a key feature of the NGV’s display of Chinese contemporary art and design.
Comprising a large group of geometrically shaped vitrines constructed from brightly coloured dichroic acrylic, SO – IL’s design recontextualises and draws into focus a broad selection of white porcelain objects from the NGV’s Decorative Arts Collection, ranging from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The display creates a unique dialogue between historical artefacts and contemporary design, as the architects explain:
‘Through the organisation of colour, form and material, we seek to reduce the object-ness of the individual pieces … It is about a transition from object to experience, and the power of architecture to act as a mediator in that process.’
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Ground Level, Federation Court