NGV Triennial

Fallen Fruit
Natural History



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For Natural History 2020, David Allen Burns and Austin Young / Fallen Fruit created an immersive installation artwork that utilises photographs of Australian flora and selected artworks from the NGV permanent collection to respond to history and the environment. The artwork is a triptych composed of asynchronous repeat patterns printed onto fabric wall coverings. Wrapping the NGV’s 16th and 17th Century Gallery, the wall coverings incorporate photographs of plants, fruits and flowers made by the artists during a research trip to Melbourne in early 2020. The trip included visits to Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne Gardens, the Collingwood Children’s Farm and surrounding neighbourhoods. The wall coverings are presented alongside NGV Collection works portraying issues of colonialism, the natural world, and narrative depictions of religion and the supernatural, with the artists selecting and re-organising the works to form contemporary perspectives on race, class and gender. A joint statement by Fallen Fruit notes: ‘As artists, we are interested in how people, plants, and animals are represented in various natural settings, landscapes, and gardens. By drawing from the NGV Collection, the immersive artwork also becomes a story about the formation of colonial Australia itself, and how people and plants from other places have naturalised within the Indigenous landscape.’

Fallen Fruit, an art project consisting of artists David Allen Burns and Austin Young, began by creating maps of public fruit: the fruit trees growing on or over public property. The duo’s work includes photographic portraits, experimental documentary videos and site-specific installation artworks. Using fruit – plus public spaces and public archives – as materials for interrogating the familiar, Fallen Fruit investigates interstitial urban spaces, bodies of knowledge and new forms of citizenship. From protests to proposals for utopian shared spaces, Fallen Fruit’s work aims to reconfigure the relationship of sharing and explore understandings of what is considered both public and private. Fallen Fruit was originally conceived by David Burns, Matias Viegener and Austin Young. Since 2013, Burns and Young have continued the collaboration.