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Media Release • 17 Apr 14

Art turned on its head for children at the NGV with Pastello: Draw Act by design studio Mathery

The art of drawing will be turned on its head this May when the National Gallery of Victoria’s Children’s Gallery is given over to the creative and absurdist talents of Melbourne-based Italian design duo Erika Zorzi and Matteo Sangalli of Mathery Studio. Creating dedicated spaces that subvert the act of drawing, children will be invited to upend themselves, draw with crayon embellished shoes, use cutlery to leave their marks on tables and wear a crayon-clad helmet and let their heads do the drawing.

NGV Director Tony Ellwood says, “These immersive spaces will encourage an adventurous and unusual engagement for children to reconsider what art can be. Expect the surprising, eccentric and unusual in this new space for children. Pastello: Draw Act is central to the Gallery’s reinvigorated commitment to children’s programming, enabling children to fully engage with the artistic process in exciting and innovative ways. It’s also part of our ambition to showcase the very best in contemporary design from Melbourne and beyond. We are fortunate that these talented Italian designers have chosen to spend time in Melbourne; the NGV and the city will benefit from their unique aesthetic and idiosyncratic approach to the design process.”

Erika and Matteo describe the experience as something that will help children expand their understanding of the drawing process, saying, “The idea of drawing with other parts of your body, on walls and on floors, will have immense appeal to children and adults alike. We wanted to create a fun, memorable and playful space that would encourage children to think outside the box to reconsider the act of drawing.”

Space and architectural surfaces are part of the physical and creative fun. Pastello: Draw Act embraces interior architecture, graphic design, product design, furnishing and film in clever and unexpected ways where children will be prompted to draw in odd and quirky ways; through sport, performance and random bodily expression, using melted crayons as re-imagined drawing contraptions.

NGV Consulting Curator of Design Ewan McEoin says that non-tradition and the reinterpretation of the everyday underpin much of what Mathery does.

“Their work is full of humour, pragmatism and a hint of the absurd. Children will love their anarchic approach to the simple act of drawing. They can be vigorous or considered in how they approach the process and, most importantly, every child will leave their own mark.

“Erika and Matteo demonstrate significant emerging talent, possessing a unique aesthetic and theoretical design process. This young duo travelled to Australia from Milan to put themselves in a completely different situation and step out of their comfort zones. After backpacking and fruit-picking across the country, they arrived in Melbourne in their campervan and have quickly established links with the local design community, working temporarily from their flat in Brunswick and studio space at the NGV,” Mr McEoin said.

Mathery has been invited ‘in-house’ to work collaboratively on their first large-scale spatial project, Pastello: Draw Act, with the NGV curatorial and design teams.

Pastello: Draw Act is on display in the Children’s Gallery at NGV International from 10 May to 31 August. Open daily, 10am-5pm, closed Tuesday 13 May. Free entry. 


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