back to Media Releases
Ken Unsworth
born Australia 1931
Media Release • 16 Aug 18

Ken Unsworth: Truly, Madly

14 September 2018 – 17 February 2019 | The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia | FREE

Ken Unsworth’s dynamic and gravity-defying sculptural installations, featuring resin cast skeletons, grand pianos and saw blades, will be taking over the foyer spaces at NGV Australia in his first major Melbourne sculpture exhibition.

Ranging from early sculptural works from the 1960s through to new works that have been created especially for this exhibition, Ken Unsworth: Truly, Madly highlights some of the key works from the more than fifty-year career of Melbourne born, Sydney-based sculptural artist Ken Unsworth. Working intuitively in combining juxtaposing elements, Unsworth references his personal experiences of love and death to create eye-catching installations that spark the viewer’s curiosity.

Highlights of the exhibition include, When the angel of the lord came down, which features a grand piano and pays homage to Unsworth’s wife, who was a concert pianist. A further highlight, Mind games, featuring two skeletons seated at a table, references the game of life and death and Unsworth’s fascination with the human body.

Never-before-seen works include Alphaville, an interactive display that features a montage of subliminal city sounds, including barking dogs, crying babies and prayer rituals, and nearly 5m high buildings that visitors can move amongst. A further new work, When snowflakes turn to stone, features a larger-than-life resin-cast skeleton surrounded by suspended stones and highlights Unsworth’s reoccurring exploration of the human body.

Tony Ellwood AM, Director, NGV said ‘Featuring works that span across Ken’s five-decade career, the exhibition highlights his ingenious ability to create interactive installations that will spark visitor curiosity. The installations feature meticulously arranged objects that often seem to defy gravity, and we hope visitors to the gallery will enjoy the opportunity to experience them here in Melbourne for the first time.’

Unsworth was Australia’s first visual artist to be awarded the Australian Creative Fellowship by Prime Minister Paul Keating in 1989, and in the same year was also honoured with a Member of The Order of Australia. Growing up in Melbourne, Unsworth developed a passion for AFL football and trams before moving on to study architecture and art teaching. After teaching high school art, he then went on to become involved in the Australian art scene, exhibiting in the 1976 Sydney Biennale and multiple Australian Sculptural Triennials, along with representing Australia in international Biennales in Paris, Venice and Istanbul. Unsworth has also featured in major international exhibitions, including ‘Magiciens de la Terre’, which was curated by Jean-Hubert Martin at The Pompidou Centre in 1989.

Ken Unsworth: Truly, Madly is on display 14 September 2018 – 17 February 2019 at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square. Entry is FREE. Further information is available from the NGV website: NGV.MELBOURNE

Download media release