Ricky SWALLOW<br/>
<em>One nation underground</em> 2007 <!-- (recto - parts a to j) --><br />

watercolour on 10 sheets of paper<br />
(a-j) 35.0 x 28.0 cm (framed) (each)<br />
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne<br />
Purchased, Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2008<br />
2008.567.a-j<br />
© Ricky Swallow, courtesy Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney
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One nation underground 2007
Media Release • 22 Sep 09

Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur

“I’ve always been interested in how an object can be remembered and how that memory can be sustained and directed sculpturally, pulling things in and out of time, passing objects through the studio as a kind of filter returning them as new forms”
Ricky Swallow in Goth: Reality of the Departed World, Yokohama: Yokohama Museum of Art, 2007

A new exhibition featuring the work of internationally renowned Australian artist Ricky Swallow will open at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia on 16 October 2009.

Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur is the artist’s first major exhibition in Australia since 2006. This exhibition will feature several of the artist’s well‐known intricately detailed, carved wooden sculptures as well as a range of new sculptural works in wood, bronze and plaster. The exhibition will also showcase two large groups of watercolours, an aspect of Swallow’s practice that is not as well known as his trademark works.

Salad days (2005) and Killing time (2003‐04), which were featured in the 2005 Venice Biennale and are considered Swallow icons, will strike a familiar chord with Melbourne audiences.

Sculptures completed over the past year include bronze balloons on which bronze barnacles seamlessly cling (Caravan, 2008); a series of cast bronze archery targets (Bowman’s Record, 2008) that look like desecrated minimalist paintings; and carved wooden sculpture of a human skull inside what looks like a paper bag (Fig 1, 2008).

A highlight of the show will be Swallow’s watercolour, One Nation Underground (2007), recently acquired by the NGV. The work presents a collection of images based on 1960s musicians including Tim Buckley, Denny Doherty, Brian Jones and John Phillips.

Alex Baker, Senior Curator, Contemporary Art, NGV said the works in this exhibition explore the themes of life and death, time and its passing, mortality and immortality.
“Swallow’s art investigates how memory is distilled within the objects of daily life. His work addresses the fundamental issues that lie at the core of who we are, reminding us of our deep symbiotic relationship to the stuff of everyday life.”

“The exhibition’s title The Bricoleur refers to the kind of activities performed by a handyman or tinkerer, someone who makes creative use of whatever might be at hand. The Bricoleur is also the title of one of the sculptures in the exhibition, which depicts a forlorn houseplant with a sneaker wedged between its branches,” said Dr Baker.

Gerard Vaughan, Director, NGV, said this exhibition reinforces the NGV’s commitment to exhibiting and collecting world‐class contemporary art.

“The NGV has enjoyed a long and successful relationship with Ricky Swallow, exhibiting and acquiring a number of his works over the years. His detailed and exquisitely crafted replicas of commonplace objects never fail to inspire visitors to the Gallery.”

Ricky Swallow was born in Victoria in 1974 and currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. His career has enjoyed a meteoric rise since winning the NGV’s prestigious Contempora5 art prize in 1999. Since then, Swallow has exhibited in the UK, Europe and the United States, and represented Australia at
the 2005 Venice Biennale.

Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur will be on display from 16 October 2009 until 28 February 2010 at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia. Open 10am to 5pm, closed Mondays. Admission fees apply: Adult $10.00 / Concession $7.00 / Family $25.00 / Children $5.00.

Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur is part of the Macquarie Group Series. The Macquarie Group Series comprises five exhibitions celebrating some of Australia’s leading contemporary sculptors and designers.

Principal Sponsor: Macquarie Group
Support Sponsor: JCDecaux