Installation view of Community Hall at the <em>Melbourne Now </em> exhibition at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne from 24 March – 20 August 2023. Image: Tom Ross

Performance Program

Free entry

The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Fed Square
Community Hall, Ground Level

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In Melbourne Now, dance and performance exist in a space between event and artwork (but a lot can happen in the brackets). This space is a fragment (or a fragment of a fragment, if you’re passing by) felt and fed through a variety of media within a choreography of energetic forces, where the performing body marks out the experience. These four new works, commissioned for the exhibition, are linked by the artists’ desire to welcome the unfixed and orchestrate the tensions of working in a contested space (a gallery that space-shifts) as a time-sensitive experience. In this contested space there is an architectural promise of the theatrical: the Tarkett square intimates the presence of a stage, the open bleachers a place for an audience that may be invited into the work. Even the ‘Program’ of Performance Program suggests a limited run of repeated(ish) events, derived from a set of instructions, a score, a choreography or a learned text, all linked by the impossibility of faithful replication of an original.

The four new commissions reveal dance and performance as art forms with deep roots and a dynamic future in Melbourne. The program includes commissioned works by the collective APHIDS, dancer and choreographer Joel Bray, visual artist Alicia Frankovich, and dancer and choreographer Jo Lloyd. These works are presented across the duration of the exhibition to celebrate the diversity of artists leading (and experimenting) in these fields.

Each work in the program offers a speculation, a forceful and particular querying that only an active, human body in the space can offer. What is commonly described as a ‘live’ work in a gallery space sets off associations with the word livewire, an unpredictable or energetic force. In a sense this unpredictability (the various possibilities of steps and missteps, an audience naturally in flux, the ‘energy’ in the room, the forces at play between players, dancers, onlookers) perfectly describes the ways in which the Performance Program seeks to take up space in Melbourne Now.

Amita Kirpalani, Curator of Contemporary Art, NGV