To die upon a kiss, 2011, is the second of a trilogy of Murano glass chandeliers by Fred Wilson that examine the history and presence of Africans in Venice. Into the ornate form of the seventeenth-century Venetian chandelier, Wilson has introduced unexpected emotions and narratives. Through its title, which is drawn from Shakespeare’s seventeenth-century tragedy Othello, and in its gradation of colour, the work evokes themes of transformation. The deep black at the bottom of the chandelier transitions to an ethereal clear glass at the top, referencing the dissolution of the body in death. In Wilson’s words: ‘When looking at To die upon a kiss as a completed artwork, I saw my father’s life force in the blackness of the chandelier, draining down from the body as his spirit rose out. My father’s peaceful death occurred around the time of the artwork’s creation. Equally about Othello and my father, it is also about beauty and its uplifting, rejuvenating ability in times of sadness and remembrance. As a makeshift morgue sits outside the hospital near my home, this current pandemic is leaving a long solemn shadow. I believe intelligent thought, words and images (and light!) matter in helping us make it through the gloom’.

NGV Triennial 2020 Playlist

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NGV Triennial | Homily to Country Introduced by Ewan McEoin Triennial conversations | JR / Rivers in decline Badger Bates, Gabrielle Chan, Rachel Strachan and Alan Whyte in conversation with Ewan McEoin Triennial conversations | Revising narratives Claire G. Coleman, Frieda Toranzo Jaeger, Timothy Moore and Scotty So in conversation with Pip Wallis Triennial conversations | Resonant nature Refik Anadol and Dr Tessa Laird in conversation with Simone LeAmon Triennial conversations | Nature as collaborator Talin Hazbar, Elliot Bastianon, Geoff Nees and Hannah Presley in conversation with Myf Doughty Triennial conversations | Oceans on the edge Professor Madeleine van Oppen, Pirjo Haikola and Alex Goad in conversation with Ewan McEoin Triennial conversations | Get real estate Jill Garner, Amy Muir and Michael Bleby in conversation with Ewan McEoin Triennial conversations | Future First Nations Megan Cope, Angela Tiatia and Hannah Presley in conversation with Myles Russell-Cook Triennial conversations | A Dark Horizon Dr. Edward Colless and Professor Larissa Hjorthin in conversation with Dr. Simon Maidment Triennial conversations | House Of Heroines Lara Schnitger in conversation with Pip Wallis Triennial conversations | Quantum memories Refik Anadol in conversation with Simone LeAmon Triennial conversations | Downtime Faye Toogood in conversation with Simone LeAmon Triennial conversations | Crystalline Erez Nevi Pana in conversation with Ewan McEoin Triennial profile | Glenda Nicholls Triennial profile | Diamond Stingily Triennial profile | Liam Young Triennial profile | JR Interview with William Badger Bates Triennial profile | Refik Anadol Triennial profile | Tomoaki Suzuki Triennial profile | Faye Toogood Triennial profile | Alicja Kwade Triennial profile | Fred Wilson Triennial profile | Porky Hefer Triennial profile | Kengo Kuma Installing JR’s Homily to Country NGV Triennial 2020 Preparing for NGV Triennial 2020 Celebrating contemporary art, design and architecture Bringing NGV Triennial 2020 to life Celebrating contemporary art, design and architecture