Botanical pavilion, 2020, is a collaboration between Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and Australian artist Geoff Nees. The structure is a circular pavilion made in the Japanese tradition of wooden architecture, where pieces interlock, held by tension and gravity. The interior of this installation is lined with tiles of timber collected from trees felled or removed during the Millennium Drought (1996–2010) at Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens. Some of the trees used within predate European colonisation, while others signal the evolution of the gardens as a site of scientific research and botanical classification. Importantly, the botanical species used for Botanical pavilion are colour coded, rather than following any taxonomic order. By prioritising natural phenomena over scientific order, the designers call into question the reductive nature of science during the colonial era – a mindset at odds with many Indigenous cultural beliefs and knowledge systems. Botanical pavilion offers a site for contemplation, reminding us of our relationships to nature and one another. As a sensory experience, Botanical pavilion is also a walkway through which to approach and contemplate the philosophical nature of South Korean artist Lee Ufan’s painting Dialogue, 2017.

NGV Triennial 2020 Playlist

See all playlists
JR’s Homily to Country With NGV’s Senior Curator of Contemporary Design & Architecture In conversation: Rivers in Decline Badger Bates, Gabrielle Chan, Rachel Strachan and Alan Whyte in conversation with Ewan McEoin In conversation: Revising Narratives Claire G. Coleman, Frieda Toranzo Jaeger, Timothy Moore and Scotty So in conversation with Pip Wallis In conversation: Resonant Nature Refik Anadol and Dr Tessa Laird in conversation with Simone LeAmon In conversation: Nature as Collaborator Talin Hazbar, Elliot Bastianon, Geoff Nees and Hannah Presley in conversation with Myf Doughty In conversation: Oceans on the Edge Professor Madeleine van Oppen, Pirjo Haikola and Alex Goad in conversation with Ewan McEoin In conversation: Get Real Estate Jill Garner, Amy Muir and Michael Bleby in conversation with Ewan McEoin In conversation: Future First Nations Megan Cope, Angela Tiatia and Hannah Presley in conversation with Myles Russell-Cook In conversation: A Dark Horizon Dr. Edward Colless and Professor Larissa Hjorthin in conversation with Dr. Simon Maidment In conversation: House Of Heroines Lara Schnitger in conversation with Pip Wallis In conversation: Nature Recoded Refik Anadol in conversation with Simone LeAmon In conversation: The Whole is Worth More Than the Sum of its Parts Faye Toogood in conversation with Simone LeAmon In conversation: Crystalline Erez Nevi Pana In Conversation with Ewan McEoin Interview: Glenda Nicholls Interview: Diamond Stingily Interview: Liam Young Triennial | JR Interview with William Badger Bates Interview: Refik Anadol Interview: Tomoaki Suzuki Interview Interview: Faye Toogood Interview Interview: Alicja Kwade Interview: Fred Wilson Interview: Porky Hefer Interview: 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