Yesterday it was announced that the Lyon Housemuseum in Melbourne’s leafy suburb of Kew would undergo a major expansion with the $14.5 million project financed by the benefactors – the Lyon family. Opening in mid-2018, the new public museum will offer spaces for contemporary art, design and architecture as well as exhibitions from local and international artists.
Speaking at the unveiling, Corbett Lyon, collector, architect, and owner of Lyon Housemuseum, emphasised his interest in experimental approaches to presenting and viewing art. “Although a small crucible, our museum’s ambitions are great, and our intentions adventurous,” he said.
And in a fitting gesture, an unconventional foundation stone of sorts was laid. Stepping out of the Housemuseum on top of the concrete that forms the footprint of the new building – its newest artwork was revealed. Briefly transforming the immense space is a 44 x 20m artwork by Australian artist Reko Rennie, comprised of a camouflage pattern of vibrant pinks, green, electric blue and black. Rennie draws on his Kamilaroi heritage and the urban environment to energise and subvert ideas of Aboriginal identity. The artist described the use of camouflage print as a way to “amplify, rather than conceal” his identity. Walking over the painting while looking at the brick suburban facades on Cotham Road, one cannot avoid being struck (and excited) by the contradiction.
Aptly titled VISIBLE INVISBLE, 2017, the artwork will be eventually hidden by the building with only a small patch exposed – a nod to the ‘Lost Leonardo’ in Florence, according to Lyon. For a short time it will be visible from the street and by booking a tour.
If you are unfamiliar with Melbourne’s Lyon Housemuseum – it’s a startling combination of private family residence and private museum, open to the public by bookings only. Two sweeping floors combine cutting edge architecture and a collection of over 350 artworks by leading of Australian contemporary artists. Particularly memorable is the dining room clad in Howard Arkley’s dizzying domestic interiors, Polly Borland’s glittery photograph, Her Majesty, The Queen, Elizabeth II (gold), 2001, and a comprehensive collection of Callum Morton’s architectural models and paintings.
217 – 219 Cotham Road, Kew