Robot dogs, tapestry, mysticism, and international stars coming to NGV Triennial 2023


From Agnieszka Pilat’s robot dogs to works by David Shrigley, Tracey Emin and Yoko Ono (to name just a few), NGV Triennial will be returning to Melbourne this December, with the exhibition featuring over 100 artists from 30 countries.

The Triennial is a free, summer exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria that aims to capture a global snapshot of contemporary practices—and this is perfectly surmised in Polish-born Agnieszka Pilat’s Boston Dynamics robot dogs, which will be trained to paint autonomously. Over the four months of the Triennial, the dogs will create their own artwork. It’s a chance to potentially witness history in action: for Pilat, these paintings may one day exist as the first examples of AI robotic artworks.

Meanwhile avant-garde pioneer Yoko Ono will be showing a large-scale text work, drawing upon her Instruction Pieces and her 60 years of public and performative works.

The NGV will also present recently acquired work by Tracey Emin (who’s been in art headlines recently for her newly established art school in the UK). While Emin’s autobiographical practice stems across multiple forms, the Triennial will feature a five-metre-high text-based neon light installation, as well as paintings that deal with emotion in their rawest forms; anguish and elation.

Humour and absurdity enter with UK artist David Shrigley’s sculpture, Really Good, 2016, which is a seven-metre-high thumbs-up. While partly an ironic gesture, the classic ‘thumbs up’ hand signal is also intended by Shrigley to be a show of optimism in volatile times.

Other international artists include Sheila Hicks (USA), Petrit Halilaj (Kosovo), Hoda Afshar (Iran), Thomas J Price (UK), Fernando Laposse (Mexico), Azuma Makoto (Japan), Flora Yukhnovich (UK), Joyce Ho (Taiwan), Shakuntala Kulkarni (India), SMACK (Netherlands), Yinka Shonibare (UK) and Tao Hui (China), as well as Paris haute couture house Schiaparelli.

With Australian artists like Illuwanti Ken, Heather B. Swann, Smac McCreanor and Betty Muffler also in the mix, NGV director Tony Ellwood explains that this year’s Triennial is centred on presenting a “compelling snapshot of the world as it is, while also asking how we would like it to be”.

As he explains, “In the three years since the last NGV Triennial, the world has experienced a great many structural shifts, including a global pandemic. Through the work of more than 100 artists, designers, architects and collectives from Australia and around the world, the NGV Triennial offers a powerful insight into the ideas and concerns empowering creative practice in 2023.”

NGV Triennial 2023
NGV International
3 December 2023—7 April 2024

News Words by Art Guide Australia