Bendigo Art Gallery

Celebrating 130 Years

The Bendigo Art Gallery has a fabulous collection going back 130 years.

And what better way to show this off then to completely re-hang all their galleries with a total mix of works; not in chronological order but to mix them up completely by themes with new works alongside historical and everything in between.

And it worked. It works beautifully. The curators for this re-hang took risks and it paid off wonderfully.

This is an intelligent, innovative and creative hang that you are to sure to enjoy. BUT – allow the time to enjoy. It took us just over one and half hours and we would love to return again–but as we are based in Canberra that may not happen.

This would have to be one of the most important exhibitions of the year. The curators have done the City of Bendigo (Council and people) proud. This is a really impressive effort. They are to be congratulated for the concept and the brilliant way in which they have delivered the re-hang over so many gallery spaces (10 or more??)

You are not to miss this exhibition. It is open till 28th May 2017.

The images above are a selection from the first gallery – there so much more!

Here’s the rap from the gallery wall – it tells to you the background:

Collective Vision:130 Years marks the 130th anniversary of Bendigo Art Gallery. To celebrate the occasion this extensive exhibition draws exclusively from our renowned collection and features a thematic display of historic, contemporary, curious, significant and much-loved favourites.

Founded in 1887, the Gallery was officially launched in the refurbished Volunteer Rifle Brigade orderly rooms in 1890. Two new courts were added eight years later, designed in the grand European tradition with polished wood floors and ornate plaster arches and cornices. Since then, two contemporary wings have also been added, including a major extension in 2014, which more than doubled the Gallery’s exhibition space.

Today, Bendigo Art Gallery is Australia’s largest regional Gallery, known for delivering an ambitious exhibition program as well as significant cultural and economic benefits for the city. Considering 130 years of collecting in the context of social, artistic and community change as well as the evolution of the Gallery itself, this exhibition showcases the immense variety of items acquired, purchased and donated throughout the Gallery’s long history.

Visitors will see new acquisitions alongside some of the first ever works acquired by the founders of the Gallery in 1887, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to acquiring works of national and international significance by Australia’s leading artists.

and that’s a few from the second room…

What makes this curatorial hang brilliant is that so many times you see connections between works that are next to each other or at times even as you can see down the room in the corner of your eye – or even behind you when you turn around. There is very much an intelligence at work with this hang. It is a real pleasure to engage with the works to enjoy the connections that have been set up across times and media.

The work below is by Brook Andrew*. Then you turned around – and look what greets you including a little surprise around the corner (third image down).

and there is so much more. I have images of most of them but here’s a sample. You have to visit to not only see the works but to enjoy the context in which each work is to be seen. It is worth it – make the trip soon.

and there’s more – and I mean so much more that I have not shown here.

I have had a quick look at the catalogue – it is OK but not great. So make sure you get around the exhibition once or twice.

We had some breakfast outside in the outside cafe (breakfast finishes at 11.30) and then came back for a break and a snack to talk about the fun we had with this exhibition. Yes – the visual arts, well curated exhibitions, can be so enjoyable.

So yes – this is one exhibition that lovers of visual arts from all periods of Australia will enjoy – and photography is well represented. Good to see!

Well done Bendigo and to all concerned. Reminder – the exhibition is on till 28th May 2017.


* my comment about Brook Andrew?

I have mixed feelings about the crowded Brook Andrew survey exhibition at the NGV . Many of his works are better viewed alone or in series. The work here at Bendigo backs that thought – it would have been lost in that NGV exhibition.

One thought on “Bendigo Art Gallery”

  1. How interesting to place Polixeni’s images in the context of the small early 19th Century portraits, which I would usually ignore ! Thanks we will visit this exhibition as soon as possible.

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