Thursday, 22 Feb 2024

Air of universality: 2023 NGV Commission considers omnipresent element

A 14-metre-tall inflatable ball has been newly unveiled in the garden of the National Gallery of Victoria.


Air of universality: 2023 NGV Commission considers omnipresent element

A 14-metre-tall inflatable ball has been newly unveiled in the garden of the National Gallery of Victoria.

Designed by Nic Brunsdon and Eness, This is air, is the 2023 edition of the NGV's annual architecture commission, which challenges architect-led teams to create a site-specific temporary installation.

The design competition for the 2023 commission asked entrants to consider the themes of the NGV Triennial: Magic, Matter and Memory.

Brunsdon's winning entry responds conceptually to "matter" by capturing one of the most universal and primal elements on Earth: air.

The installation uses air as a building material and gives form to the invisible.

"Air is a universal common link that is [among] the defining features of life," Brunsdon said. "The air we breathe, this thing that connects us. It can give us life, but it can also harm us."

Conceived at the tail-end of a pandemic respiratory virus, the concept is, in part, a distillation of the collective anxiety about invisible dangers in the air.

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