Arts Review: Nite Art - Melbourne CBD (23.07.15)

The city of Melbourne is known for its cultural diversity and love for the arts, so when the opportunity to review ‘Nite Art’ came along, I jumped at the chance to check out this wonderful festival. Now in its third year, the event boasts more than 75 artists who will display their art at 30 sites across 3 precincts.

With a route in mind and a multitude of work that I was looking forward to seeing, we made our way to the Karen Woodbury gallery for the VIP opening of the event. Champagne flowed freely and delicious canapés made their way around the crowd. The organisers of the event gave some inspired speeches and thanked everyone in attendance, their obvious passion was the perfect beginning to what would be a beautiful night.

We also got a chance to peruse the works of Philip Wolfhagen who had his exhibition ‘Other Worlds’ on display at the gallery. I found his work to be quite soothing and the use of earthy neutral tones quite contemplative. The scale of the work was also quite grand, and it had the beautiful quality of taking on a different look depending which angle you were viewing it at. On display until the 1st of August, I would definitely recommend checking it out.

Next on our adventure was ‘Fly by Night’ at Hamer Hall. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this stop, and had only the rough idea that we were getting a rather mysterious tour through the venue. When we got their however, my preconceived notions were shattered as we were told to hand over our phones in exchange for a set of headphones attached to an iPhone. We were then told to stand in a particular spot and follow the instructions on our phones, going off on our own adventure one by one.

I can honestly say this was one of the best art interactions I have ever experienced. I just loved the whole notion of it. It was so incredibly intimate, whilst at the same time immersing you into this beautiful fantasy. There were quite a few surprises along the way as well which were supremely entertaining. By far the highlight of my night, and a great round of applause to the director Melinda Hetzel and performers Ingrid Weisfelt, Dan Witton, and Geoff Dunstan.

From there we made our way to Melbourne Uni where there was a hub of activity. We called into the Light Speculation exhibit presented by the Carlton Connect Initiative, where various installations hypnotised us with their visual technique and manipulations. We walked through the Grainger Museum and learnt about the great man himself, before heading to The Dax Centre where we viewed some incredible work in response to The Black Saturday bush fires. Another highlight of the evening was a behind the scenes tour of The Harry Brookes Allen Museum where we got to handle actual human specimens.

I marvelled at the fact I was holding a real human heart in my hand, whilst surveying brains and other bodily organs gently floating in formaldehyde. We were also lucky enough to view the beautifully mysterious skeletal remains of what doctors think is a person with Sirenomelia, also known as Mermaid Syndrome. It was so interesting to hear the back story of this historic curiosity.

Light Speculation - Rob Turney

We concluded the evening on a high, excited about all the wonderful art we had been lucky enough to see throughout the evening. ‘Nite Art’ is such an incredible event and a reminder of how great our beautiful city is, and of the incredible artists that make Australia proud with their vast talents. I would thoroughly recommend this event to anyone with an adventurous spirit and a love for the unknown.

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