Australia’s 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale exhibition will be presented for the first time in Australia at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in August.
The Pool: Architecture, Culture and Identity by Isabelle Toland and Amelia Holiday of Aileen Sage Architects with Michelle Tabet of consultancy company Left Banks Co., was originally commissioned by the Australian Institute of Architects and displayed in the Denton Corker Marshall-designed Australian Pavilion.
The original installation featured a 60-square-metre pool, filled with water 30 centimetres deep, and the voices of eight prominent Australians discussing their relationship with pools, piped into the pavilion.
Barracuda author Christos Tsiolkas described the sensuality of water, and the looks from men in the showers, as leading to a sexual life. Olympian Ian Thorpe described the pool as a sensor, feeding information to his body and acting as a collaborator in his competitive efforts, while environmentalist Tim Flannery, community organizer Hetti Perkins and musician Paul Kelly, among others, also lent their voices to the project.
In an interview with Rory Hyde for Architecture Australia, Tabet said the inclusion of these voices helped make the installation accessible to a broad audience.
“We took this approach because storytelling is also about engaging a non-architectural audience,” she said. “It’s a way of talking about architecture that isn’t embedded in that specialty.”
In her review of the original exhibition for Architecture Australia, which can be read here, Fiona Nixon said, “In a city of spectacle, The Pool installation is rather sensational.”
An 11-metre-long version of The Pool will be installed at the National Gallery of Victoria along with timber decking and pool lounge chairs. The audio excerpts of the eight prominent Australians will be presented in eight “lanes” within the space.
NGV director Tony Ellwood said, “Whether natural or manmade, inland or coastal, pools are undeniably linked to the Australian national psyche. We encourage visitors to dangle their feet in the water or relax poolside as they reflect on the idea of the pool as a place of cultural exchange, socializing, competition and reminiscence.”
The Pool will be on display at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia from 18 August to February 2018.