vas spirituale / a melisma by Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1989-1992, 1994-95, 1999)
Michael Graf

This multi-imaged work was conceived and executed in a time before numberless images could be summoned with a few keystrokes. The images themselves were often found in little read art books and journals – products of curiosity and private research from a period when images and their ownership were less contested than today.

Made of painted canvas panels, the work is organised into eighteen sections that reference the eighteen divisions of the musical scale as theorised by the French Baroque composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704) – each musical note being assigned a specific emotional effect.

The other key reference for the project’s structure is the late Renaissance memory theatre of Giulio Camillo (c.1480-1544). Based on the format of an antique theatre, Camillo organised tiers of arcane images that synthesised all of the knowledge about the world. In addition, the resonant vases that were built into the fabric of ancient theatres to aid acoustics are a further motif in the work.

Executed between 1989 and 1992 in Melbourne, Edinburgh and Italy, vas spirituale / a melisma by Marc-Antoine Charpentier has not been previously exhibited in its entirety. Significant changes to the structure of the work were undertaken in 1994-95 and 1999.

Michael Graf (b.1961) attended The Victorian College of the Arts in 1980-81. His curated projects include Vasari Revisited: A Kunstkammer in Melbourne at 200 Gertrude Street in 1988, On the Ashes of the Stars: Stéphane Mallarmé – a centenary celebration at Monash University Gallery in 1998, and Transmissions: Archiving HIV/AIDS in Melbourne, 1979-2014, co-curated with Russell Walsh at The George Paton Gallery in 2014.

Two items on loan from Edinburgh Public Library to the artist since 1989. Digital image, 2018




An Exhibition in Four Acts: Act 1

Bryce Anderson, Victoria Ansell, Nicholas Archer, Lauren Brown, Angela Chauvin, James Cooper, William Hawkins, Nicholas Mullaly, Ellen Sayers and Lalita Sherwell
Curated by Kara Elizabeth Rodski, Maria Litvinova and Jin Zhao. Mentor, Chris Bond

An exhibition in Four Acts is a program that offers students from Honours in the School of Art at The Victorian College of the Arts, the opportunity to partner with students from The Curatorship Program at the School of Culture and Communication. Each Act presents one of four curatorial projects being exhibited at the VCA Artspace and the George Paton Gallery. An exhibition in Four Acts will be developed through studio visits, a curatorial workshop, and a mentorship process that underpins the evolution of each Acts’ final outcome. This program is supported by ACP Projects, Arts Programs UMSU and The University of Melbourne.


15-24 AUGUST

An Exhibition in Four Acts: Act 4
Moorina Bonini, Matilda Davis, Liam Denny, Carmen Keiso, David Lowe, Kari McInneny-Rae, Simone Nelson, Ellinor Pelz, Lorna Quinn and Alexandar Ragg
Curated by Wendy Downs and Kelly Yoon. Mentor, Bridie Lunney

Click PDF below to see the first set of documentation from Act 4.

Act 4 Fragments Friday 17 August 2018



Meeting Place
Michael Sandford

Meeting Place visualises human interaction with congregational space. These spaces are identified as ones in which people come together in order to address their needs, vulnerabilities or desires. Whether in the form of church, community centre, hospital – these spaces provide a service to those who seek them.

Taking the form of a series of interrelated in-situ light sculptures; this exhibition forms connections to a selection of congregational spaces. These connections are established through form and time. Each sculpture is formed in the shape and scale of a window that exists in the congregational space to which it is linked. These forms are moulded into the walls of the gallery so as to appear native to their physical location. Each window becomes illuminated at times in which its represented space is active.

Meeting Place forms a site from which empathetic connections may be blindly established. In
doing so, the function of its own space is called into question.

Michael Sandford is a young artist currently studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Victorian College of the Arts. ‘Meeting Place’ represents his first solo exhibition. Recently, Michael has been a finalist in the Georges River and Blacktown City art prizes.

Michael Sandford, Meeting Place. Digital image, 2018


Nothing Ends or Begins
Marcelle Bradbeer, Jade Crumpler, Genevieve Douglas-Byrnes and Caitlin O’Grady
Curated by Sophie Prince

Nothing Ends or Begins brings into focus man’s position within the climate crisis. Through the work of four Melbourne-based artists; Marcelle Bradbeer, Jade Crumpler, Genevieve Douglas-Byrnes and Caitlin O’Grady, the exhibition invites contemplation upon the kind of relationship one can have with nature. Each artist’s work speaks in its own way of the inextricable relationship between people and nature, and subsequently alludes to the personal repercussions of exploiting this connection.

The stylistic and material scope of Nothing Ends or Begins, which includes video, photography, sculpture and installation breaks down the conceptual barriers between the ‘natural’ and the ‘man-made’. Marcelle’s photographic series, Natural Contours represents visual synergies between the forms of the environment and the body. Whilst the sculptural works of Caitlin O’Grady explore the external and internal makeup of humanity by virtue of revealing the composition of nature. The parameters of compositional connection are unfettered in Genevieve’s video work Fractal 1.1, as well as her sculpture Subtract that demonstrates the bodies existence within the cycle of life at large.

The references to nature’s universal perseverance are in dialogue with several works that illustrate the ramifications of abusing the environment that gives us life. Jade Crumpler’s sculptures juxtapose artificial against organic materials to exemplify the contamination of once pristine oceans. Similarly, Marcelle’s photographs of toxic objects in nature brings the viewer face to face with the waste we thought no longer affected us. The message that the fate of nature is not discrete from our own, renders the implications of this damage as ultimately self-destructive.

Art, advocacy and awareness as agents of change

With panelists: Marcelle Bradbeer, participating artist in Nothing Ends or Begins; Ellie Michaelides, Science Engagement Coordinator, the Science Gallery Melbourne and Communications Manager, Remember The Wild.

Image: Marcelle Bradbeer, Tyre on Pink Lake. Archival Inkjet print, 2016



Small Rooms
Louis Klee, Jack Palmer and Eitan Ritz

Small Rooms is a new collaborative project for the George Paton Gallery by Louis Klee, Jack Palmer, and Eitan Ritz.

The work is a raw exposé of the body as process: its potential for thought, action, and movement; its capacity for proprioception and interoception; its situatedness within both an abstract space and a historically contingent landscape.

Taking our cues from the body itself, the impetus of our practice are those intuitions that arise from simply being together. We are excited by the spontaneous, haphazard, and ludic. Small Rooms, then, not only candidly captures a moment in time in our collaboration but playfully invites the viewer to take part.

Jack Palmer is a Melbourne-based artist, musician, and composer. His work seeks to act as a bridge to hidden psychological and visceral states. Louis Klee is a writer, essayist, and poet. His poem ‘Sentence to Lilacs’ co-won the Peter Porter Prize in 2017. Eitan Ritz is an artist interested in the body as a site of congealment. He has exhibited work recently at c3 Gallery in Abbotsford and undertaken a residency at the EWMN Centre in Israel.

IMAGE: Louis Klee, Jack Palmer and Eitan Ritz, Small Rooms. Digital image, 2018


Nico Reddaway, Phil Soliman, Amie Anderson, Jade Burstall, Natalya Maller, Rose Staff, Maya Sollier, Vera Jasevski and Giordano Biondi
Curated by Nico Reddaway

“Exhibit the goods and people will want to buy the rest of the product.”

Using our body parts as our own personal propaganda? As testaments to our courage under pain? As proclamations of power? This group exhibition deals with ideas surrounding Identity and that Strong (TM) branded version of ourselves that we feel we have to present to the world or the art world in order to hustle (make money) or get a name for ourselves. We have to flex our muscles to get anywhere or anything, to prove our pain, to promise our power. We have to compete and muscle our way in, bumping others out of the way to get to the top. Capitalism has generated a society where people brand themselves as a commodity. But does this branding of ourselves as strong, as powerful, alienate people (and ourselves) through it’s artifice?

The subject of this group exhibition is about the individual artist’s attempt to succeed within capitalism’s stronghold. The question here is not how to use it, but rather how it uses us. Western Culture’s newfound love for all things design sees our experiences, sensations and desires turned into commercial products. Biennial culture, luxury business sponsorship, and the amalgamation of fashion and contemporary art has turned art into a kind of entertainment. What is sold advertised and distributed in the marketplace is now branding itself. That is, artists are no longer required to be creators or designers, but essentially CEOs of their own personal brand.

The commodity then, is not the art, but the artist. This is the environment, political, social, economical that contextualises MU$CLE. Bringing together a varied cohort of artists at different stages in their arts practice, MU$CLE invites the viewer to consider the relationship between contemporary art, contemporary life and capitalism.

Interview with Natalya Maller & Nico Reddaway by Sabine Brix for ArtsHub, about the art hustle in a capitalist society.
“A light-hearted take on the serious business of being an artist.”
(Sabina Brix, 2018)


IMAGE: Phil Solomon, Belly Dancer, 2007.  Still from multi media performance


Melbourne Lure
Stepanka Cervinkova

Melbourne Lure is a photographic series that Stepanka Cervinkova  began developing in early 2017 as a means to bring positive encouragement and hope for better future to the debate on gender inequality and sexual harassment.

It is homage to incredible power and resilience of Melbourne’s alternative culture. The series portrays influential local female, non-binary and transgender musicians of different ages and genres. The series aims to capture the thrilling era of creative and political activity through intimate portraits. Inspiration is heavily drawing on Stepanka’s Eastern-European heritage: Folkore and mythology meet contemporary urban Australiana.

The photographs are shot on digital in highly stylized, predominantly studio environments. Protagonists are depicted as powerful role models, who inspire others to fight, to create, and to be uniquely themselves.

Stepanka studies Master’s of Film and Television Narrative at VCA.

Safe Places : The Artist Talk :  Thursday October 11th 4.00 pm – 5.00 pm
Facilitated by Ruth Saxon (Trocadero), guests include Arts Wellbeing Collective, musician Lara
Kilham-Walter and others. Ruth and guests will discuss artistic practices, mental health strategies  for practicing artists,
and means to make the creative industries a safer and more inclusive space.

Stepanka Cervinkova, Lara. Photographic print, 2017


Grey Voices: Female  Identity and Culture
Jacinta Keefe, Yumemi Hiraki, Kelly Yoon & Yesol Ma
Curated by Jacinta Keefe and Kelly Yoon and Tahney Fosdike

Grey Voices is a group collaboration that presents personal narratives of artists from Indigenous, Asian and immigrant backgrounds  to explore the subjectivity of gender identities in different socio-cultural contexts. In the recognition of the absence of cultural understanding within a large feminist discourse, the exhibition focuses on using artists’ personal remarks to interpret the impact of culture on the development of female identity.

Yumemi Hiraki is a Melbourne based artist from Hiroshima, Japan. Her work focus’s on the conflicting ideals of women in the media. Jacinta Keefe is a photographer and designer who’s only just started to uncover her indigenous identity through cultural practices with contemporary twists. Kelly Yoon is an artist interested in using art as self healing, imitating traditional Korean rituals. Yesol Ma is a Melbourne based Korean artist, who’s exploring physical endurance that is almost hereditary to our cultural heritage, weather we choose to or not.

Yesol Ma, If you know how to sit like a polite Korean Woman. Video still, 2018