There are a number of free exhibitions at the National Gallery of Victoria International located on St Kilda Road that you can lose yourself in during the cold wintry days ahead. Check these out:
Nordic Cool: Modernist Design exhibition is located on Level 2, Decorative Arts Passage, displaying works from the 1920s to 1960s. It is showcasing ceramics, glassware, silverware, furniture, textiles, and lighting. Although these exhibits are from decades past, they are definitely still modern in appearance, projecting the ideas of futurism that were prevalent at that time. This exhibition is on until 31st December 2015. Very, very cool.
Exquisite Threads: English Embroidery 1600s–1900s on the Ground Level until 12th July 2015 displays themes of education, fashion and the home in relation to the role of embroidery.
Gods, Heroes and Clowns: Performance and Narrative in South and Southeast Asian Art can be found on Level 1 Mezzanine until 30th August 2015 and explores visual art inspired by the narratives and events that encompass and embody the Southern and Southeastern regions of Asia, exploring emotional and moral responses to contemporary events. Particularly striking is the image "Orang Hilang" by Indonesian artist, Haris Purnomo, located in the Lounge Area on Level 1.
Medieval Moderns: The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood is on the Ground Level until 12th July 2015 and reflects the role of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in Britain and their influence on the later generations of artists.
Contemporary art can be found on Level 3, and is not only fresh and engaging, but invites the audience to interact in some way. In the centre of one room is "The Island Bird" by Brazilian artist, Ernesto Neto, an installation of suspended walkways crocheted from coloured textiles that you can walk through. Another interactive piece is by Brazilian artist, Rivane Neuenschwander, called "Watchword" and invites the audience to select a word from a box of clothing labels to pin to an abstract map of the world placed on the wall or to their own clothing. The idea is that the word, which has been taken from protest banners found on the internet, will be re-formed via this interaction and therefore manifest ideas, hopes, and values in a new way.
"Watchword", interactive art by Rivane Neuenschwander
And if that's not enough stimulation for you, there are always the impressive permanent collections on display throughout Levels 1 and 2. On Level 1 is the 14th–16th Century Gallery: Painting & Decorative Arts, housing many grand biblical and renaissance works. There's also the 19th Century European Paintings Gallery, and works from the 20th century, both located on Level 2. Here you can see classic works by artists such as Picasso, Monet, Cezanne, Rembrandt, Corot, Power, Ernst, Warhol, to name a few, which never fail to excite and inspire.
Coming up from 15th May until 13th September 2015, will be Transmission: Legacies of the Television Age, a thematic exhibition exploring artists' responses to the medium of television, sets and screens, and the transmission of information, with works dating from the late 1950s to today. This is sure to be an interesting experience, triggering some intriguing food for thought.