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Yhonnie Scarce and Edition Office: In Absence — POSTPONED

The striking piece is the NGV's 2019 Architecture Commission.
By Libby Curran
November 24, 2019
By Libby Curran
November 24, 2019

UPDATE: JULY 10, 2020 — The NGV is temporarily closed to the public, following the latest public health directions from the Victorian Government. For more information, head to the NGV website.


Until August, the NGV's Grollo Equiset Garden is playing host to a striking new addition, thanks to the arrival of towering architectural installation In Absence.

Taking out the title of 2019 National Gallery of Victoria Architecture Commission, the design is the work of contemporary Indigenous artist Yhonnie Scarce and Melbourne architecture studio Edition Office. It beat 99 other designs in this year's competition, which invites participants from across the country to create a site-specific work of temporary architecture to grace the gallery's famed gardens.

Working to the themes of multidisciplinary thinking, collaboration and audience engagement, In Absence takes a trip back in time for its inspiration, exploring the long-running history of construction in Indigenous Australian communities.

Drawing from the structures and building practises of pre-colonial Australia, In Absence boasts a soaring, dark timber tower, opening up to multi-textural interiors. Scarce has used thousands of small black glass yams to bring to life a pair of internal voids, in another nod to the past.

The looming tower structure is the latest in an impressive lineup of Architecture Commission winners, joining the ranks of previous designs like 2018's sleek bamboo garden and deck, 2017's maze-like Garden Wall and 2016's playful pink carwash design by M@STUDIO Architects.

Images: Installation view of In Absence, 2019 designed by Yhonnie Scarce and Edition Office for the 2019 Architecture Commission at NGV International, Melbourne from 23 November 2019–April 2020. Photo: Tom Ross.

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