Major commissions arrive at Bendigo Art Gallery - Art Collector

Emily Floyd, Existentialism v science fiction, 2010. Medium density fibreboard, epoxy paint.
Photo: Ian Hill. Courtesy: the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery Melbourne and Sydney.

28 September 2010 | Commissioned works are beginning to arrive at the Bendigo Art Gallery for the major international project, The Art of Chess.

Thirteen Australian artists have been commissioned to contribute work for the exhibition, which will be shown alongside pieces by international artists including Maurizio Cattelan, Rachel Whiteread, Jake & Dinos Chapman and Alistair Mackie.

In her catalogue essay for the exhibition, Bendigo Art Gallery’s Tansy Curtin writes: “By juxtaposing the Australian artists with their international peers, Bendigo Art Gallery seeks to position Australian artists and the wider national art scene firmly within the international art milieu. And just as relevantly, these artists have been given the opportunity to create works about chess which relate more specifically to the Australian experience.”

All of the works deal with the game of chess, for all its strategy, patience and ruthless competition.

Emily Floyd has contributed a piece inspired by a recent chess program, which sees works of literature confront each other on the chessboard – Middlemarch takes on Frankenstein.

Michael Doolan has created a whimsical collection of rival forces of the fairytale kingdom assembled at opposite ends of a stack of books. One side is a group of friendly woodland creatures; the other a tightly clustered gathering of the most feared being in the woods.

Sean Cordeiro and Claire Healy’s commission combines beer bottles and coasters on an Australian picnic table as a metaphor for World War I. To satisfy the bloodlust, each side of the board has a hammer to smash any pieces that are taken.

Also commissioned for the project are: Benjamin Armstrong; Lionel Bawden; Sebastian Di Mauro; Robert Jacks; Danie Mellor; Kate Rohde; Caroline Rothwell; Sally Smart; and Ken Yonetani.

The works were commissioned in 2009, funded in part through the largest ever grant awarded by Visions Australia.

The exhibition will be toured nationally, beginning 30 October 2010 at Bendigo Art Gallery.

Jane O'Sullivan

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