Late last year I received an email from Tony Ellwood, the director of the National Gallery of Victoria, asking me to participate in the Rigg Design Prize; a triennial exhibit at NGV Australia in Melbourne. Nominees were invited to create a 40 sq metre [ 450 sq feet ] installation on the theme of “Domestic Living”. In February I met with curators Simone LeAmon and Ewan McEoin to discuss ideas and tactics.
The ideas I focused on were close to home —the notion of Atelier. Most of my life I’ve lived and worked in a space that is both home and studio: cave, sanctuary and source of inspiration.
Most daunting were the practical hurdles to overcome: though I grew up in Australia and visit regularly, my working life has been focused in the northern hemisphere, so I’d a lot to find out in terms of, quite literally, “building from the ground up”.
My approach to work is always to create a mood and lighting is the key. Unlike on a film or photo set the lighting had to be contained within the space of my gallery exhibit—I wanted the light to have movement — to create a sense of life outside.This proved none to easy to find until miraculously I discovered Leslie Nooteboom - a recent graduate of the RCA in London… and his Komorebi project … http://leslienooteboom.com/komorebi/. We met and hatched a plan.
I like to create a hightly personalized context to showcase the work of Martyn Thompson Studio- the textiles, tapestries, objects and photographs.”Domestic Living” for me is a layering of history, of memory. This space is laden with objects from the past —my record collection, a chair I bought at Clignancourt flea market in Paris 30 years ago, my old shoes.I like an idiosyncratic interior and wanted to make a space that would inspirie you to make your interior your own— put your mark on it.
A lot of help was needed to make this all happen.Key to getting the project off the ground was my wonderful friend Karen McCartney who introduced me to Tamara Maynes and Carly Spooner.Tamara and Carly coordinated and managed the construction and I am eternally grateful that they patiently endured the various changes of plan and lived to help stage the final scene.
A big thank you to the many sponsors who have loaned their products- Perennials Rugs,Woodstock Resources, Dulux, Gallery Don Cameron, Spence and Lyda,1882 Ltd and to the artists- Monique
Lovering, Dove Drury Hornbuckle and Diana Sharp—whose works are layered into this landscape of Atelier.
Finally, it would have been impossible without the daily help of another great friend Mark Whitaker ……. and my secret council of advisors… Penny Galwey, Andrew Egan, Jocelyn Beaudion and Nikki Tibbles.
The Rigg Design Prize "DOMESTIC LIVING" exhibit runs from October 12th 2018 til February 24th 2019 at NGV Australia.