Walking past Ten Cubed you might think that it is another commercial gallery, it is a shop front art gallery, except that there are no price tags. You might also notice, if you regularly pass the shops along Malvern Road in Glen Iris that the exhibitions only change every three months. You would notice that Ten Cubed is a purpose built gallery with the usual grey concrete floor and white walls. Designed by Ron Unger Architects, the building sits on a narrow shopfront footprint, giving the six metre high front space has tall and narrow cathedral-like proportions.
Its current exhibition is So Far… works from the Ten Cubed collection. For the gallery is a collection project of Dianne Gringlas with advice from her sister-in-law Ada Moshinsky. This is not a random collection of art, Ten Cubed has depth and rigour to its collection program. It is a ten year project to collect ten works by ten contemporary Australian and New Zealand artists represented by commercial galleries, like Arc One, Sutton or Murray White Room.
Ten Cubed is a private art collection on public exhibition, like MONA in Hobart but on a smaller scale and free for the public to visit. In this and other ways it is similar to small institutional art galleries, with its permanent staff and an education program. Private collections on public exhibition are a new feature of Australia’s art world; the Ten Cubed collection has only been going for five years but has only had a gallery for the last three. There are other small private galleries that are open to the public including Lyon Housemuseum in Melbourne and White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney.
What is the point of having an art collection if very few people see it? The art in some private collections are removed from the discourse of the art world and are therefore less significant. As Ten Cubed website states: “art should be shown, not stored.” Not that there isn’t art in storage at the gallery, as all of the art in the collection can’t be on exhibition at the gallery or the Gringlas’s home.
The artists that are currently on exhibition are Pat Brassington, Jonathan Delafield Cook, Alasdair McLuckie, Tim Silver, Anne-Marie May, David Rosetzky, Daniel von Sturmer and David Wadelton. There is no simple way to sum these contemporary artists up and Ten Cubed’s collection is not intended to make a statement (or even to be sensational like MONA). The mediums ranged from David Wadelton’s depiction of suburban glamour, now cockroach free with water on tap, in oil on canvas, Land of opportunity. To Anne-Marie May’s Untitled thermally folded acrylic sculpture hanging from the ceiling like an airburst of colour. To David Rosetzky’s video Half Brother that combines contemporary dance with work on paper.