Two visual exhibition that are part of Melbourne 2019 Writers Festival both with accompanying books.
“Museum of Broken Relationships” at No Vacancy is a fascinating exhibition of objects and stories that connect to broken relationships. It is a mix of local items and some from the museum’s permanent collections in Zagreb and Los Angeles.
These totems reveal more than broken hearts. They are about the relationship with an object that symbolises a formerly beloved person. Even after the break up, through the magic of association, a special relationship to the object still exists.
“Museum of Broken Relationships” is curated by Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić and is tied in with this years festival theme — “When We Talk About Love”. I wasn’t at the opening of this exhibition but when I visited at lunchtime on a weekday No Vacancy had about thirty other people looking at it.
I was at the opening of “Duality” at the KSR Bar. Both the gallery and the bar were packed with people for the exhibition opening at 6pm which means that it was the first event in the 2019 Writer’s Festival beating the official opening by an hour. I did enjoy a glass of wine at the opening but it was difficult to see all the work with that many people and even more difficult to say anything about the variety of techniques, styles and artists.
The exhibition is a blind date between twenty-five writers and twenty-five visual artists. They are paired together “to explore the relationship between visual and literary narrative”. All of the artists were working on the same size piece of paper (I’m not sure if all the writers were) that provided a visual unity to the exhibition. I’m not sure what else can be said about the variety of artists and, I assume, writers. Maybe they enjoyed their blind dates but overall the random relationships between creatives didn’t appear to achieve any more than its constituent parts.
Sometimes the visual artist wrote more than the writer, but that is because they are not writers. As Mark Twain reportedly remarked: “It could have been shorter but it would have taken longer to write.”
“Duality” is curated by Shannyn Higgins who also took a series of black and white portrait photographs of all the writers and artists in their studios or desks for the accompanying book and the gallery’s title-page wall.