Exhibitions, News & Commentary, Visual Arts

NGV’s Brave New World exhibition is a Demon Machine

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Brave New World: Australia 1930s opening today at the National Gallery of Victoria’s Federation Square space in Melbourne looks at Australian art in the 1930s and the influences of the expansion of the cities, female emancipation, beach culture, art deco, modernism, ‘the machine age’, consumerism, communism and the ideal of the perfect human form – but not in that particular order.

Among the 200 paintings, sculpture, graphics, textiles and objects are film clips that celebrate the achievements of the human body. One of them includes a performance of the 1924 dance piece by Gertrud Bodenwieser, Demon Machine, when contemporary dance was embraced as a vital form of modernism.

You can watch the “Demon Machine” performed in this National Film and Sound Archive clip beginning at 22:16.

“Dancing Sculpture” at the gallery on August 11-13 will recreate the “ecstatic, theatrical and sensual – experience modern dance and its transformation of movement and gesture” with Victorian College of the Arts dancers performing Carol Brown’s Acts of Becoming (1995) and Gertrud Bodenwieser’s Demon Machine (1924) in the gallery foyer. The performances are free and are at noon on August 11 to 13 with an extra performance at 3pm on Sunday, August 13.

Brave New World: Australia 1930s is on display at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia from today until October 15

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