This proposal for a temporary pavilion in the grounds of Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) explores how an impermanent structure might be expressed in a fluid and temporal way.
The design references important moments in the NGV’s collection and its architecture to conceive an evocative and memorable site-specific installation.
A new gallery space is defined by walls of sheeting water. Willem de Kooning’s Standing Figure is enclosed within the walls. One-way glass mirrors on the ceiling and the end wall engage the viewer in a game of light, space and optical illusion, and re-present the sculpture in a new paradigm. The kinetic installation is intended to provide an emotional spatial experience that propels the audience to engage with the artwork and interact with the cascading water.
Architecturally, the installation mirrors the proportions of Roy Grounds’s Great Hall and draws inspiration from the enduring appeal of the water wall at the gallery entrance. It is also inspired by artworks from the NGV collection, including Bill Viola’s Ocean without a shore and Donald Judd’s Untitled (1969–71).
The Water Gallery is accessed using bright yellow umbrellas, creating a sense of joy and theatre through the audience’s interactions with both the gallery and the art that it holds.