Open Spaces: Art
Looking for the 2019 Open Spaces Festival? Click here for the 2019 listing.
Our biggest weekend of the year, Open Spaces festival is a celebration of the Convent’s people, spaces and places.
Discover a diverse range of exhibitions, participatory art projects, installations, and performances within the buildings and the striking landscape of the Convent grounds. Get ready to meet the many creatives who call the Convent home and experience some of their best projects and collaborations from 2018.
'A Call to Actions' by Luke George
Saturday and Sunday, 12 – 6pm | SHG.07, Sacred Heart building
'A Call To Actions' invites anybody and everybody to take part in a series of intimate and organic performances across the Convent precinct. The program is part of a triptych, 'Public Actions', which investigates how groups of people negotiate shared space and cultivate a community that allows for risk. Luke was the inaugural recipient of our new Residency Program.
Participate in an action: Saturday 3pm, 5pm and 7pm, and Sunday 1pm, 3pm and 5pm, meet at Studio SHG.07, ground level, Sacred Heart building.
'A Room of My Own' by Minna Gilligan
Saturday and Sunday, 12 – 6pm | C2.17, Convent building
Minna has embarked on an ambitious collage installation during her time undertaking the Abbotsford Convent Studio Residency Program. Visit Minna in her studio and experience her site-specific studio installation. Gilligan has entirely collaged the walls of the space with imagery from her personal collection of 1950s-1980s literature. The result is an intimate 'bedroom' like experience, exuding female energy and vague, non-specific feelings of warmth and nostalgia. The artist worked to subvert the trope of traditionally male spaces (e.g mechanics or sports locker rooms) being papered with images of pin up women from Playboy Magazine and similar. In contrast, Minna's space emanates agency, joy, and celebrates 'stereotypically' female, often domestic imagery in a way that is not geared towards rewarding a traditionally male gaze. Minna's collage installation will be complemented with floral arrangements by Tracey Gilligan from The Wilde Bunch florist. Read our interview with Minna Gilligan on our blog.
'Above and Below' by Claire Robertson and Jasmine Robertson
Saturday and Sunday, 12 – 6pm | Dorm 1, level 1, Rosina building
'Above & Below' marks Convent-based artist Claire's first collaboration with her sister, Jasmine, combining their respective disciplines of video and movement through a performance captured by multiple cameras and mirrors. This work was proudly supported by the Abbotsford Convent Foundation.
c3 Contemporary Art Space
Exhibition: Saturday and Sunday, 12 – 6pm
Artist Talks on Saturday: 2pm Amy Hurley | 4pm Simon MacEwan
Artist Talks on Sunday: 2pm Adam Stone | 3pm Zoe Bastin | 5pm Amy Hurley
Come visit the Convent’s c3 Contemporary Art Space at Open Spaces and hear from some of the exhibiting artists. The artist talks offer the opportunity for visitors to engage with and learn more about each exhibition, unpacking artists’ research and the ever-changing nature of individual artist's practice.
'Cloister Mirror' by John R. Neeson
Saturday and Sunday, 12 – 6pm | Convent Courtyard
A bevelled mirror and three trompe l’oeil paintings of it will be installed on field easels around the cloister. John will spend time at the Convent developing this site responsive work and invites visitors to engage with the unique features of the location and variations in light throughout the day.
'Cross-Section' by Katie Lee
Saturday and Sunday, 12 – 6pm | Convent Annexe corridor
Taking inspiration from the Convent as a Town Square where people come to watch, work and reflect, Cross-Section captures Katie pushing, manoeuvring and displaying sculptural objects in and around the grounds of the Convent. This work was proudly supported by the Abbotsford Convent Foundation and Katie regularly collaborates with projects at the Convent.
'Crownings' by Eva Abbinga and Larissa Linnel, and Eliot Palmer as Sound Artist
Saturday 2 - 6pm and Sunday 12 – 6pm | Sheet Room, Sacred Heart building and C2.05, Convent building
Through the dual exhibitions in the Sheet Room and studio C2.05 in the main Convent building, Eva and Larissa respond to personal stories and a history of women’s obstetrics in Melbourne through installation and soft sculpture, created through shared actions of conversation, making and exchange. Earlier this year, Eva and Larissa ran a series of knitting circles onsite inviting Convent visitors to help create the artwork. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. This project is also supported through the City of Melbourne's 2018 Arts Grants Program.
'CuriosiTEA' Pop-up Tearoom by Yumi Umiumare
Saturday 2 – 9pm and Sunday 12 – 6pm | Oratory, Sacred Heart building,
A fusion of Butoh, dance, performance and installation, with classical and contemporary Japanese tea ceremonies, audiences are invited to come and go, pause and reflect. As long ago as the 16th century, tearooms were created in war zones, with the tea ceremony functioning to relieve emotional stress and restore social order. Curious about what sort of ‘tea’ we can make today, Yumi invokes the Japanese notion of ‘ma’ or ‘active pause’ and serves you a bowl of 'curiosiTEA' with an element of surprise and provocation. Yumi is behind the dyanamic ButohOUT! Festival, held annually at the Convent and regularly performs and producers work onsite.
'Erosion' by Noriko Nakamura
Saturday and Sunday, 12 – 6pm | Bishop’s Parlour window and driveway
Through the excavation and installation of three large boulders, 'Erosion' presents a poetic conversation between artist Noriko and the material central to her work – limestone. After her residency at Gertrude Contemporary, Noriko's sculptural work became a year-round addition to the Convent site.
'Every1’s a Winger (Bingo Mode)' by Steven Rhall
Saturday 12 – 9pm and Sunday 12 – 6pm | Industrial School, upstairs
'Every 1’s a Winger (Bingo Mode)' responds to 'Aboriginal Art' as category, in the emulation of a bingo display. The sequence of 51 texts were drawn from a subjective reading of themes and materials encountered in the salon style Koori Art Show (2017), a group exhibition held annually at the Koori Heritage Trust. In this propositional work, Steven seeks to rupture, expand, and make new frameworks for the display of art by First Nation peoples, as independent from a 'Coloniality of Power'. Steven's work featured at the Convent's c3 Gallery and was commissioned as part of c3 Projects.
'Flux-Kit-Mel' by Jamie Lewis and Dan Koop
Saturday, 2 – 5pm | Providence lawn area
Taking historical cues from the Fluxus movements of the 1960’s, FLUX-KIT-MEL by Jamie and Dan invites you to enact performance situations where the roles between artist and audience become interchangeable. Jamie and Dan are regular Convent visitors and collaborators.
Knot Business by Slow Art Collective
Saturday and Sunday, 12 - 6pm | Gardens Bar
Knot Business presents a series of knotted screens as components in Slow Art Collective’s large-scale interactive public art projects. These screens are of various sizes, colours and patterns, with most of the materials either recycled or gifted. The hundreds of repetitive knots offer a sense of infinity, with the layering of intricate patterns often causing a hypnotic or even hallucinatory affect. The screens are all adaptable and responsive to the existing architectures and natural landscapes, growing and evolving in multiple directions with no definitive end-point.
'Nocturne' by Jennifer Whitten
Saturday and Sunday, 12 – 6pm | Mural Hall, Convent building
'Nocturne' investigates the similarities between plotting a map of the night sky and writing sheet music, and how it might sound if these two methods of notation were to merge. Presented as a series of paintings that take reference from the familiar characters of the Zodiac, Jennifer (based at the Convent), has translated the sky into a music composition performed on cello by Natasha Prewett.
Performances will occur Saturday 2.30pm, 3.30pm, 4.30pm and 5.30pm, and Sunday 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm, 4.30pm and 5.30pm with a run time of approximately 5 minutes.
'I See Myself In You' by Penelope Hunt
Saturday and Sunday, 12 – 6pm | St Heliers Street Gallery
Convent-based artist Penelope’s new series 'I see myself in you' focuses on how our connection to the environment can psychologically mirror the relationships we have with ourselves and each other.
'Three Weeks in Havana' by Helga Leunig
Saturday and Sunday, 12 – 6pm | St Heliers Street Gallery
'Three Weeks in Havana' is a series of photographs documenting ordinary and everyday life in Havana, Cuba – a vibrant and unique city on the cusp of major change. Helga is a Convent-based artist and documentary photographer.
'Trinity: Faith, Hope and Charity' by Amanda Olle
Saturday and Sunday, 12 – 4pm | Good Shepherd Chapel Crypt
This installation is a culmination of 6 years of community participation in the form of prayer tags placed on the Prayer Tree in the Good Shepherd Chapel. On Sunday 5pm, the installation pieces will be burned outside with a small ceremony (weather permitting and safety controls).
'Venus de Hoodie' by Penny Byrne
Saturday and Sunday, 12 – 6pm | Ground floor alcove, Convent building
As one of the newest Convent community members, Penny’s sculptural works are politically charged, highly engaging and often disarmingly humorous. Venus de Hoodie references classical Greek sculpture and modern day iPhone covers and hoodies worn by today’s youth. The exhibition is a perfect mix for a site such as the Convent, with its past steeped in history, and its present and future very much in the now. The wonderful alcove she has chosen to display the work will create a perfect juxtaposition between old and new.
'Wild Warrigal Greens! A Pots and Pans Procession' by Sonic Electric
Sunday 1pm, 1.30pm & 2pm | Departing from info hub
Processional sound and music as wedding noise, bonfire, church bells, carnival bands, seasonal celebrations have been used historically to develop ideas around how humans use noise, especially in ritual, celebration, performance and protest. This collaboration entails free improvisation with all kinds of tools from your own kitchen to create musical pathways through the Abbotsford Convent grounds ending at Sacred Heart. All ages welcome. This project is curated by Juliana España Keller as part of her ongoing artistic investigations of the Convent site.
Want to meet the art makers in our community? Check out demonstrations, workshops and open studios at Open Spaces.