work / MELBOURNE NOW NGV - STATION TO STATION 2013/14
National Gallery of Victoria
23 November 2013 - 23 March 2014
Melbourne Now is a landmark exhibition that celebrates the latest art, architecture, design, performance and cultural practice to reflect the complex cultural landscape of creative Melbourne. This ambitious and far-reaching exhibition across NGV Australia and NGV International will show how visual artists and creative practitioners have profoundly contributed to creating a place with a unique and dynamic cultural identity. A specially commissioned project for Melbourne Now is 'On Top of the World : Flags for Melbourne' developed by Stewart Russell. It presents a unique opportunity to engage with Melbourne through the conversion of 16 significant flag pole sites into temporary gallery spaces. Sixteen acclaimed contemporary artists including Callum Morton, Jon Campbell, Aleks Danko, Destiny Deacon, Brooke Andrew and Peter Atkins have been commissioned to design a series of flags that will fly concurrently in off site locations. The flags will also be presented in the Great Hall at the National Gallery of Victoria for the duration of Melbourne Now - Nov 2013 - March 2014. The project will transform the Great Hall into a Cathedral of artists ideas and transform the city’s summer skyline, extending the curatorial range of Melbourne Now beyond the gallery to become part of the day to day experience.
Peter Atkins : Station to Station
Great Hall National Gallery of Victoria
North Melbourne Town Hall
Station to Station is a project consisting of 12 specially designed flags by Peter Atkins commissioned for the landmark exhibition Melbourne Now. Atkins' project explores our collective cultural, social and personal narratives through the graphic abstract design language expressed through suburban train tickets issued between 1920 and the late 1980s that departed from or arrived into Melbourne. The flags will fly on flagpoles opposite Flinders Street Station in Federation Square as well as North Melbourne Town Hall, acting as a conceptual bridge between the two spaces. Describing the new work, Atkins states 'When people leave the concourse of the train station and first view these flags they will be provoked into a response through the inherent social history of these tickets. Perhaps triggering a sense of nostalgia through their own individual memories relating to personal or collective experiences - recalling train tickets associated from their own childhood - remembering their own journeys with family and friends between particular destinations'. These are loaded images that have the capacity to locate personal narratives specific to time and place while simultaneously magnifying a collective experience within historical, cultural and social perspectives.
Describing the process for this project Atkins says 'I have used the book 'Suburban Tickets of the Victorian Railways' as reference for this project as well as my own collection of tickets built up over the past few years...the early tickets from 1900 onwards were printed (by Victorian Railways - all in house) using machines brought to Melbourne from London. This probably explains why the designs in the beginning were so generic....(and why the Corio to Flinders St and others look similar to the London Underground symbol). Later, many of the designs were changed and crosses/numbers/letters/stripes were added and new colours introduced to reflect the various train lines around Melbourne as well as inward and outward journeys, children's, adults, pensioners, workmen, weekly, return or single tickets etc......these coded symbols added over time reflect the changing nature of Melbourne, each ticket is in itself a little coded map that could identify each particular journey (for the ticket inspector)...my favourites are the tickets in and out of Flemington race course....(they have spots and stripes that reference the Jockeys Jerseys) all up a really complicated but fascinating visual coded language. To complicate matters further, during WWII there was a shortage of cardboard, so existing stock had to be used that had already been printed...which then needed to be overprinted.....so colours were changed again and again depending on various reasons. I suppose this is what I love about these tickets - they refect the evolving city of Melbourne, essentially designed by default...democratic abstraction - anonymous, almost nothing things. But, once taken out of context and distilled, with the underlying abstraction revealed they become extremely potent and beautiful things - common to us all.' As an extension of this project, Atkins has produced a series of twelve giclee prints in an edition of twenty in the exact scale of the train tickets, 30mm x 60mm.
Flags flying at Federation Square as part of Melbourne Now 2013/2014
Colour Samples - Flag designs based on Melbournes suburban train tickets issued between 1920 and the late 1980s