CalArtian David Burns (Art BFA 93) and Austin Young of Fallen Fruit present new immersive works commissioned by the National Gallery Victoria (NGV) in Melbourne, Australia, for the 2020 NGV Triennial. The exhibition, NATURAL HISTORY, will run throughout the triennial (Dec. 19-April 18, 2021).
Following the success of its first 2017 edition, this year’s NGV Triennial features more than 100 artists and designers across creative disciplines. The “globally significant projects” contribute to international discourse by creatively highlighting contemporary issues while connecting Melbourne with the global art community.
NATURAL HISTORY, which has been in the making since early 2020, features a triptych of patterned fabric wall coverings featuring photographs of plants, fruits, and flowers. The photographs were taken at several Australian botanical gardens, including the Cranbourne Gardens, the Royal Botanic Gardens, and the Collingwood Children’s Farm.
“As artists, we are interested in how people, plants, and animals are represented in various natural settings, landscapes, and gardens,” the artists stated in their project description. “By drawing from the permanent collection, the immersive artwork also becomes a story about the formation of Australia itself, and how people and plants from other places have naturalized within the indigenous landscape.”
Fallen Fruit’s NGV collection engages with issues of the natural world, colonialism, and “narrative depictions of religion and the supernatural.” Burns and Young further explain the project:
NATURAL HISTORY draws into focus the complex and dynamic relationship between historical and contemporary ideals of beauty and nature, religious ideology, and narrative themes of colonialism and how they function as storytelling in Western art.
Burns co-founded Fallen Fruit with Young and CalArts faculty Matias Viegener in 2004. Since 2013, Burns and Young continued the artistic collaboration by mapping fruit trees across Los Angeles public properties. On Earth Day 2017, Fallen Fruit expanded this project with Endless Orchard, a global public artwork that mapped fruit trees across the globe to promote community, sustainability, and food justice.
NATURAL HISTORY at NGV 2020
Dec. 19-April 18, 2021
National Gallery of Victoria
180 St. Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3006, Australia