It is one of those hot days in Melbourne and after a wonder through a big construction site in pursuit of finding the Kingston Arts centre entrance, I was glad to not have given up because Unscripted: Intergenerational Art exhibition curated by Amy Wallis was worth every effort.
Walking into a calm, air conditioned room G1, the exhibition demanded that the viewer slow down and begin from left to right in order to appreciate what lies ahead. While the body of work is classically presented - framed and hung against a white gallery wall, as I proceed and get closer to the work, I begin to feel something unsettling in the crude nature of the individual pieces. And the flimsy wool (which I later learn that the viewers are invited to take part in by tying together) that delicately connects each frame emphasises this unsettling feeling.
Each piece consists of a mixed media collage of (found objects, text, prints, photographs, etc.) and the rough and ready frames are adorned with a word such as; ‘Happiness’ ‘rebuild’ ‘history’ ‘respect’ and so on.
While the thread that holds this exhibition together seems to be the central theme, the quality of each work suggests that varied hands produced them. There is one particular work with unmistakable city council colours (yellow, green, blue and white) and photographs of the Mayors (Senior and Junior) add another dimension to the theme. With such works, this exhibition therefore strikes me as a community based project that might have involved one or more people’s recreation of their experiences within the community of city of Kingston.
When I finally find the supporting text to the exhibition, I learn that indeed this is “an intergenerational project that encourages people of different generations and background to interact, share and positively affect each other”.
The raw truth that lies in every individual piece, depicts personal stories that even though are presented in such a thoughtful and artistic manner, still makes the viewer feel as though they are invading someone else’s private experience - that must be the unsettling feeling I got when I began looking at this body of work.
It is unfortunate that the exhibition is not well documented (online and at the gallery) and there’s not much information about the Artist/Curator (Amy Wallis) and other artists and /or community members who participated in this project. However, the one sentence in 'art guide Australia' (2012) describes Unscripted as “Strangers brought together in pairs (one young, one old) to create a series of artworks …”
And in the true spirit of community, the exhibition invites the viewers to interact by leaving their mark on the central piece (pictured above) - a table that hosts a large woven sculpture (wire and multi coloured wool) and coloured pencils. Among words like ‘connect’ ‘inspiration’ ‘love’ ‘acceptance’ and more, I stop for a moment before I carefully choose mine and with satisfaction I bid the community farewell.