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    Even rocks melt; National Gallery of Victoria exhibition challenges notion of architecture permanency

    Nathan Johnson

    “All that is solid melts into air”—a quote from the Communist Manifesto referring to the dynamism of capitalism and its ability to both destroy and create everything from cities to human populations in its wake.

    These words from Karl Marx are also the inspiration behind the next exhibition slated for The National Gallery of Victoria’s (NGV) Federation Court, ‘Rock Melt’ by Sydney-based artist Jamie North beginning the 27 March.

    Six hand crafted monumental rock columns of concrete and recycled slag (a bi-product of smelting iron ore), entwined with native flora will reach for the skies at Federation Court from March till July and reflect nature’s power to survive in the most baron environments, even penetrating rock, stone and concrete.

    Melbourne-native Wonga Wonga vine was chosen by North and clusters of creamy, tubular bell-shaped flowers with pink or red throats are expected to bloom from the cracks in the tubular monuments that rise from a solid base to a condition of lesser materiality.  

    Above: North’s innerouter installation from the Sarah Cottier Gallery 2014 used fibre reinforced concrete (portland cement, coal ash, steel slag, iron oxide), plant species include; Ficus rubiginosa (Port Jackson Fig) and Pyrrosia rupestris (Rock Felt Fern), Psilotum nudum (Fork Fern). Photo: Ashley Barber

    Left:  Jamie North processing slag via tumbling for his NGV commission Rock Melt. Location: Port Kembla. Photo: Keith Morris

    Rock Melt explores the relationship between nature and architecture and touches on the themes of  decay and regeneration, design for disassembly,  and the traditions of cultivated gardens.

    The exhibition challenges the notion of ‘all that is solid’ in the built environment and suggests that only nature is all-prevailing. 

    The exhibit is free and more information can be found here:

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