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Art at Melbourne Recital Centre

Art at Melbourne Recital Centre

We're renowned for our world-class acoustics and stunning architectural design, but did you know that Melbourne Recital Centre is also home to a small collection of dynamic artworks? 

The Dulka Warngiid Tapestry

In 2007, The Hugh Williamson Foundation commissioned the vibrant tapestry, Dulka Warngiid for Melbourne Recital Centre and the Victorian community. The commission realised the wish of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch AC DBE, our Patron, for a major work to bring together two of her great passions, being tapestry and music.

Based on a large-scale collaborative work by seven women artists from Bentinck Island and held by the National Gallery of Victoria, the painting represents the country of each woman in a combined work of vibrancy and deep meaning. The artists are based at Mornington Island Arts and Craft in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Dulka Warngiid Tapestry - ‘We each painted our country area which was special for us. Our painting is all of our country. That’s what the title means – country, place, land – land of all.’

Fifty Flowers by Robert Blackman

In 2014 the Centre was fortunate to receive a remarkable birthday present from Barbara Blackman: a painting titled Fifty Flowers by her former husband Charles Blackman. This exquisite canvas, itself a gift from Charles to Barbara, depicts colourful flowers and a cat.

Barbara Blackman with Fifty Flowers

At Barbara’s request, the painting hangs in the artists’ Green Room, a bouquet for every performer at the Centre to enjoy. 

The Temper Trap rehearsing in the Green Room with Fifty Flowers

Anne- Marie May 'Hook Me Up (Synaesthesia)' 2017
Thermally formed acrylic, birch plywood
Variable dimensions
Courtesy Murray White Room, Melbourne 

Made by heating and stretching acrylic to yield a range of colour harmonies, this ambitious, multi-part sculpture absorbs and projects light, and creates shadows that animate the surrounding space. At a large-scale, and suspended to introduce subtle movement, its organic, overlapping forms change as you walk through the Centre. It appears dense and solid from one vantage point, but open and transparent from another.

This sculpture belongs to the series Hook Me Up, a playful reference to the hook system devised to build them. Adapting an idea from a children’s game — a barrel of monkeys whose arms interlink to make a chain — May uses hooks to connect all the parts. The hooked curvy acrylic sheets, aided by gravity, lock all the components together.

Until June 2018, you can view Anne-Marie May's stunning artwork, Hook Me Up (synaesthesia) hanging in Melbourne Recital Centre's grand staircase.

Watch our time-lapse video of the set-up below!


Fred Williams OBE (1927–1982)

Fred Williams is regarded as one of Australia’s most prolific painters and print-makers. His pioneering vision of the Australian landscape and inspired works are celebrated for their distinctive interpretations and technique. Williams was influenced by the rugged, unchanged character of these places, untouched by farming or residential development and sought to bring these places to life in his abstract and awe-inspiring style.

The works are on display in the Williams Room and were kindly donated by Fred’s family and Melbourne Recital Centre patron, Lyn Williams AM.

‘Fred brought us a new vision of Australia’s landscape. He changed the way we see our country: an achievement which will live long after all of us are gone.’ John Brack

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