The NGV Architecture Commission for 2019 has crowned contemporary artist Yhonnie Scarce and Melbourne architecture studio Edition Office as winners for their scheme ‘In Absence’.
April 3rd, 2019
A constant highlight on the architectural calendar, the NGV Architecture Commission is a national competition inviting architects to site-specific works of temporary architecture. For 2019, the goal was to see unique architectural works focusing on multidisciplinary thinking, collaboration and audience engagement.
Yhonnie Scarce and Edition Office were announced as winners for In Absence during a gala presentation as part of Melbourne Design Week at RMIT Design Hub. Alongside the award, the evening showcasing the 100 entered schemes for the year with short presentations by the five shortlisted teams.
The NGV Architecture Commission awarded In Absence the top honour for the way its carefully considered and thoughtfully inspired forms invited audiences to understand the long histories of Indigenous construction, design, industry and agriculture.
A focus on the pre-European history of Australia, the the dark and enigmatic exterior of the installation form conceals a textural and uplifting interior, comprising two dramatic internal voids adorned with thousands of black glass Yams by Yhonnie Scarce.
‘This pavilion does not recognise the term Terra Nulius,” says Yhonnie Scarce “Instead it celebrates the structures that were built long before the colonisation of Australia. There were many Aboriginal builders of ‘houses’, aquaculture infrastructure and long-term agriculture that has existed for thousands of years. This commission is an amazing opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the builders of such infrastructure and their enduring legacies.”
Yhonnie Scarce belongs to the Kokatha and Nukunu peoples of South Australia and holds a Master of Fine Arts from Monash University.
On the winning projcect, Tony Ellwood AM, Director of the NGV remarks, ‘This thoughtfully crafted space displays a highly developed narrative drawn from a successful collaboration between an Indigenous artist and non-indigenous architects. The project acknowledges Indigenous cultural practice and shared culture. It is a place for cultural exchange, an uplifting place, drawing from a difficult past.”
In 2019, a record number of 100 submissions were received for the NGV Architecture Commission competition, and In Absence is a deserving and awe-inspiring winner.
The NGV Architecture Commission 2019 will be on display at NGV International from November 2019.
Images: In Absence. Courtesy Yhonnie Scarce and Edition Office
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