Out and About: ACCA At Large

Van Sowerwine: Sharper Than A Serpents Tooth, installation view, Republic Tower, 2005. Courtesy ACCA Archive

Republic Tower, +Plus Factors, Make it Modern, ACCA @ Mirka

By Gabrielle de Vietri

Having settled into its new home on Sturt Street, by the end of 2004 a certain wanderlust for the space outside the white cube set in. And so began ACCA’s ongoing and evolving series of off-site projects.

ACCA was commissioned to curate the Republic Tower’s three enormous billboards in the middle of Melbourne’s business district between 2004 and 2007. Mariele Neudecker’s memento mori realigned Holbein’s distorted skull below a cracked, dried landscape. Equally as foreboding, Van Sowerwine’s sinister, yet vulnerable dolls loomed above diminished pedestrians.

During the 2006 Commonwealth Games, as part of ACCA’s +Plus Factors exhibition, collaborative duo Temp-team’s corporate human pyramid crumbled as acrobatics and business were awkwardly forced to merge. Other +Plus Factors projects took ACCA’s program onto the streets with a 24hr two-way viewing marathon by Tony Schwensen, the gifting of Justene Williams’ collection of blurred, colour-saturated photographs, and an attempt to widen Melbourne’s narrowest laneway by Space Pork Adventures art collective. The Inverted Topology group stacked painted planes of various hues against ACCA’s rusty exterior and Shaun Gladwell’s skateboarding video occupied the new space of a decommissioned fountain on the City Square during a particularly dry season.

ACCA’s satellite program spilled not only onto Melbourne’s streets, but found its way into other non-gallery spaces; spaces where contemporary art can create unusual disturbances as well as fruitful resonances. Two such projects were Make it Modern, an exhibition across an entire floor of accounting firm, Deloitte’s Melbourne headquarters, and ACCA @ Mirka at Tolarno Hotel ‒ a series of exhibitions in the newest incarnation of the famous Tolarno Hotel in St Kilda.

Rebecca Ann Hobbs, Pot Shot, 2005. Exhibited at Make it Modern, Deloitte, 2005. Courtesy the artist and ACCA Archive

Make it Modern confronted and consoled its viewers in equal parts. Beginning with Stuart Ringholt’s traumatic and hysterical video of screaming in an elevator, office workers and visitors were quickly appeased by Louisa Bufardeci’s Human Capital Survey, taking the form of a multiple-choice lolly box at the reception desk. David Noonan’s rich and gentle fabric paintings and Darren Sylvester’s contemplative vistas accompanied the daily dealings of corporate Australia, while Susan Norrie’s video projection of a hot bubbling cesspit disrupted the cool, sleek disconnectedness of the QV building’s fourteenth floor. Callum Morton’s glitzy architectural syntheses merged modernist buildings with contemporary franchises, and Rafaat Ishak’s paintings on MDF, inserted into Deloitte’s windows, attempted to bring structures and lines from the urban outside into the building. Black sacks with legs performed diagrammatic choreographies across the screen in Laresa Kosloff’s Deep & Shallow while my own hourly self-help slogans chimed over the PA.

If workers and visitors to the offices were conflicted as they journeyed through the corridors and meeting rooms at Deloitte, then diners at the Tolarno Hotel were bemused, dazzled and intrigued by the series of solo exhibitions that occupied the gallery room of its continental bistro, now named after one of its most famous artist-occupants, Mirka Mora.

The building, which, since the 1960s had played a significant role in forming and nurturing Melbourne’s contemporary art scene, was variously treated as a site specific salon by artists Stuart Ringholt, Matt Hinkley, Liv Miller, Nathan Gray, Alex Pittendrigh, Laresa Kosloff, Judith van Heeren, David Harley, Kate Daw, Sanja Pahoki and Kit Wise. Matt Hinkley set the room buzzing with a striped black-and-white wallpaper, which hosted a row of delicate optical drawings. Nathan Gray’s colourful paper wall sculptures spread joyously across corners in a medley of tassels, marbling, tape and string. Laresa Kosloff’s video performers tilted and bent in front of a primary school mural, as Stuart Ringholt’s circle cut out portraits played tricks on their unsuspecting subjects. Judith Van Heeren’s monochrome paintings of fantastical amalgamations of nature brought a ghostly sophistication to the dining experience, while Alex Pittendrigh adorned the walls of his intricate blu-tac embellishments.

Gabrielle de Vietri is an artist who worked at ACCA from 2005-2008.

Barbara Kruger, Republic Tower, 2004. Courtesy ACCA Archive

Republic Tower:
Barbara Kruger: Blind Eye

21 September 2004

Van Sowerwine: Sharper Than A Serpents Tooth
8 October – 22 October 2005

Mariele Neudecker: Ambassador
14 September 2006 – 28 February 2007

Make it Modern at Deloitte
1-25 June 2005
Artists: Lisa Ann, Stephen Bram, Louise Bufardeci, Emily Floyd, Rebecca Ann Hobbs, Rafat Ishak, Laressa Kosloff, Andrew McQualter, David Noonan, Stuart Ringholt, Darren Sylvester, Gabrielle de Vietri

+Plus Factors
13 March – 7 May 2006
Artists: Tony Schwensen, Justene Williams, Victoria Lawson, Space Pork Adventures, Shaun Gladwell, Chris Bennie, David Chesworth and Sonia Leber, Temp-Team, Inverted Topology

Stuart Ringholt

21 February – 9 June 2007

Matt Hinkley
12 June – 19 August 2007

Shaun Gladwell, Kickflipper: Fragments Edit, 2000-03. From +Plus Factors Exhibition, ACCA 2006
Courtesy the artist and Sherman Galleries, Sydney

Viv Miller
22 August – 25 November 2007

Nathan Gray
11 December 2007 – 1 March 2008

Alex Pittendrigh
4 March – 31 May 2008

Laresa Kosloff
3 June – 16 August 2008

Judith van Heeren
19 August – 15 November 2008

David Harley
1 December 2008 – 28 February 2009

ACCA at Mirka: Judith Van Heeren 2008. Courtesy ACCA Archive

Kate Daw
3 March – 20 June 2009

Sanja Pahoki
23 June – 27 November 2009

Kit Wise
4 December 2009 – 28 February 2010

Josh Petherick
14 April – 25 July 2010

James Deutsher
29 July – 5 November 20


ACCA at Large, Part 2