Culture

A Swimming Pool Is Coming To The National Gallery Of Victoria

And yes, you can take a dip.

The National Gallery of Victoria is known for all kinds of weird and wonderful exhibitions, but now, a different kind of installation is coming to Melbourne‘s flagship cultural institution: a swimming pool.

Yes, a swimming pool – one that you’re allowed to walk around in. No, the NGV isn’t suddenly turning into a recreational sports centre, the pool really is an art installation – just a special kind of interactive one.

Titled The Pool: Architecture, Culture & Identity, the installation will feature an 11-metre pool, as well as bleachers and decking to sit on.

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The travelling installation was first debuted at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. Speaking to Broadsheet, Ewan McEoin, senior curator of the Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture explained that the installation “bridged architecture and broader cultural conversation in Australia about the built environment.” He added, “It’s an important opportunity for an Australian audience to see, because not many members of the public get to make it to the Venice Biennale.”

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Presented by the Australian Institute of Architects, the pool will explore the Australian identity as a whole. It will pay homage to several famous pools – natural and manmade – around Australia, including Icebergs at Bondi Beach and Melbourne’s Fitzroy Baths. In addition, a number of Australian athletes (including Ian Thorpe), writers, environmentalists, authors and designers will speak about the cultural importance of swimming pools.

Described as a “fresh and joyful exhibition that extends the practice and thinking of architecture”, the official website explained that pools “are levellers of age, background, education and commitment.” At the same time, it will provide a setting “for cultural exchange, including stories of segregation, competition, sustainability and survival.”

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What’s more, a specially-made scent has been designed by Maison Balzac, to add to the entire sensory experience.

“It’s quite a beautiful exhibit,” said McEoin. “And people can take off their shoes and socks and walk in the water.”

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The exhibition will be showing at The Ian Potter Centre at the National Gallery of Victoria from August 18 2017 until February, 2018.

(All images: Brett Boardman/NGV)