Dancing Umbrellas is an exhibition of moving image, performance, painting and object-based works by contemporary Australian artists which together create a spatio-temporal and visually immersive environment. The fanciful leitmotif of ‘dancing umbrellas’, inspired by a two-channel video installation by young Melbourne artist Belle Bassin, introduces the exhibition’s performative and theatrical theme, and the playful surreality of many works. Movement, light and elements of performance are variously utilised by the artists to explore ideas about perception and time, and to evoke a sense of otherworldliness or dreams.
In creating their imaginative worlds, these artists reference cultural artefacts and ideas as various as a surrealist play by Picasso, 1960s and 1970s counter-culture and fashion, shamanic spiritualism, internet selfie culture and the romantic sublime as depicted in Japanese anime. Luminous moving images sit alongside paintings, sculptures and collages to create a layered and multi-dimensional experience for the viewer.
Public performances will accompany the exhibition and a dedicated online portal will extend the project into a virtual realm through images and written material, artist interviews, links to relevant content and integration with social media.