Temple of Boom at NGV

John Hill
22. novembre 2022
Installation view of the 2022 NGV Architecture Commission: Temple of Boom designed by Adam Newman and Kelvin Tsang on display at NGV International, Melbourne from 22 November 2022 – August 2023. (Photo: Sean Fennessy)
Aerial view of the 2022 NGV Architecture Commission: Temple of Boom designed by Adam Newman and Kelvin Tsang on display at NGV International, Melbourne from 22 November 2022 – August 2023. (Photo: NGV)

In photographs the Parthenon sits atop the Acropolis of Athens as a monochrome, white marble ruin that gains color by reflecting the sunlight at different times of the day. Architecture students have long studied the Parthenon in terms of space, proportion, rhythm and other characteristics outside of color, even though it is common knowledge that the 5th century BC temple was polychromatic. That distant yet colorful past appears to have inspired architects Adam Newman and Kelvin Tsang to create a contemporary version of the Parthenon that is anything but monochrome.

Installation view of the 2022 NGV Architecture Commission: Temple of Boom designed by Adam Newman and Kelvin Tsang on display at NGV International, Melbourne from 22 November 2022 – August 2023. (Photo: Sean Fennessy)
Installation view of the 2022 NGV Architecture Commission: Temple of Boom designed by Adam Newman and Kelvin Tsang on display at NGV International, Melbourne from 22 November 2022 – August 2023. (Photo: Sean Fennessy)

Located in the National Gallery of Victoria's Grollo Equiset Garden, the seventh and latest iteration of the NGV Architecture Commission (est. 2016), Temple of Boom is a setting for programs and events, including music and other performances, but also a canvas for artists to transform the installation in the coming months. Just as centuries of weather and people alike erased the colors from the original Parthenon, local artists will paint murals on the third-scale temple in three phases, between November 2022 and August 2023, "[inviting] audiences to consider the effect of time on all architecture," per a press release. It opened on November 22 with floral motifs and optical illusions by artists Drez, Manda Lane, and David Lee Pereira. 

Installation view of the 2022 NGV Architecture Commission: Temple of Boom designed by Adam Newman and Kelvin Tsang on display at NGV International, Melbourne from 22 November 2022 – August 2023. (Photo: Sean Fennessy)
Installation view of the 2022 NGV Architecture Commission: Temple of Boom designed by Adam Newman and Kelvin Tsang on display at NGV International, Melbourne from 22 November 2022 – August 2023. (Photo: Sean Fennessy)

The initial artistic contributions find Manda Lane and David Lee Pereira adorning parts of the structure and the plinth with plant and floral motifs, while Drez painted the columns in a way that brings to the fore their stacked structure and fluted forms, and creates a changing composition as people move about the garden. Sitting in the middle of the installation is Henry Moore's bronze Draped seated woman (1958) — a stand-in for Athena in the original that looks oddly at home among the colorful surroundings, as if the temple was scaled down to be proportional with the sculpture.

Installation view of the 2022 NGV Architecture Commission: Temple of Boom designed by Adam Newman and Kelvin Tsang on display at NGV International, Melbourne from 22 November 2022 – August 2023. (Photo: Sean Fennessy)
Installation view of the 2022 NGV Architecture Commission: Temple of Boom designed by Adam Newman and Kelvin Tsang on display at NGV International, Melbourne from 22 November 2022 – August 2023. (Photo: Sean Fennessy)

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