Historic artworks from the collections of the Bendigo Art Gallery have been reimagined as part of a new exhibition.
Artists were invited to create a piece for the New Histories exhibition by reinterpreting historic classics with a modern perspective.
Bendigo Art Gallery curator Jessica Bridgfoot was amazed by how the artists responded.
“We’ve had some really unexpected responses and readings from the historic artwork, it’s been an interesting journey working with a variety of works,” she said.
“Some artists have chosen new media such as sound to reinterpret the artworks, while others such as Phuong Ngo used quite epic sculptural installations,” Ms Bridgfoot said.
The responses of the artists reimagined the historic works from the 19th and 20th centuries through a contemporary lens, showing ‘what we know now’ and looking at ‘where we can go from here’.
“A lot of the work in the Bendigo Art Gallery’s collection is from a very male colonial viewpoint or a European perspective and there are a lot of other stories there that weren’t told over history,” Ms Bridgfoot said.
“From queer and feminist perspectives, to Australian, Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and migrant perspectives.”
The gallery hopes to bring new voices and outlooks into an old narrative.
Sound artist Jacques Soddell responded to Sandhurst in 1862, a painting created by Thomas Wright which depicts a landscape view of Bendigo from McIvor Hill.
“I looked at it, learned about the history in those days…and one thing I didn’t want to do was create a standard soundscape of Bendigo,” he said.
Instead Jacques used abstract sounds and different microphones to capture the various audio elements within his artwork which tell a story about the environment, racism and politics.
“I collected sound samples, processed them and assembled the piece...it goes for 14 minutes,” he said.
Artists Maike Hemmers and Pilar Mata Dupont along with Seecum Cheung, Isabelle Sully and Flora Woudstra produced a video response to Agnes Goodsir’s Girl with Cigarette 1925.
“I find it useful in art when you have something directly to respond to, it gives you somewhere to begin and provides parameters,” Ms Mata Dupont said.
“We began a series of meetings for all of us to talk about the work and how we would respond to it.
“Then came the idea of making a film exhibition where everybody would have an individual chapter that they would work on in response to the painting.
Maike said film format worked well because they were able to work on different chapters.
“Like a book, but still have one work in the end,” Ms Hemmers said.
Their aim for the project was to include many voices on the one subject.
“We had this idea of having a polyphonic outcome, but at times everyone had their own idea of what they wanted it to be,” Ms Mata Dupont said.
“It can delve into cacophony, where there is a failure of dialogue and things aren’t working.
“It was intended to be in the work and is an important part of it.”
The exhibition runs from April 13 until July 29.