Hoping to open again: Piccinini’s exhibition is waiting

Melbourne’s abandoned Flinders Street ballroom opened its doors for the first time in 36 years, only to have to close again.

The 'No Fear off Depths' sculpture is part of Patricia Piccinini's exhibition A Miracle Constantly Repeated. Photo: Paris Emini

The ballroom had had a grand reopening to the public planned, to host world-renowned contemporary visual artist Patricia Piccinini’s A Miracle Constantly Repeated exhibition, as part of the RISING Melbourne festival.

The exhibition was set to open on May 26 but, with Victoria’s snap lockdown announced, it was forced to postpone until late June. When restrictions eased around that time, the exhibition opened and the interest in the show was greater than expected.

RISING exhibition volunteer Jessica Fitzgerald was pleasantly surprised with the turnout of A Miracle Constantly Repeated, after the snap lockdown left the festival in doubts of continuing at all.

“I really did not expect this many people to show up following all the new restrictions,” she said in ?

“Of course, Patricia’s art deserves all the recognition it’s getting, but we were really worried about the turnout after the lockdown we’ve just had.”

Living in Melbourne, this is Piccinini’s first extensive home show in almost 20 years. The exhibit incorporates video, sound, light and sculpture to demonstrate Piccinini’s vision of the future, built on empathetic relationships.

 “You will see relationships everywhere in my work, between people and animals, and things and the world, between the artificial and the natural,” Piccinini said in the audio guide for the exhibition.

Piccinini also said she was inspired by the great resilience both people and nature have shown in the past year, after enduring the Australian bushfires in the 2019-2020 summer, followed by COVID-19 shortly after.

It was the first time the Flinders Street ballroom and surrounding rooms had been open to the public since 1984. The exhibit expanded across multiple rooms in the building, where patrons could explore the original architecture.

Unfortunately, following the latest lockdown restrictions in Melbourne, A Miracle Constantly Repeated is on hold once again. It was a landmark exhibition with a historic twist when it opened but has been short lived – now sits waiting to reopen again once lockdown ends.

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