Cover image of the review
Alicia Frankovich, The Eye, 2022, Brunswick Baths. Courtesy of the artist, Starkwhite Auckland and 1301SW Melbourne. Photo: Tom Ross

Take Hold of the Clouds

13 Aug 2022
Open House Melbourne 30 Jul - 31 Jul 2022

Taking hold of clouds can seem like a futile exercise. Clusters of Covid-19 droplets unwittingly expelled from human orifices have been a notably difficult object of capture in the past few years. Even more elusive—and catastrophic—are greenhouse gases. Still, we can grasp in the general direction. A cloud can also function as a metaphor for entities of less threatening composition: good vibes, for example, or the nebulous concept of community. All of the aforementioned cumuli and more were present at Take Hold of the Clouds, an exhibition which took place a couple of weekends ago as part of Open House Melbourne.

Open House is an annual program dedicated to facilitating “public appreciation for architecture and public engagement in conversations about the future of our cities”. This is otherwise known as opportunities for punters to perve on interesting buildings while trying to avoid the jargon-mangled spectacle of architects talking. In her opening night speech, co-curator Tara McDowell described Take Hold of the Clouds as a “distributed exhibition” that approached the “city as a gallery” (Executive Director and Chief Curator of Open House, Fleur Watson, worked alongside McDowell). Work by two international and six local “creative practitioners” (interdisciplinarity has retired “artist”) was hosted in seven sites from St Kilda to Kew. While I was abstractly invested in the ambitious political gambits of Take Hold of the Clouds, the more ephemeral experiences that animated each day were the best parts of the exhibition. Conversations with volunteers about undercover ASIO operatives and camellia flowers; grey daylight on a flaking gilded ceiling; the satisfaction of cresting a hill on a bike in the sun, on the way to another unfamiliar spot in the city.

To read for free enter your email address.

Log in with your registered email address.

Memo can continue to publish free, quality, and independent weekly art criticism with the support of our readers. Consider becoming a Patreon supporter or making a donation.