A former World War II ammunition and high-explosives storehouse in Sydney Olympic Park now houses the creations of 21 Australian artists.
Excavation: The Armory Exhibition 2012 opened last weekend at the Armory Gallery, now an exhibition space half-buried in the riverside landscape, surrounded by blast-diffusing walls of earth. It is accessible by foot through a reinforced concrete tunnel, even today.
Excavation presents paintings and sculptures as well as ceramic, glass, photography, video and installation works by artists associated with Newington Armory’s artistic program.
Artists undertaking Armory-residencies utilise its outdoor spaces and heritage buildings, now converted into art spaces. There is also a kiln onsite for ceramic work.
The ‘excavation’ theme was developed by curator Pedro de Almeida. It refers to archaeological exploration and is also “a rich metaphor for the practice of contemporary artists who enact interventions into the cultural, historical and physical landscapes we inhabit,” according to Mr de Almeida.
The idea was inspired by his own memory of Sydney in the 1980s.
“Every Sydney suburb has a history that a whole lot of people don’t know about,” Mr de Almeida said following his curator talk in which he walked the audience through the exhibition.
Visitors on opening day included art enthusiasts, families with children, curious locals and cyclists with helmet-in-hand taking a break from their Sunday morning ride.
“Given its location, the visitation here is probably going to be different to other art exhibitions,” Mr de Almeida said. “In a good way, of course.”
Until Aug 19, Armory Gallery, Newington Armory, Sydney Olympic Park, free, 9714 7888, sydneyolympicpark.com.au