Castlemaine State Festival 2015

CELEBRATING ITS 40TH anniversary and 20 festivals, the 2015 Castlemaine State Festival – titled Before & Beyond – presents its largest ever program of music, performance, film and visual art.

Founded in 1974, the festival was modelled on Europe’s famous small-town classical music festivals. A unique event in its time, the festival opened up the regional touring circuit for organisations such as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. In subsequent years, it has grown into a multi-artform festival, committed to artistic excellence in a regional setting, specifically aimed at creating a context for valuing the arts in Victoria.

Today the Castlemaine State Festival is the flagship multi-artform regional state festival in Victoria. With a commitment to programming regional artists and events, including a strong Indigenous presence, the Festival has significant recognition in the international arts festivals arena. While maintaining the essence of the original vision and intent, the program has evolved to reflect the changes in the cultural production, regional demographic and audience expectations throughout its 40-year history. Preceding other Victorian arts festivals, the Castlemaine State Festival has been unique in its scope and diversity, and in its impact on the social and cultural fabric of the Mount Alexander Shire and environs.

Provocative, playful and probing, the 2015 Castlemaine State Festival’s Visual Arts Program (VAP) features new work by local, national and international artists who have responded boldly to the Festival theme, Before & Beyond.

Curated by Neil Fettling (Director, La Trobe Art Institute), Kelly Gellatly, (Director, Ian Potter Museum of Art) and Jennifer Kalionis (Director, Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum) VAP is presented across a range of sites within Castlemaine and its surrounds. VAP offers participatory engagement with a range of visual artworks that explore notions of transience, history, place, environmental sustainability and material ethics.

THE OLD WOOLLEN MILLS will host two compelling large-scale, site-specific works that are both premiering as part Castlemaine Created festival commissions. Each presents an experiential encounter that draws together the past and the future.RKM Collective is a group of Castlemaine-based artists who will develop and present the Road Kill Mausoleum (RKM). They are Helen Bodycomb (mosaics), Jilli Rose (animator), Ulrike von Radichevich (set design) and Davide Michielin (filmmaker). The ‘RKM’ will be an interactive public artwork that is spatially designed after the architectural cruciform footprint of the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna, Italy. Built from thousands of VHS tape memory vaults, RKM is a walk-through memento mori. It explores death as obsolescence, collective and genetic memory, and the relationship between the experience of being human and our inner beast.

‘Solar Mining’ by Yutaka Kobayashi is a large-scale site-specific installation that takes its inspiration from the cultural heritage of ‘The Diggings’, acknowledging both the diggers’ toil and the inevitable past of a finite resource – gold. Looking beyond the past towards a future of infinitely renewable solar power, the installation will be a playful, interactive place where visitors can engage directly with clean energy to discover the benefits of sustainable resources. Inside the glass mounds of the installation will be a solar oven cooking delicious baked goods from our senior community members’ best recipes. These tasty treats will be available to lucky visitors.

CASTLEMAINE ART GALLERY will be home to the Museum of Holes, a comprehensive exhibition of artworks and objects collected by the artist and selected from the entire range of both the Gallery’s and the Historical Museum’s collections by significant artist Patrick Pound. Thematically and symbolically, a hole can conjure up a vast and surprising variety of interpretations, also linking historically to Castlemaine’s goldmining past. This exhibition will be at once amusing and telling, and will redraw our attention to the things with which we have become too familiar. The selected works and objects will be found and made to work differently through this poetic exploration.

Also on exhibition at the gallery during this time is a survey exhibition of Ginger Riley. The Boss of Colour is the first major exhibition of Ginger Riley Munduwalawala’s work since the retrospective Mother Country in Mind: The Art of Ginger Riley Munduwalawala held at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1997, and the first survey exhibition in a public gallery since the artist passed away in 2002. The exhibition presents Riley’s vibrant and powerful depictions of country which challenged and changed Australia’s preconceived notion of Indigenous art, and our landscape painting tradition. The intensity and energy of Riley’s paintings is so strong that Australian expressionist David Larwill dubbed him, “the boss of colour”.

ON THE GRASSY KNOLL outside the IGA shopping complex, people will encounter ‘Anonymous’, a sculptural installation by playfully macabre visual artist Jessica Ledwich. The work explores the commemorative markings created to celebrate the life of someone revered and respected. It consists of a custom made concrete sarcophagus, with a taxidermy fox curled on top at one end. The fox’s unexpected location gently challenges viewers to consider their own relationship with mortality and question contradictory notions of death and passing: absolute finality versus transition from one state to another.

PENNYWEIGHT FLAT CEMETERY will be the site of ‘Unsettled’, by Frank Veldze, Suzanne Donisthorpe and Kate Osborne. A major interactive sculptural installation, ‘Dream Home’ by Frank Veldze, will be placed on site, transforming at night with light, soundscapes and projections of Kate Osborne’s ‘Ghost Colonial Woman’, exploring challenges faced by the communities who have lived in the region since colonisation – from Indigenous, settler and mining communities through to today.

Before & Beyond – 40 Years: 20 Festivals
13 to 22 March
2015 Castlemaine State Festival

Courtesy of the estate of the artist and Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

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