There is no denying that swimming pools are embedded into Australian culture, and now they also hold a place in Melbourne’s art scene. The Pool exhibition arrived to the NGV last week and will be running until 18 February 2018.

Tony Elwood, director of the NGV, says “whether natural or manmade, inland or coastal, pools are undeniably linked to the Australian lifestyle and our national psyche…reflect on the idea of the pool as a place of cultural exchange, socialising, competition and reminiscence.” 

Taking interactive art to new extremes, The Pool premiers in Australia after its success at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2016 where it received over 100,000 visitors. The creation is presented by the Australian Institute of Architects, and curated by Isabelle Toland and Amelia Holliday from Aileen Sage Architects with Michael Tabet.

The Pool features wooden decking and bespoke pool lounge chairs, so visitors can choose whether to sit poolside or take the plunge when exploring the new exhibit. Created as a multi-sensory experience of water, light, sound and smell, The Pool showcases the connection to landscape through one of Australia’s greatest cultural symbols.

Politicians are also getting behind the NGV initiative. Martin Foley, Minister for Creative Industries, says the exhibit “explores the quintessential role the pool plays in Australian life, and also the role architecture and design play in shaping our identity and experiences. This exhibition wowed the crowds in Venice and is yet another must-see for visitors to dive in to at Australia’s most popular gallery.”

Within the exhibit, there are eight ‘lanes’ featuring audio excerpts from prominent Australians, who each share their individual relationships with the pool. Each story explores the varying elements of Australia’s cultural identity, and how the pool fits into it.

Olympic gold medallist Ian Thorpe, Romance Was Born fashion designers, author Anna Funder, and Aussie rock musician Paul Kelly are several of the names sharing their stories in the art installation.

Entry to the exhibition is free, and more details can be found on the NGV website here!