University of Melbourne at the Accademia di Belle Arti

Fne arts academy hosts the contemporary exhibition “First Commissions”

Editorial Staff
July 4, 2019 - 14:48

The Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze is hosting the opening exhibition of First Commissions on Thursday, July 4, an ambitious contemporary art project in collaboration with the University of Melbourne.


First Commissions allows five emerging Australian artists to create contemporary works of art based on the original instructions received by Michelangelo, which inspired the 16th-century masterpiece David, considered by many to be the most beautiful object ever created by man and a symbol of the perfection of the human body.  The contemporary works are rooted in the fundamental question of how far have we come in our understanding of physical beauty, encouraging the spectator to examine their own idea of perfection.




From left: Samuel Kreusler, Danna Yun, Jack Riley, Esther Stewart and Ashley Perry




Through Ashley Perry’s audio-visual interrogation of how digital algorithms shape our view of beauty and Esther Stewart’s manipulation of standard architectural conventions, the work of these visual artists challenges society’s restricted view of perfection and how to achieve it. Similarly, Jack Riley and Samuel Kreusler emphasize the beauty to be found in the imperfections of us all, with Jack’s choreography highlighting the vulnerability of the human body and the beauty in grotesque movements, and Samuel’s “broken” guitar and playful songs reminding us of the beauty to be found in everyday defects. Finally, Danna Yun’s classical composition suggests that it is only through overcoming our own restrictions that we can glimpse a fleeting image of perfection.




Performance by Jack Riley and Nikki Tarling



The Florence exhibition of First Commissions is part of a larger project with the University of Melbourne, featuring 32 artists whose works are similarly based on commissions received by the creators of some of the world’s most important masterpieces. Without knowing to which artwork the commission relates, the artists interpret the instructions through their own medium, incorporating personal experience and current global issues, from feminism to climate change, into their work.


The Australian exhibition will take place on the Southbank Campus in Melbourne on July 27 and 28.

more articles