JAMES GEURTS
NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA

FLOOD PLAIN

2018

National Gallery of Victoria: Exhibition Text

Floodplain identifies a series of sites and cultural institutions along the floodplain of the 242 kilometre Yarra River (Birrarung) to examine conceptually where the ancient river and the contemporary city collide.

Based on more than six months of field and archival research undertaken by James Geurts at the State Library Victoria and Melbourne Water, this project explores the impact of floods on the environment and their residue. Floodplain examines where the river has been significantly rerouted or widened over time, in order to influence the potential of future floods, and it draws out unique connections between the river and key cultural institutions situated within the Yarra floodplain.

This project suggests the natural power of great floods through a series of photographs capturing site-specific light installations. The neon sculptures by Geurts signal the high-water marks of historic Yarra floods, and represent the debris and residue left after the water has subsided. His photographs, taken at the intersection of day and night, give form to the invisible force and breadth of floods.