The Mystery Doll at La Trobe

The Mystery Doll at La Trobe

22 Oct 2009

LUMA Curator Vincent Alessi gives some information about the upside down statue at La Trobe University and the recent modification to it.

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Who made the statue?
It’s by an artist called Charles Rob, he’s a Queensland based artist.

Who is Charles La Trobe?
That’s one of the great ironies, Charles La Trobe was the first Governor of Victoria and was responsible for establishing Melbourne University, the Botanical Gardens, the State Library.  But historically has since been forgotten really.  

Why is it upside down?
It’s really asking the question whether these sort of grand statues on plinths, big marble plinths, whether they're valid any more. Whether that’s the way we should be remembering people.  So by inverting that he’s actually undermining the role of that sort of sculptural presentation of past figures.  The work behind us is actually life size, so that’s as it would be if it was inverted the other way.  The other reason is Charles La Trobe is known a lot better in England so if you're viewing this from England, you're actually viewing it the right way up.

When was it bought to La Trobe?
Charles Robb donated the work to us in 2006.  It was installed in 2007 which celebrated the 40th anniversary of the University so its been there since then and its had a rather interesting history while it’s been here.

The Doll?
It looked rather interesting, having this bright little pink spot and not knowing what it was doing.  It had sort of a surrealist element about it, which we we’re quite happy about.  It didn’t damage the work and the wind has subsequently blown it off.  We’re happy for people to get quite up and close and personal with it as long as they don’t damage it.




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