Linden New Art: picturesque inside and out
Purchased by the St Kilda City Council in 1983, the Linden Arts Centre and Gallery – now Linden New Art – has been a cultural beacon for art lovers across the City of Port Phillip for decades.
We chatted to Linden’s graphic designer and marketing manager Matthieu Vendeville about his journey to Linden (and Australia), and how Linden remains a key part of Port Phillip’s art scene.
From Paris to Port Phillip
Vendeville joined Linden only three months ago and has quickly developed a fond affection for the building and its story.
“It’s fascinating to learn the story of that building and all the now renowned artists whose careers skyrocketed after their exhibitions at Linden”, Vendeville said.
Originally from France, Vendeville and his partner moved to Australia 10 years ago. First came a gap year, which turned into a second gap year. Unable to resist Australia any longer, Vendeville made the permanent move.
During his time working for Alliance Française Melbourne, Vendeville lived literally around the corner from Linden; the exhibitions and culture forming a key part of his Australian life from the beginning.
A unique art gallery experience
Vendeville agrees that St Kilda is a creative hub that thrives on sites like Linden, taking advantage of the beach-side vibrancy and edginess that makes St Kilda so popular.
“Contemporary art gives something else, another layer, something outside of the box that always been part of St Kilda’s DNA I think,” Vendeville says.
One unique part of why Vendeville and so many others love Linden is their focus on displaying new artworks by mid-career artists.
“What you see in Linden today is probably the upcoming famous artists that you will see in bigger museums later on. It’s exciting to be part of that creative avant-garde and I’m so glad this is happening in St Kilda,” Vendeville said.
The artistic community of Port Phillip
Whether it’s the ties to the building’s history or the new visions displayed today, locals are constantly drawn to Linden. Currently, Linden Locals is an exhibition that shares the stories and photos of the local patrons, celebrated the new renovations at Linden and the St Kilda home.
Community days, “crafternoons”, or “meet the artist” events are specifically designed to bring the community together, in what Vendevile describes as “special moments.”
Other special moments include the Linden Postcard Show, which has run since 1990. This open-entry ‘small artwork’ exhibition allows emerging and established artists to present their talents on the hallowed Linden walls and capture the community’s attention.
“The Postcard Show is the perfect example of how vibrant the community is, and how successful it is after 29 years,” Vendeville said.
What’s coming up at Linden?
September at Linden holds a selection of exciting exhibitions by a variety of artists, which Vendeville explains will “explore what a dystopian future (as opposed to utopian future) could look like”.
“Alicia King is using quite unusual materials such as rare earth magnets, fluorescent gasses and tissue cultures. This exhibition raises ethical questions about the use of technology to manipulate nature.”
“Simon Finn is exploring the relationship between human life and oceans with underwater dwellings, considering that humans will have to spend more time under water in the future.”
“Brodie Ellis is considering the impact of space travel, with videos and installation of debris of a failed rocket.”
In addition to these upcoming events, there will be several special events, discussions and activities that will “trigger a lot of debate in the community in the way we look at our future”, according to Vendeville.
From its humble beginnings in 1983 to an important part of St Kilda’s art culture, Linden New Art is a must for all art lovers.
Linden New Art:
26 Acland Street, St Kilda
Tuesday to Sunday 11 am to 4 pm