Supported by Bendigo Art Gallery in partnership with the Melbourne Art Foundation and supported by Artwork Transport, the Melbourne Art Foundation 2018 Commission was awarded to prominent Melbourne-based artist Ronnie van Hout.
Surrender, features two towering figures of more than 2.4 metres in postures of submission. Viewers might immediately think of the evening news and events in the Middle East. Or teenagers cowering in an American school. Or even our own submission to the barrage of violent news we are pummelled with every day. However, in a typically mischievous tactic, Ronnie van Hout’s forlorn figures are in fact sourced from toy soldiers, the kind regularly massacred by six-year-olds.
Van Hout, a bold and brash multimedia artist, who combines the surreal with the social and the serious with slapstick, tends to confound viewers. His sculptural works are known for their social narrative and drama. Surrender is ambitious in scale and concept. The figures’ monumental scale is uncanny – especially as they are otherwise life-like and speaks to the idea of the public monument or memorial.
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