The Australian Ugliness

Image for The Australian Ugliness

The Dulux Gallery, Ground Floor Melbourne School of Design Building (133)

  • Exhibition

The Australian Ugliness is a keynote of this year’s Open House Melbourne July program and will be installed in the Melbourne School of Design at the University of Melbourne alongside a free month-long program of related talks and special events.

The Australian Ugliness pays homage to modernist architect Robin Boyd (1919–1971) and his book of the same name, while exploring the ethics and aesthetics of our nation today. The three-channel video installation by Australian Artist Eugenia Lim brings forward a female, performative and Asian-Australian perspective to the screens and spaces of Australia. With visual poetry, pathos and wit, this is Australia rendered both familiar and strange, a country at once confident and ever-anxious.

Led by the gold-suited figure of The Ambassador (performed by Lim), the artist-filmmaker shape-shifts as student, tourist, client, property investor and resident across more than 30 sites and spaces across Australia, interrogating the diversity, liveability and the sustainability of “the Australian Dream”.

Working with WOWOWA, Eugenia will pay homage to one of Boyd’s last projects, Neptune’s Fishbowl (1970). With its unorthodox construction methods and utopian geodesic structure, Neptune’s Fishbowl is simultaneously ambitious, democratic and optimistic.

The Australian Ugliness is a keynote of this year’s Open House Melbourne July program and will be installed in the Melbourne School of Design alongside a free month-long program of related talks, walks and special events.

This is a free exhibition – no bookings necessary.

Exhibition Opening Hours

Monday to Friday 10am-5pm
Saturday 4, 11, 25 August 12-5pm
Sunday 19 August (Open Day) 10-4pm

Artist floor talks

Friday 10 August – Floor talk @ 12pm

Sunday 19 August – Floor talk @ 12pm (Open Day)

Book your spot at a floor talk now

About Eugenia Lim

Eugenia Lim is an Australian artist who works across video, performance and installation. Interested in how nationalism and stereotypes are formed, Lim invents personas to explore the tensions of an individual within society — the alienation and belonging in a globalised world.

The Australian Ugliness collaborators:

  • Eugenia Lim – writer, director, performer, editor
  • Alexandra George – producer
  • Virginia Kay and Jamie Houge – executive producers
  • Tim Hillier – cinematographer
  • Dan West – composition and sound design
  • WOWOWA with Robin Boyd – installation design
  • The Post Lounge – Kurt Royan (General Manager), Ela Furdas (Post Producer), Kali Bateman (Colourist), Alan Bennett (Online Editor)
  • Amos Gebhardt – mentor
  • Nat Cursio – choreography
  • Kat Chan – costume design and art department
  • Julia Spizzica – wardrobe assistant
  • Shylo Tui – lighting consultant (Walsh Street)
  • Tom Ross – stills photographer
  • Eleanor Orchard, Alice Cummins, James Andrews, Gregory Lorenzutti, Alice Dixon – costumed figures
  • Miau Teng Tan, Daria Tolotchkov, Aryan Azizkhani, Rifat Muharram, Phoebe Kramer, Alex Jeanne Macdonald, Tamara Baksheev, Matthew Li – MADA Wearing the City designers
  • Tony Isaacson – project manager
  • Peter Felicetti – structural engineer
  • Lapel Industries – construction
  • Paul Christian, Emeile Dawkins and John Fang – installation
  • 3D Inflate – inflatable
  • Mitra Farjpoor – curtain maker
  • Warren Davey – signwriter
  • Jacqueline Miller and Grace Carver – studio assistants.


Presented by

  • Open House Melbourne
  • Melbourne School of Design

Supported by

  • Australia Council for the Arts
  • Creative Victoria
  • City of Melbourne
  • Australian Cultural Fund
  • Gertrude Contemporary studio program

Cultural Partners

  • The Robin Boyd Foundation
  • Plot Media
  • The Post Lounge

Industry Partners

  • Kane Constructions
  • Ontera
  • Wojo Signs

Photo Credit: Eugenia Lim, The Australian Ugliness (2018) production still by Tom Ross