The Australian Ugliness 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”.

The TAU installation design is by WOWOWA who proposed a gold and yellow reinterpretation of Robin Boyd’s Neptune’s Fishbowl (1970) to house Eugenia’s work. 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.


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, 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
Dan West, Jessie French, Emma McRae, Georgia Nowak, James Stephens, Louise Terry, Rachel Feery, Simon Winkler, Belle Bassin, Sophia Cameron, Bridie Wilkinson – Walsh St partygoers
Tony Isaacson – project manager
Peter Felicetti – structural engineer
Lapel Industries – construction
Paul Christian, Emeile Dawkins, John Fang – installation
3D Inflate – inflatable
Mitra Jafarpour – curtain maker
Warren Davey – signwriter
Ark Coatings – painting
Jacqueline Miller, Grace Carver – studio assistants

The project is made possible through the generous support of the following partners:

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
Wojo Signs

Location Partners
Australian Academy of Science
Australian Islamic Centre
MAB NewQuay Docklands
Melbourne Museum
Melbourne Recital Centre
National Museum of Australia
Save Our Sirius
RMIT University
Scape Swanston
Sydney Opera House
University of Melbourne
Waverley Council

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

Important Details


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

Time & Date

Exhibition dates:
23 July–25 August 2018
Free – no bookings necessary

Gallery opening hours—July
Monday to Friday, 10am-5pm
Saturday, 12pm-5pm

Artist talks July—August
28 July, 12pm – Eugenia Lim, Andre Bonnice
29 July, 12pm – Eugenia Lim, Andre Bonnice
3 August, 12pm – Eugenia Lim
10 August, 12pm – Eugenia Lim
19 August, 12pm – Eugenia Lim
Places limited; bookings essential

Book now

Architecture is Everyday
Tuesday, 24 July
6.30pm – 8pm
Bookings essential

Book now


Stay in the loop