Desire Lines City Gallery – Melbourne Town Hall

FA23875 Photo Tobias Titz scaled
FA23875 Photo Tobias Titz scaled

15 March-26 July 2023 

08e3a815 fdc1 4c8d 8b90 1cbfdc440ed5Desire Lines is an exhibition that explores emotive and sentient relationships of city life. Titled after a term used in landscape architecture describing an improvised route or path made in defiance of an official roadway or designated direction, Desire Lines suggests a covert journey through the City of Melbourne’s collection of 12,000 objects and artworks.

Desire Lines has been curated by Irish contemporary artist Sean Lynch. The lived city is far from rational; it is a place of curious encounters and beguiling coincidences, from forgotten handprints in Melbourne’s walk of fame and signage removed from unknown city buildings to an apparently damaged architectural model along with the history of public art and environmental campaigns.

Desire Lines also presents the work of artists Hossein Valamanesh, Laresa Kosloff, Sonia Kretschmar and Miles Howard-Wilks, artworks dedicated to finding new ways of seeing and understanding the complex motifs and layers of urban existence.

FA23911 Photo Tobias Titz

A motif for Desire Linesis evident in the presentation of brass signage recently discovered in a plastic box at the collection’s former storage depot on Little Bourke Street. These letters, rendered in Helvetica font, once spelt ‘CITY OF MELBOURNE’ on a building, although exactly where or when no one seems to know.

For Desire Lines, the letters have been salvaged to free associate and form anagrams of new words and phrases – a hidden poem in the city’s midst. A collection of images, contextual information and commentary on objects in the exhibition are accordingly featured in these pages to accompany the exhibition at City Gallery, Melbourne Town Hall.

An exhibition catalogue, designed by Stephen Banham and richly illustrated with an essay by Sean Lynch, will be freely available. In his public art commission for the City of Melbourne (CoM), Distant Things Appear Suddenly Near was a temporary public artwork at University Square, Carlton. Sean Lynch lives and works in Askeaton, County Limerick, Ireland.


He represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 2015. Prominent solo exhibitions include Edinburgh Art Festival (2021); Henry Moore Institute, Leeds (2019); Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2017); Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver (2016); Rose Art Museum, Boston (2016) and Modern Art Oxford (2014). He has held fellowships and been a visiting professor at universities and colleges in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada, and is a graduate of the Stadelschule, Frankfurt. 

His work is represented by Ronchini, London and Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin. Alongside Michele Horrigan, he works at Askeaton Contemporary Arts, an artist-led residency, commissioning and publication initiative situated in the west of Ireland since 2006. 

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