Introducing... The SUBSTATION


The SUBSTATION is a multi-art space presenting a curated program of contemporary and experimental work by local, national and international artists. Based in Newport, Melbourne, The SUBSTATION creates opportunities for audiences of Melbourne's west to see the best contemporary arts. We spoke to Brad Spolding, The SUBSTATION's Director, about the impact an international festival of photography will have in Melbourne's west.

Why is photography as a medium important for The SUBSTATION?

Photography is a medium which effortlessly crosses conventional genre and art form definitions with a long and significant history of experimentation. In line with the rest of our program and a curatorial drive to present contemporary and experimental art, photography practice is a defining art form of our time which is accessible, universal and powerful.

Why is it important for The SUBSTATION to participate in PHOTO 2020?

As the only art space in the western region of Melbourne with a focus on contemporary and experimental arts, partnering with major international festivals is vital to The SUBSTATION’s ambition to creating opportunities for artists and audiences in the west to experience the best of contemporary art. Our partnership with PHOTO 2020 enables us to present a program with further reach, broaden our audience and attract new audiences to our unique venue and part of Melbourne.

Why is it significant that PHOTO 2020 is taking place in Melbourne’s west?

Based in an area of over 130 cultural groups and 150 languages, The SUBSTATION is at the centre of one of the fastest growing population areas in the country. Our 100-year-old repurposed industrial building, renovated by our local community, is a literal symbol of the transformation taking place in our area and more broadly across the Western suburbs of Melbourne.

Why is the relationship between photography and truth important to investigate in the post-internet age?

The artist we will present for 2020 practices across multiple disciplines in the search for a truth between the cracks of living things. Whether it is in the primal impulse of desire between animals, the gaze of a gender queer person falling through clouds, or the bare human forms of dancers railing against the surfaces of the earth, the artists’ work strips back layers of conditioning to capture an underlying truth about the communal act of being.

What can we expect from The SUBSTATION during PHOTO 2020?

The SUBSTATION have invited an artist who practices across photography, film, sound and large scale installation to present their first survey show. These astonishing and deeply collaborative works will be staged throughout the unique architectural spaces of our building.

Brad Spolding is the Director of the Substation. Over the last 15 years, Brad has worked as a producer for independent artists and companies including ILBIJERRI Theatre Company, Lucy Guerin Inc, Rising Tide Productions, Back to Back Theatre and Snuff Puppets. In 2017 The SUBSTATION was awarded the Green Room Award for Best Curatorial Contribution for Contemporary & Experimental Performance following the first program under Brad’s direction.

Founding Partners
  • Bowness Family Foundation
  • Naomi Milgrom Foundation
Major Government Partners
  • City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program
  • Creative Victoria
Major Partners
  • Maddocks

PHOTO Australia respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands upon which we work and live, and the rich and diverse Indigenous cultures across what is now called Australia. For over 60,000 years, Indigenous arts and culture have thrived on this sacred land, and we honour Elders and cultural leaders past and present. This was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.

01–24 March