From Mundane to Friday: The Art of Everyday Melbourne


A discarded shopping list, a handwritten sign on a shuttered shopfront and the contents of a ticket collector’s jacket pocket have been transformed into works of art that reveal fascinating stories of Melbourne’s past and present.

From Mundane to Friday: The Art of Everyday Melbourne captures the mood of the city over the past few years and injects new life into a whimsical collection of found objects, ephemera and life’s detritus.

Ceramic artist Kenny Pittock has worked with the City of Melbourne Collection to create an exhibition that imbues value and cultural meaning into otherwise disposable objects. From Mundane to Friday features new works from Pittock that shine a light on the city’s pandemic past, alongside existing pieces from the Collection that encapsulate stories from pre and post-colonial settlement.

Through his artistic practice Pittock gives permanency to fleeting moments by creating ceramic replicas of temporary objects. As part of the exhibition, he has replicated 25 shopping lists gathered during Melbourne’s lockdowns, along with 19 signs found hanging on the front doors of businesses through the city on 28 March 2020.

Pittock’s unusual fascination with abandoned shopping lists harks back to his teenage years.

“I was 15 when I first got a part-time job as a supermarket cleaner and trolley pusher. I’ve worked there on and off for more than half of my life. Part of the job is getting rid of any rubbish left behind in the trolleys. It’s usually just receipts and catalogues, but often, more interestingly, it’s abandoned shopping lists. Rather than throw them away, I read them and soon began to collect them. I now have a collection of more than 5000 found shopping lists,” he said.

Melburnians’ recent experience of lockdowns can be seen in some of Pittock’s more recently acquired lists.

“While shopping lists may appear to simply capture mundane everyday life, these past two years have produced a form of everyday life that has been anything but mundane. Our world has changed during the pandemic, and this is reflected in our buying patterns. One of the lists featured here reads: Get pkt rice if you can and Butter chicken or something else. When panic buying struck, many lists began to include back-up plans for when a first preference wasn’t in stock. The lists also began to reflect a shift towards community spirit; for instance, one list includes Chocolates for neighbours.”

Likewise, A Sign of the Times, another project of ceramic mimicry, captures the hope, gratitude, concerns and fears of a city in lockdown. The 19 pieces, each hand sculpted from earthenware clay, kiln-fired and hand-painted, are exact replicas of signs hanging on the front doors of businesses through Melbourne city on 28 March 2020. They include signs from restaurants and cafes, gyms, retailers and public venues.