Marco... Polo! Bombs away. Slip slop slap.

Australia's love affair with the humble pool runs deep; its place in our national psyche is akin to cultural worship. Every aussie child can recall summer afternoons in the backyard pool, taking part in any number of ridiculous games from pool noodle races to hand stand competitions till your fingers shrivel up like prunes. 

So it makes sense then that one of Australia's most revered cultural institutions, the National Gallery of Victoria, would hold an exhibition dedicated to another jewel in Australia's cultural crown: The Pool.

Opening on 18 August, The Pool: Architecture, Culture and Identity, is a multi-sensory installation of water, light, scent and sound, taking the shape of an 11 metre-long pool.

The interactive space will be complete with wooden decking and pool lounge chairs, which reveal the connection between landscape, culture and architecture through a singular architectural form.

Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV, said, 'Whether natural or manmade, inland or coastal, pools are undeniably linked to the Australian lifestyle and our national psyche. We encourage visitors to dangle their feet in the water or relax poolside as they reflect on the idea of the pool as a place of cultural exchange, socialising, competition and reminiscence.'

The exhibition holds its Australian premiere following a successful showing at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale where it received more than 100,000 visitors.

The installation also includes a series of eight 'lanes' that present audio excerpts from eight prominent Australian figures who share their personal stories to further reveal the relationship between the pool, its architecture and Australian cultural identity: Olympic gold medal winning swimmers Ian Thorpe and Shane Gould; environmentalist and 2007 Australian of the Year Tim Flannery; fashion designers Romance Was Born; writer of best-selling book The Slap Christos Tsiolkas; winner of the 2012 Miles Franklin Prize Anna Funder; Indigenous art curator Hetti Perkins and Australian rock musician Paul Kelly.

The Pool: Architecture, Culture and Identity is on display at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia from 18 August 2017 to February 2018. Entry is free.

New exhibition celebrates Australia’s love affair with pools