Wednesday, April 13, 2011

rock my world!

I just have to say straight off the bat that after visiting this art space, my art life will never be the same again! It's sad but true! I have come back home a changed person, and its all because of one man... and one space. That being M.O.N.A in Hobart and its private owner David Walsh.

Lets start at the beginning shall we ...

When thinking about places to travel to after our Japan trip was postponed, Kylie {my good friend and like minded art nut} decided that there was one place that sounded interesting, and could be booked quickly i.e. in 2 hours. One place that we both had on our to-do lists. And that was to see visit the new private, purpose-built art space in Hobart called The Museum of Old and New Art or MONA.

And it did not disappoint. I described it the other day as crack for art lovers. And crude as that may sound, that is exactly what it is. A place where your head can, and will explode, with new ideas, new technology, and new curation.

So the day started at 11am, as we had booked our tickets for the MONA ferry the day previous. It was completely sold out on the Saturday, being all shiny and new, the place was completely swamped with art tourists from all over the country and overseas. In our queue we had people from Melbourne, Sydney and Mullumbimby! So at 11am Sunday we took the scenic ferry ride, to Berriedale which is a bit of Hobart coastline, or headland, that David has bought to house the massive museum and his winery, which sits alongside the museum! See already this space is amazing.... and bizarre!

You then walk up from the water to the entrance which is the image above. Nothing much to look at right? A small cottage with a fun-house mirror entrance way. But then you look around and things are not at all what they seem!

This is from the museum forecourt, looking out to the Hobart suburbs...

And this is when you look down! A sheer drop down, showing you that the museum is underground like a bunker.... or like one of the mills or factories that are found in Hobart. It is so unassuming and discrete and it doesn't want, or need, to be showy. That all happens when you go inside... This is looking out the other way, across the Derwent river to the other side of the city....
And of course you have to have a tennis court?! Really? We could not work this one out. Was it an artwork? A surrealist statement? A joke? If any of you know please email me and let me know....
The queue didn't take too long and once inside you were greeted by some lovely attendants that give you an i-phone, some earphones and a few instructions on how to use it. All the information about works, interviews with artists, essays, audio accounts, and of course David's thoughts on each work {under his alias GONZO} are all contained within each device. All for you... all for free! I should also say he has made it free to enter the museum too!

Then you deposit your bags in the clock room and go down...down ... down.... and, as you can see, its a long way down from the image above.

Melbourne architect Nonda Katsalidis worked closely with David to produce a space that is big, cavernous, respectful to the headlands natural elements found on site, and of course, respectful to the art. Actually the whole building is an artwork, to be admired and studied.

Makes you dizzy I know! But how spectacular? And my images do not do it justice!!
And so to the basement of the space, which is like the beginning... {see... already flipping it all on its head!!...} and straight to the bar! With David having such a love of his winery and brewery you can start the day off with a tasting. Or any thing else you fancy. And then sit back on an old chair or daybed, before immersing yourself in art.

The next few images are of the collection and the rooms. It is only to give you an idea as I feel it's difficult to do the collection or each room justice. But here is a small sample.

Above is Scar Tissue by Fiona Hall from the knitted video tape series, which was in amongst antiquities from Ancient Egypt {a favourite period for David}, and in the background you can see the sculpture of a dead horse by Berlinde De Bruyckere from Belgium called P XIII.

So as you can see ITS ALL INTEGRATED! No time lines. Like the Tate Modern but even more complex...

One of my favourite works... with its own room... is Loop System Quintet by Conrad Shawcross {England}, which renders complex light drawings with each movement from each of the five automated wooden machines.

Then you have the mezzanine floor dedicated to the face/body. Beautiful curation and beautiful collecting. In the glass case you can see Head of a Man, Italy, 1600-1700. And its all dark and moody...

This is looking down onto a massive Damien Hirst and a lovely wooden sculpture installation by Jon Pylypchuk {USA} which was quirky and just a little bit crafty!

And finally ...

A shot of the central atrium, which is as confusing as it is fun! David wanted to play with our minds, and so he did! But I loved it. No uniformity, no history, no chronology, no ordered displays or rooms, or numbers on works. Just chaos theory at it finest. Applied to art. Old and new. And in my mind its f*&kin brilliant!

So I came, I stayed 6 hours, I had a lovely drink at the bar to take it all in.

And it was NOT enough!

I will be back.


boxeduck said...

Hey tiny that is truly amazing! I'm not quite sure how I'd cope with the chaos theory curation, but I'm now dying to find out!!! Thanks for the write up, it's sounds incredible.

Alenka said...

Sounds amazing Michele!! Thanks for your detailed post, can't wait to get down there too! xx