Posts Tagged ‘gallery’

Fans and Typewriter Ribbon

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

On Thursday I attended an exhibition opening at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art that included a piece created by my friend, Andrew Lim. Andrew’s work is largely sculptural and generally involves simple, every day items that he has used to create new shapes and forms. His piece within the Tipping Point exhibition involves electric fans and some typewriter ribbon. As the fans lift and move the ribbon, it bounces against a white wall, slowly leaving an ink mark on the surface. The exhibition will be on for eight weeks and over this time the ink will build up and create interesting shapes and forms.

The simplicity of the piece and the hypnotic movement of the ribbon is brilliant. I could sit and watch it for hours.

A Visit to Manchester Museum

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

After almost a year of living in this city, I finally took myself to Manchester Museum. I had been there for the launch of their upgraded permanent exhibition space but there had been too many people drinking free wine to see many of the exhibits. Yesterday I treated myself with a trip to the museum to make me feel better about my eye situation as I figured the stuffed animals and ancient clay jars wouldn’t laugh at my puffy face.

The Manchester Museum is an anthropological gallery showcasing the wonders of animal and human development throughout history. There are displays of amazing taxidermies animals and birds and sections dedicated to items found in ancient sites both in England and across the world. There was a case of rocks, knife ends and hippopotamus teeth found in Crewsell Crags near where Ben used to live when he was learning to be a baker.

The museum was well put together although lacked a strong narrative – I often felt like the displays weren’t interconnected and I struggled to find a desire to ‘read more’. There were some very beautiful and artistic displays which were nice to look at but I can’t say I learnt much.

Good looking displays

Good looking displays

My favourite section was the live frogs, lizards and snakes – I always like seeing multicoloured frogs hopping around on tree branches. There was a very cool chameleon as well – he’d have more issues than me if he got conjunctivitis.

I call him Leon.

I call him Leon.

Colours, Colours, Colours

Friday, May 25th, 2012

I had a wonderful, visually provocative experience today when I went to the current exhibition at the Grand Palais. Each year an artist is invited to create a piece within the amazing, huge, open space inside the Grand Palais. For those of you who have visited Paris, you may know that this space is reserved for exhibitions and salons and usually isn’t easy to get into, and with its huge glass ceiling it is one of those places you fantasise about what it is like inside. So here was my chance.

I had been inside once before for a book salon and so knew the space was amazing. This time it was breath taking. Artist, Daniel Buren has been invited this year to create a work and he has filled the expansive area with large coloured circles that are suspended above you. You walk through this maze of colour and as the sun flows in through the glass room, the floor is covered in discs of blue, green, yellow and orange. It was just BEAUTIFUL.

Everyone needs to get on a plane and come to Paris now, just to experience this. Or just look at some of my photos.

Daniel Buren exhibition

Daniel Buren exhibition

Daniel Buren exhibition

Daniel Buren exhibition

Daniel Buren exhibition


Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

When my brother was visiting me in Paris, we went and saw a Stefan Sagmeister exhibition at the Les Arts Decoratifs gallery. This is one of my favourite galleries in Paris as the exhibitions focus on contemporary movements in fashion, media and art – areas of great interest to me.

Stefan Sagmeister is an Austrian designer who pushes and explores the use of design in some fascinating ways. He has gained a good enough reputation that he is able to really pursue his love for design in ways that many other people dream of doing. He is also a very intelligent and thoughtful guy and has presented numerous times for TED – a series of talks from people of various backgrounds on a wide variety of topics. One of Sagmeister’s talks was about a year-long sabbatical that he took in Bali where he stopped working for a year and focussed purely on idea development and exploring new design concepts. The personal and professional benefits that he gained from this sabbatical are quite amazing and it has made me think about how I am spending my time in Paris.

This past year was a bit of a sabbatical for myself – I didn’t work and I attempted to explore new avenues of creativity. However I ran into a problem that Sagmeister experienced himself; he had taken a sabbatical a few years prior and had felt it a failure as he went into it without a plan. He thought having all of the free time in the world would instantly provide him with the freedom to create new ideas and yet it turned out not to be the case. This is a problem that I have been experiencing and I am thinking of following Sagmeister’s lead and developing a structure for my time so that I actually achieve things in the next year. I am a person who loves structure and boundaries and I think this way of working would suit me well. While I love being able to do things whenever I want, I also find myself craving routine and regularity. Setting myself a timetable for when I focus on writing, when I make sock creatures, when I develop new ideas, would provide me with the basic structure I need to get things done. With this in place, who knows what great things I will develop in 2012. Perhaps that award winning book I keep talking about…

Maths and Mouse Brains Equal Sunday Fun

Monday, November 7th, 2011

What a great day! I woke up fairly late this morning due to a long and very enjoyable evening entertaining our friends, Sonia and Guibril, last night. After breakfast, I met up with some other friends, Becky and Vivien, and we headed off to the Fondation Cartier – a gallery space owned by the Cartier corporation which houses some very interesting exhibitions. The current exhibition is an exploration of mathematics, and presents an interesting mix of maths and arts in a single space. It is the first Sunday of the month, meaning most galleries in Paris are open for free. Not this one it seems. No matter – we paid our entrance fees and went in.

Fondation Cartier

The Fondation Cartier is in a really nice glass building surrounded by a very pretty garden

The exhibition consisted of seven or so large exhibits, usually requiring you to stand and watch for a fair length of time. The exhibits explored various concepts around mathematics and included robots that are able to learn; a large sphere that had images of mathematical problems projected on it; and descriptions of the mathematics involved in the Hadron Collider. For most of these, I stood back and watched the pretty pictures and said, “WOW!” a lot as completely foreign concepts were thrown at me. I have never been a particularly maths and science person, however I have always wished I was, purely for the stability and ‘factual’ nature of it all. Cultural theory is far too open ended and ‘there is no answer’-ish.

My favourite part of the exhibition was a series of films where mathematicians spoke for about three minutes on what mathematics means to them. Words that were mentioned and that struck a cord with me included creativity, exploration and expression. Obviously the films were made with the topic of mathematics and art in mind, however these mathematicians were passionate about how mathematics provided them with creative outlets and how it was beautiful, magnificent and amazing. A few of the mathematicians admitted their love for the physical shape of lines within equations or geometric forms. A mathematician by the name of Sir Michael Atiyah said that he felt maths to be a more creative way of expressing yourself and that the written word was archaic. I would require further explanation before I could agree with this statement but I found the concept fascinating. My whole concept of mathematics as a dry and quantitative thing was completely refuted by these mathematicians. They were all very passionate about their work and the affect the field has on the way in which the world functions. It was very inspirational.

After the exhibition, we went and ate galettes (yum.) before Becky and Vivien invited me to their laboratory. They are both neuroscientists who are studying (together) the way in which a part of the brain (the hippocampus) affects memory. At least, I think that’s what they’re studying. Anyway, they showed me their lab which is full of very, very cool machinery and instruments which they use to dissect mouse brains into teeny tiny pieces and then study them under microscopes. FASCINATING. They were kind enough to explain everything to me and I got to look in a microscope and then on a large screen I saw the neurones inside a mouse brain. So cool.


It's a giant microscope!

I have recently been reading a grant proposal they are working on, hopefully providing them with helpful advice about where to place commas, and I am completely in love with what they are studying. It amazes me to learn what other people do all day and how there are people in the world who are working towards solving problems and finding answers to how humans function and how we can make the world a better place. I makes me feel like what I do all day, every day (ie. nothing) isn’t really having a great impact on the larger picture. That said, I’m not sure I have the brain capacity or the inclination to study for that long in order to do so. So instead I will write about how great Becky and Vivien are and stay out of their way to ensure they can continue to do amazing things.

Becky and Vivien's view

Not only do they have cool machines, they have a great view from their lab, too!

Somewhat connected, yet also not, I am currently reading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, which makes me wonder about all of these science experiments and the desire for human improvement. Hopefully all science students are forced to read that book to ensure the world doesn’t follow Huxley’s concepts.

Jolly Good London-Town

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Jolly good. Rightio. That’s rubbish. Woh?!

As you can see, I became fluent in Pom while in London. Considering I spent the first two days apologising in French every time I bumped into someone, I think I have done quite well. I have since returned to Paris and appear to have forgotten how to speak French. Not so good.

Anyway, London was fun although it is one of my least favourite capital cities in the world. I don’t know what it is about London but I always find it confusing, over commercialised and lacking personality. Perhaps it is because I haven’t spent enough time there but usually when I go to a new city there is something about it that really interests and excites me. I don’t get that with London. There is plenty to see and do and I love the ‘free museums’ concept but it feels a little bit stale. I do think it is a beautiful city when the sun shines and the buildings turn a brighter shade of grey and the parks are lovely, but there really is something miserable about London. I honestly felt that Paris looked bright and cheerful in comparison when I returned home, despite the dirt and grime.

A highlight of the trip was our adventures with Tom’s family. We met a few of Tom’s mum’s cousins and were taken on a tour and out for lunch and dinner in the English countryside. Now THAT is something I enjoy. English countryside is beautiful, no matter what the weather, with its rolling hills and green, green grass. It is so fresh and colourful and the little country towns are quaint and adorable. We had good weather for our outing in the country which made things even better, but it was so nice to meet some of Tom’s extended family and to experience a bit of England outside the capital.


Green grass, blue skies, white clouds.

We were generously housed by my friends Angela and James who let me sleep on their blow up mattress every time I come to London. They are great hosts and always take me on out-of-the-ordinary nights out – this trip was no exception. On our first night in London, they had organised a dinner at an Austrian restaurant where we ate huge pieces of pork, drank giant steins of beer and Tom and I played the cow bells with the restaurant owner/entertainer who sang Austrian songs throughout the night. It was quite a spectacle. Once again I left thinking, “London has one crazy night life, or maybe it is just Angela and James.”

Austrian bells

Ring a ding ding!

We did manage to visit a few pubs while in England which is something I enjoy. France doesn’t have the same pub culture and seriously lacks good beer and cider. We also gorged on a few decent burgers to fulfil a desire that had been burning since we left Australia and Jus Burgers.

Byron Burger

A Byron Burger

One thing that London has done right is its museum and art gallery culture – I presume it is because everyone needs somewhere to hide while it is raining outside, so they make galleries free to enter. Fantastic. It means you can wander into a museum or gallery and not feel bad about just seeing part of the exhibitions. You can pick the bits that really interest you and then head to the next gallery when you’re done. We managed to visit the British Museum and the British Library and thanks to James’s membership card, we got into the Miro exhibition at the Tate Modern for free. I had been to see a Miro exhibition in Paris a few months ago and saw an extensive range of his sculptures. This time it was mostly his paintings and it was nice to see some more of his work. I really like his style and found it a particularly pleasing display.

So that was London. I have already prattled on about the concert and the mud on my shoes so I won’t go into that again. Tomorrow we catch a plane to New York (it seems the hurricanes have moved on) which I am now very excited about. I’m not so excited about the flight over but I will survive. I will try and write from the Big Apple, even if it is just to say, “IT’S MY BIRTHDAY ON THURSDAY!”

Discovering Dali

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Yesterday while wandering through Montmartre, we went into the Dali gallery which houses a collection of Dali’s work. There aren’t any particularly exciting works, but it is a nice showcase of his less well known pieces. I quite enjoy his view on life although I suspect he would have been a bit of a challenge to work with. I did enjoy his take on the Old and New Testaments – having visited the Louvre a few days ago and seeing painting after painting of Jesus on a cross, Jesus eating supper, Jesus as a baby etc, I found Dali’s version light and refreshing; almost comical.

There was also an installation piece of a chapel which when you first see it looks like a genuine chapel that has been there for centuries. It was actually made from cardboard and plaster and he had used a trompe d’oeil affect to create the allusion of space. While it appeared to be a big chapel, it was, in fact, a very small area and just like in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland, it just got smaller and smaller the further back you went. Very clever.

At the end of the gallery you arrive in the boutique where you can purchase your very own Dali masterpiece. A few spare thousand Euros can buy you a great conversation piece. While I like his work, even if I had the money I don’t think I would buy one. It would be difficult to find the right place to hang it and it would always just look like the mass-produced postcard copies that you can buy in the gift shop on the way out. Maybe one of his lesser known scribbles… What am I talking about? I have plane tickets to purchase – I’ll leave the art to those who know what they are doing.

Real Yet Not

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Feel like walking around a room thinking, “Hmm… ok…”? Wish you understood what it would be like to have weird mole-like creatures living in your back? Want to ‘explore the connections between science, nature, art, and the environment’ (Art Gallery, WA)? Well head on down to the WA Art Gallery and feast your eyes on Patricia Piccinini’s exhibition, Relativity. Piccinini works with fibre glass, silicone and human hair to create creatures who are alien in appearance but who have human qualities. Piccinini’s aim is to represent mutation in human form through experimental biology and the results are confronting.

Piccinini's work

Boy with friend

The pieces are very realistic and as you walk through the entrance, you are met by two young boys playing on a Playstation portable. First instinct is that they are two bored children who are waiting for their parents to hurry up so they can go and get McDonalds for lunch, but on closer inspection you realise they’re not actually moving and their faces have been aged. Their facial skin is wrinkled and there are signs of beard growth. I must admit that I stood next to them reading the introductory sign for at least 2 minutes before I realised they were models. Spooky.

Boy on Goat

WOO! The weirdest piece in the exhibition.

The collection isn’t extensive and a video interview with Piccinini in the middle room suggests there are a lot more pieces we could have seen. But definitely worth a visit and while you’re there, check out the Year 12 Perspectives exhibition. A lot of self portraits of poor art students who are ‘trying to find themselves’ but a few standout pieces that show the future is looking good for Australian art.