Sunday, March 24, 2013

The other island, Part 1

Moving to San Francisco has had this funny affect on me where I suddenly have a strong desire to see all parts of Australia, more than I did in the 28 years I was living there.  I think it's that all the California exploring I've crammed into my 5 months there have made me realise how lax I was about getting to know my own home country.

With this on my mind, C planned for us to go away to Tasmania on the free weekend I had in Australia, and oh I'm so glad he did!  From our gorgeous stay just outside of Hobart here, through to hiking at Cradle Mountain we both agreed that Tassie was a combo of some of the favourite holidays we've been on - mountains to rival New Zealand's South Island, wineries that give the Hunter a run for its money.  For this one post I'm going to gush about MONA, which operates on a totally different plane from even the Tate Modern and would be reason to visit Tasmania alone - where else can you explore a maze of a gallery, built by a mad, art-collecting professional gambler?
The Saturday markets greeted us on the surrounding lawns, the stalls housing all of my favourite things - art is sprinkled everywhere from the car park through to inside those teepees.
You must you must stop for a coffee on the lawn.  I loved that people actively chose beanbags over chairs to recline on while taking in the smashing view.
The entire gallery is underground, you start at the bottom and work your way up - this artwork by the entrance was one of my favourites, dropping randomised words made of water, pulled from the news, into a drain below.
There is no signage on the walls, you read up on the artworks using an app on an iPhone which they give you.  I loved little details like this, where you could vote on whether you loved it or not).  Along with the artwork details, you were also given snippets of commentary from David Walsh, or related articles, poetry and songs.
This was a quieter, favourite work of mine.  There are two live goldfish swimming in the bowl around that knife.  Not pictured here, but it has been curated with a pestle from the Roman era in the shape of a thumb on one side, and a sketch of a hand with its fingers cut off on the other side, by a contemporary Spanish artist.  This about summed up the gallery for me.
And, there is a whole maze of this - the architecture of this underground, stone playhouse is an artwork in itself.  David apparently lives onsite and walks around the gallery naked at night - ha!
Like so many travel snaps the pictures don't do the experience justice, and I sort of love that.  Like this post, MONA deserves one full day to itself, at the very least.  Go!


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