|"Tim" as tatooed by Wim Delvoye (current temporary exhibition). Tim has agreed to be skinned and exhibited after his death.|
I recently visited the MONA gallery in Hobart. The gallery houses Australia's biggest private collection of art.
Professional gambler, David Walsh's collection is know for centering around the themes of death, sex and religion. Unsurprisingly, there are generous servings of confrontation. Whilst I'm not normally excited by works that set out to rock and shock, MONA was hands down, one of the most compelling and interesting museums I've ever been to. The artworks didn't just shock, they moved, challenged and excited and they were exhibited in the most refreshing, unique way.
A friend of mine described David Walsh, gallery owner, as having a "larrikin" attitude toward art. This certainly permeates the gallery experience. Visitors carry iPods, suggestively dubbed "The O" which guide visitors through the space. "The O" doesn't deliver your usual art commentary. It might tell you that the artist "is a nice boy" or that the artwork "is really f***ing disgusting." As you walk through the space, ancient relics are exhibited right beside a tower of TVs with singing Madonna fans. It didn't take long for me to realize that this wasn't going to be your run-of-the-mill gallery experience.
The gallery spans four levels of basement designed by Nonda Katsalidis. An underground world is entirely fitting for this subversive art space. It took at least 10 minutes to get over the excitement of the space before I could start concentrating on the art. Perhaps overpowering architecture isn't ideal in an exhibition setting but frankly, who really cares.
The bottom line is, MONA was simply awesome. Go! Go! Go!
|Descending into the space.|
|One of my favourite pieces, Bit.Fall by Julius Popp. Pulses of water and light drop like a waterfall, emulating the information overload synonymous with the technology age.|
|"Snake" by Sidney Nolan made up of 1620 paintings.|