Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sydney Day um... 3? Museum of Contemporary Art

Had a bit of a down-day yesterday, by which I mean I spent quite a bit of time at the public library catching up on internet stuff (the library has swastika tiling at the main door. Probably from before swastikas had negative connotations...), then had a vegemite sandwich and blackberry straps on Circular Quay, then went to the Museum of Contemporary Art, then cooked dinner and watched The King’s Speech and Love and Other Drugs (both very good movies). I feel I should have done more, but it’s probably good to have a down-day. I woke at 6.20 this morning to make up for it :D

There was an exhibition by NZ artist Michael Stevenson on the first two floors of the museum, which was based on the twin events of the 1987 stock market collapse and the artist Jorg Immendorf’s visit to NZ. There was a broken wall of gold bricks, an aquatic apparatus meant to show financial flows, and amazing charcoal renderings of newspapers and photos. The entire exhibition gave a general sense of impermanence and shakiness, and the fact that you never know what will happen tomorrow.

A masterful part of this was making you take the stairs to the second floor, then the freight lift back to a hidden area of the first floor. The freight lift was gigantic, with 5 metre tall doors and a 3m x 8m space inside. I spent an age waiting for it, hearing it banging and clanking its way towards me, and when the doors shuddered open I stood staring at it. The attendant had to come over and assure me it was perfectly safe, and you were supposed to use it.

So I got in. The doors closed. I stood in the corner at an angle so I could see as much of the space as possible, and hugged my backpack to me. The lift jerked and crashed a bit, and then I was moving very smoothly down. You feel cut off from everything, with no way to know what’s happening outside or when you’ll get to the bottom, and the space is so huge it makes you feel pretty insignificant (another Everything-in-Sydney-is-Huge example!!). Then the lift banged again and shuddered a bit, and the doors took waaay too long to open.

When I’d been round the bottom part of the exhibition, I had to go back up in it.

The third floor was closed for renovations, but the fourth floor was open. My favourite piece there was a set of cars made from melted-down crayon. They’d been driven all over this track and onto the wall, and they left crayon tracks behind them. There were also some beautiful organza hangings with embroidery, and a set of neon lights with matching paintings. I should probably have noted down the artists’ names...

Some American tourists asked me to take a picture of them on Circular Quay, and then I caught the bus back and cooked cottage pie.

Ah ha! Under500words.

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