Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Trip to Turner to Monet: Triumph of Landscape

Headed straight out to the National Gallert of Art after unloading our stuff at the hotel. I was pretty eager about whole Monet exhibition and so we skipped lunch, not before leaving instructions with the hotel in booking an early dinner with Artespresso, a one chef hat restaurant.

Underground sheltered parking at the museum is free for 3 hours limit. There isnt a time stamp or anything to keep watch but I think most drivers had some sort of courtesy with one another in not abusing that trust. When we drove past the museum, I was enthralled by the ball being balancd at the entrance, casting a beautiful shadow on the wall.

When we walked through the revolving doors, our immediate vision were assualted with a HUGE crowd and Q. It was like a crowded sunday flea market before me. Thankfully, I had the brillance to buy the tickets in advance! I couldnt be more pleased with myself in that instant.

Then we headed towards the exhibit area, we were faced with another Q, just to gain entry to the Monet exhibition area. My husband as ever impatient, couldnt fathom the Q. It didnt matter to me though (despite I hate crowds generally). I figured the Q is good if it has intention to slow down the building traffic into the exhibition area so that people within can have more space to view the artwork. Afterall, who can appreciate anything when packed like a can of sardines?

No photography was allowed. So nothing to show folks, though u can see most of the works in the produced book. However, it was a worthy 2 hours well spent for an education in landscape art of a lifetime. Some of works are so painstaking painted that they actually come across looking like a coloured photo, which I am sure astound many others with me that day. The gravels, stones and trees were absolutely absolutely life like! Of course, no one could miss all the master artwork of the french masters, but the exhibit also showcased many (unknown to me) works from American and British artists who did landscape pieces in the same era as the masters.

As we move along from room to room, my husband showed me an artwork by a famous artist, neglecting to inform me of the artist's origin. I told him I wasnt impressed. My husband looked positively indignant. I told him I couldnt feel a theme for the big piece. There was lack of emotion, and it didnt evoke any emotion in me. Then I pointed out a smaller piece next to it, depicting a snow covered ocean in moon light and explained concisely how the artist made me feel the cold, solitude and desolation of a lonely freezing night out in the open. Whereas the earlier piece was technically good, but lacked the core essence of drawing emotions and thoughts, guessworks (subjective interpretations) out of its viewers. My husband stood a long time staring at the first artwork and finally conceded with where I was coming from. Then he informed me that the work was actually from a famous Australian Artist which many locals are proud of. I shrugged. Maybe that's why he is not a master after all and why Australia has never been part of the focal point in art history movement comparing to America, UK, France and Russia. Sometimes in art, skills isnt the main ingredient to success.

NGA in Canberra is amazing. They have stocked up in so many master work from Chagall, Cezanne, Claes Oldenburg, Duchamp, Mantis and Warhol. I wished I knew of this when I was studying art history back then. I love Oldenburg. he was my favorite subject in the course of studying history of POP art, more than Andy warhol.

The museum even bought the Blue work from Jackson Pollack and paid a shitload of money for it. Now, Pollack is one whose works that I never liked nor appreciated. Abstract work it may be but I still think its the most insulting definition to art work throwing cans of paint as a form of expression. Even my baby nephews can do a better job and colour coordination than he did. Then again, he was the pioneer doing something never been done and art evaluation has always been subjective.

We couldnt cover the grounds within the 3 hours and so we decided to return the next day. All in all, a totally satisfying day and I couldnt be happier that we made this trip. We overheard a woman saying that she drove over 10hrs all the way from Melbourne purely for the exhibit. Talk about dedication! I went browsing in the shop and decided to buy the book home as a momento.

We wanted to take a break at the cafe but it was jam packed! Can u imagine being told to wait for 30mins for hot beverages alone? No freaking way. So I would suggest get out of there and head to Manuka for cafe treats.
As we stepped out, I just wanted to capture the casted shadown of this Indonesian artist's artwork known as "Angels", more than freaking nightmare waiting to attack if you asked me. The robots made of old parts were scary to look at.

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