Every now and again I don’t mind a bit of art.

Recently I went with Ellie to check out the Art Gallery of New South Wales, in Sydney. Its open late till 9pm on a Thursday, so perfect for after work, and they put on a free bus to take you back to the train station.

There are 4 floors, with collections showing European, Asian, Australian, Modern, Contemporary and Aboriginal art.

I’m not any sort of art critic, but there were three pieces in the gallery that I really remember. I guess they are the ones that promoted some sort of emotional reaction, all different.

They give evidence

They give evidence

The first one was from the Asian gallery and was called ‘They give evidence’.  Essentially its 16 larger-than-life human sculptures, lined up in four rows, holding their arms out with empty clothes / body forms of people and children in them. Its all about social oppression and injustice. Their faces were creepy, and walking around in between the sculptures did make me feel sad, even before I read the explanation. It reminded me of something similar at the Holocaust museum in Berlin and was all in all pretty thought provoking.

The second piece was definitely modern art. In one of the museum alcoves I came across another sculpture, this time of a dead body covered in a sheet with its legs poking out, and black and white photos of rooms on the wall. (Stick with me). This was all a bit freaky. By the end of the body was a sign next to a door which I started reading, thinking it was an explanation. It was actually about low lighting, enter at your own risk, inform someone before you go in. Slightly confused I wondered if it was an exhibition, so I tentatively tried the door. At this point the security man noticed and asked if I wanted to go in. I confirmed I could, had a quick think about it, and said OK. He pointed out to me another door in another bit of the museum, and told me I would come out there.

Creepy art

Creepy art

So, in I went. Inside was very dark. It was like a basement, with a series of disorientating rooms, doors, low ceilings and very low light. Now in normal circumstances this was nothing to be concerned about, but the whole dead body outside the door really made me on edge right from the off. Walking in at first I just felt a bit creeped out, like when you go on a Ghost Train and you know something is going to scare you, you’re just waiting for it. I really expected someone to jump out at me! Nothing happened, but this just made it worse. The tension just went up and up and my heart started going faster and faster. In the dark I felt alone, and frankly, scared. It was confusing which way to go. I just really wanted to get out of there. At one point I thought about going back the way I came, but remember it being too confusing and thinking I would just get lost! I don’t mind the dark, I don’t mind small spaces, but I do read too many horror books, and it felt like a really bad place. I was probably only in there a couple of minutes, but I was so relieved to find the door out.

I’m not really sure if it was ‘art’, but it certainly had a big impact on me. If it hadn’t been for the body out the front, I wouldn’t have had nearly as much of a reaction – which makes it a good lesson on how the context of something can make you think totally different about it. 

To end on a lighter note, the final piece I enjoyed was a washing line full of fruit bats. Yes, that’s right! It was a four section rotary washing line. The washing line was decorated with aboriginal patterns, and from it were hanging 100 or so papier mache fruit bats. I just thought it was really fun, quirky, and I like animals, so it made me smile.

Batty art

Batty art

Anyone else seen some good art recently?

 

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