I’ve been told “Don’t miss MONA”, it seems to have made quite an impression on people.
So on Monday Kimbra looked after the dogs and Jack and I went together to experience MONA (Museum of Old and New Art)
We board a large camouflaged trimaran with 5 sheep and a white cow as fellow passengers. The decor is dark and some walls are interestingly graffitted.The captain has a green parrot to help him in the wheel-house.
We cruise 20 minutes down the Derwent River.
We disembark at the bottom of steps leading up past a solid sandstone wall. The entrance to the reception area is through a crazy window wall that distorts and twists all before it.
There are 3 floors to explore and it looks like being a full day so we fortify ourselves with a coffee and fruit flan with cream (very decadent).
Then we enter the glass lift capsule. It almost feels like entering the time capsule of the Star-ship Enterprise. It descends a sandstone walled lift shaft, down 3 floors. The museum has been excavated out of the solid rock. It took 4 years to dig it all out.
First stop after coffee is a comfort stop in the toilets. Jack seems to be a long time. Eventually he comes out with a grin on his face. He’s been watching a video that started to play when he sat down, it was showing on the floor…
My goodness!!! What else are we going to find…
Well it is a fascinating building, rooms lead off in all directions, stairs twist and wind around. The exhibits are a strange collection of paintings, photographs, etchings, sculptures, installations, a mummy or two not to mention a big, fat, red car. The lighting is dim and you are given an Ipad that you can point at paintings etc and manipulate it to bring up the information about the art you are standing in front of. Wow amazing technology.
One room is dominated by a pile of marble grave stones, laying across them is a huge worm like creature with a human face and the room is filled with the sound of the heavy breathing from the worm. The heart of MONA is Sidney Nolan’s Snake (1970–72), a gigantic rainbow serpent of 1620 individual panels of flowers, animals, birds and human heads that will extend 45 metres along a huge curved wall. All of MONA has been built around this single work on the myth of creation. Peering into another coffin-like box you see a life-like figure of a girl being eaten by mice. The exhibits go on and on, each room reveals more weird and bizarre art. A lot of it was quite kinky, not exactly my style of art but it was an experience and yes I would recommend you visit MONA.
Photos are allowed but no flash or tripods can be used. We took some photos, of course, but the quality is not good.
Interestingly when I tried to download a couple of photos of art work they are blocked…
MONA is privately owned and built by David Walsh. He is a very interesting person and I found this article written about him in 2010 when MONA was under construction. It gives an insight into meaning and the ideas behind why it was built down into the sandstone and not created as museums usually are. It makes very interesting reading.