Friday 3rd March

For the first time in many days we woke to a grey sky.  It was quite cool.  A good day to visit an art gallery – and what an art gallery it is. Built slightly out of town on the edge of the harbour, the MONA is the $75 million Museum of Old and New Art created in 2011 by an interesting chap called David Walsh.  It houses everything from ancient antiquities to very modern art.  All are mixed together, an eclectic melange of painting, sculpture, textiles and digital exhibits. 

I call this picture ‘Waiting for Culture’!

We arrived early and waited outside for the gallery to open.  This is an external piece, a truck carrying a cement mixer made entirely of rusting metal filigree…….

The extraordinary inside installation is arrayed across three underground floors buiilt inside a sheer rock face.

The walls, corridor and ceiling of the interior.  

The exhibitions use the ultimate in modern technology to give you a multi sensual experience. 

There is currently an exhibition entitled On the Origin of Art on the very lowest floor.   The Visitors Guide describes it as follows: ‘We need art, but for what? David Walsh asked some of his scientist buddies this question. Four answers.  Four exhibitions.  One man’s crusade to piss off art academics’. This provocative statement summed up the exhibition – and David Walsh! 

 There were four very different themes looking at the motives for art  under the headings:

‘Art Because We Can’ by Steven Pinker

‘Natural Pattern in Art’ by Bryan Boyd

‘Art to Attract Mates’ by Geoffrey Miller

‘Art and Nature-Harnessing’ by Mark Changiz

All were entered along twisting dark hall corridors, so were approached from complete blackness. They were all very interesting and challenging in their own way, some very much more enjoyable than others and some that could not be described as anything less than pornographic.  
I think my favourite was the Kusama Room by an 86 year old Japanese lady.  

The exhibitions took very contrasting views, drawing on all manner of ancient and modern work it was amazing!  We took all morning to cover all of them!

After a lunch spent outside – all clouds had disappeared  – it was back down underground to look at the rest of the floors.  What a mix of material!  Some of my favourites were – an amazing rug from Baku in Azerbaijan………

A metal head – with a window to see the wires and birds inside…….. felt like me sometimes!
And two live  gold fish in a bowl on a chair…… under a knife !?!

There was singing and sound and videos in slow motion and a man demonstrating the technique ‘camera obscura’ – all over n all it was an amazing place set up by an amazing man who won the money to fund it in a gambling syndicate……. !

It was the last day for all of us to be together, Wendy and Helen are returning to Sydney on a Saturday.  We have been so lucky to have them with us – they are wonderful travelling companions – and we have to thank Sarah for all the homework and finding the amazing places where we have stayed. We hope that one day they will come to the UK and we can return their kindness …….  I am missing them already!

As it was,  we went out for a Greek meal reviewed all our favourite bits – which for me was every moment…..

Tomorrow (before they go) the famous Salamanca Market.  

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