Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Tara Leah or The Wedding

Finally the day arrived to pack up the car and head up to the centre of Tasmania to The Wedding at Tara Leah Lodge. The location, as you can see by the photo above, was just picture-perfect. The lodge, magnificent. In their own words "The Lodge was originally built in the 1930’s, in an Art Deco style, to house the cream of Tasmania’s pioneering hydro electricity officers and gentlemen. The guest book featured the powerful and famous and if you have the time to listen, has hosted more than its share of the risqué! Comprehensively refurbished in 2006, The Lodge retains the original 1930’s craftsmanship and now incorporates contemporary Tasmanian design and the latest in modern communication." And, yes, it is indeed as wonderful as that all sounds.
The wedding group gathered in the Lodge Lounge, immaculately restored with it's gorgeous pressed tin ceiling – swoon! – and it's book shelves lined with vintage children's books, roaring fireplace and expansive couches...it was made for me!
Mr E fell in love with this room also, but for very different reasons. His, because it also houses super premium cognacs, not to mention a selection of over 200 malt whiskies! I think, each in our own ways, we'd died and gone to heaven. There was a whiskey tasting that evening and I learned a lot from Julian, our host. So if you go and stay for a night, I highly recommend the tasting, even if you're not a connisseur like moi.
The next day (The Day) we took a little walk after breakfast at the surrounding houses (also accommodation). How beautiful are these 1950's bungalow's? I especially love the classic '50's iridescent green paint work on the place below.
I've gotten distracted. We went for a morning stroll, by some marshlands...
Came close to some very big and very hairy beasts...
Then made our way back to the lodge, and looking at the masterful achievement that are the the great water pipes carving through the landscape of the Hydro Electric Commission.
Late morning we took a little journey and bush walk to a very scenic part of the canals by which we had a picnic luncheon and a glass of bubbly.
I snapped away at the local flora, lovely mix of textures and colours.
I was especially enamored with this mass of different mosses. Really stunning.
And this moss on a dead tree, all delicate and pale. Lunch eaten, we headed back to the Lodge, and after a little nap, dressed and went to the wedding ceremony and then onto dinner. The wedding was very classy, gorgeous, wonderfully intimate, and I struggled to hold back the tears. The Bride looked stunning in her Oscar de la Renta dress. The Groom made a touching speech, vows were exchanged, and they were announced as 'Mr & Mrs' and the champagne flowed! And I thank my dear friends to the privilege of having us there.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Museum of Old and New Art

MONA. The Museum of Old and New Art. Wow. I have to say, even on hearing about this though my mum (already been six times since opening), and friends there, and through friends in Amsterdam emailing me scanned articles featuring MONA in prominent art journals (thank you, Annette), I imaged this would be pretty cool, but nothing really prepared me for actual experience. The museum is incredible. Mostly so, I believe, as it is the gift of one man, Mr David Walsh, (pictured above*) to the public. That's right, Tasmania's have free entrance to this beautiful and inspiring place. If you live in Tasmania and don't go once a month, I think there must be something wrong with you. It's truly world-class in every way. From the art, to the architecture housing these wonderfully eclectic pieces, to the beautiful setting of MONA on the banks of the river Derwent, it's a pleasure, every minute, just being there.
As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I went with Mum, Dad, and my fiancée, Mr E. The ferry trip up was lovely. I hadn't gone up the Derwent river since a school trip to New Norfolk in high school and it bought back lots of memories. Note, best to book ahead if you want to take the ferry, especially in peak tourist times. We caught the earliest ferry in order to make the most of our day at the museum.The fist piece of art I saw was this: Cement truck 2007 by Wim Delvoye. Born 1965, Wervik, Belgium; Delvoye lives and works in Ghent, Belgium. And I loved it immediately. Absolutely beautiful.
I took a lot of photos, none of which really do it any justice.
MONA have an exhibition of Wim Delvoye opening on December 10. Super bummed I'll miss it.Then after a quick coffee and macaroon (which was sublime) we four headed into the museum where it promptly blew my socks off. The first thing that grabs you is the scale of the space, which is vast, yet cozy at the same time. The sandstone walls have been carved into like butter creating a vast chasm, and the majority of spaces are very dark, with spotlight on the art only, which makes it very intimate.
There are spaces specifically designed for different permanent installations, like bit.fall 2006–7 by Julius Popp.Then, sprinkled amongst the modern art, or almost hidden in little peep-holes in the gallery space walls is the old art. I loved this Head of a mummified cat Egypt, Late Period to Ptolemaic, c. 664–30 BCE, Unknown maker. The following is just a tiny cross-section of whats on offer, which is nothing less than a gourmet art-feast for the eyes. And on it, we gorged ourselves. There's another twist to this museum, too. There are no placards next to the art giving you the standard obligatory info. Instead you're handed an ipod at the door, which has The O system on it. It's free, simple and intuitive to use. It tells you all the usual info you'd expect in the Summary, plus there's Ideas, Gonzo (a word from David), Art Wank (yes, it's actually called that, which I love; critic's review on the piece), and Media (audio which has info, and interviews with the artists). It's the future of museum experiences. Not more crowds of people all jostling to read a tiny placard. Everyone is easy and relaxed as they experience each piece when they like, and from any place near the art piece.
The application continually updates based on your location within the museum, bringing all those items in your immediate vicinity to top of the viewing list. The feature I thought was a clever touch was the voting options, viewers can either 'love' or 'hate' a piece of artwork. You get a nice statistic (and wow, how I love a good stat!), on the piece you've voted on. Good fun. And the best part is that it doesn't end when you leave the museum. If you save your tour at the end, (and I highly recommend you do), by simply plugging in your email address, you're sent a personal link that enables you to go back online and not only see your tracked tour (mine above), but also which artworks you saw, and even those you didn't, plus all the information mentioned above is there for you to enjoy again, or share through your social network. MONA says it's "the first system in the world designed to replace traditional artwork wall labels." And they did a pretty bang on job with it. High-fives all around.
Another piece I was drawn to for it's fine ceramic work: Formations of Silence: Freudian Flowers 2009 by Juz Kitson.And always a fan of Howard Arkley. Above: Large House with Fence 1998.One last point on the art, there's a room with a mummy that only takes two people at a time. Go. Line up. It's worth it.
Loving the Kiss Falcon. Just kidding, but this falcon does rock.
Take the guided tour. Part of the museum was closed off while they were installing a new exhibition, but the tour takes you to the library and other nice rooms and more art! Like Sternenfall / Shevirath ha Kelim 2007 by Anselm Kiefer, above and below.
My final note is just one big 'thank you' to Mr Walsh for this wonderful, wonderful gift. I've read that Mr Walsh built this museum as he'd built a more modest one previously and no one had come. Well, I'd been, and I remember that museum vividly with it's Roman mosaic in the floor, extensive coin collection and tribal pieces. Apparently there's a huge warehouse where the man has stashed away his life's collections, and that these pieces will be featured at MONA on a rotating basis. So there'll always be something new to see. Lucky old Tassie! I'm so envious you guys all have this on your doorstep, hope you're all making the most of it.

MONA: 655 Main Road Berridale, Hobart, Tasmania 7011.
Open: Wednesday – Monday 10am - 6pm.
Follow MONA on Facebook here.
How to get there: visit MONA's transport link here for ferry info and to buy tickets.

*Sorry to not credit the photographer, but we bought the book then left it in Tassie by accident, so I can't tell you who took this shot. If anyone knows, please contact me.

Monday, 28 November 2011

home, cruisin'

Two weeks ago I headed home with Mr E to Tasmania. For me, third year in a row, this is quite unheard of, so I was pretty excited. This trip we took easy, unlike last year where we ran around seeing half of Tassie in a handful of days. Also, the reason for our return was to go to a dear friend's wedding, so that was the main focus of the trip.
One big change from last year was the opening of the Museum of Old and New Art, or MONA.
But more on MONA in tomorrow's post. Today's photos are from the ferry that takes you from the wharf in Hobart to MONA. It's a fantastic cruise and wonderful to see the city from that perspective.
Under the Tasman Bridge...
And after a wonderful 30 minute cruise, we arrive at MONA. Nestled in the back on the Moorila Estate, it's quite, quite incredible.