Along with a multitude of others I visited the 18th Bienniale of Sydney ‘all our relations’. It was also the first time I had visited the new wing at the Museum of Contemporary Art and had heard conflicting opinions of how well this worked.
I absolutely love the setting of the MCA – right at Circular Quay – the first place I landed in Australia with my parents at the age of 11. The new wing is, therefore, in a grandstand position and the cafe on the roof has the most wonderful views – and it was a glorious Sydney day. The entrance is less entrancing with a set of stairs taking you straight up and nothing much at ground level and because I was in a party with a baby, discovered that the parent’s room nearby is lacking in user-friendliness. The exhibition space is open and easy to walk around but there are few windows onto the glorious view – perhaps it was thought that more wall space was more important, but I think that one window wall would not have been too much.
The exhibition itself was interesting without being fascinating. I was most taken with the work of El Anatsui, a Nigerian who uses discarded metal bottle tops and other found objects to make incredible sculptural wall hangings. Have a look at his work online. From a distance these works look like amazing textiles in rich colour. Up close the labour involved in fashioning bits of metal into an art work of such beauty is mind blowing and challenges you to recognise that all of this is otherwise rubbish, discarded caps from bottles of alcohol and the tons of this stuff that must be consumed and then discarded in an African town – let alone what must be both consumed and discarded in our own culture.
If anyone reads this, I would be interested to know your thoughts – please try to publish a comment…………….