Thursday, July 13, 2006

weekend in melbourne

Getting to Melbourne late Saturday afternoon somewhat reduces the art viewing opportunities, but I did get to look in the window at Gertrude St on Sunday and saw some great graffiti round that part of town. The highlight of the trip was definitely Hiraki Sawa's video work at the NGV International. Anyone in Melbourne before December should definitely get to see this. Since my last post was a whinge about all things I don't like about video, this one is about what I do like.

Sawa's work was quiet, strange and compelling. All his work uses his own apartment as an environment to create these surreal vignettes and 'events'. One piece follows the shadows of camels and the occasional elephant across the domestic surfaces, mesmerising as they continuously travel across the interior landscape. There are lovely moments where a group of camels circle around a light fitting or climb along the edge of the stairs. In another work miniature aeroplanes use the bed, table and kitchen bench as landing strips, as the video progresses, the hallway becomes a very busy flight path with many planes crossing as they enter and exit through several doorways. What I particularly liked about this work was it appeared simple, yet seemless. The sound tracks were beautifully integrated and you could enter at any time and didn't need to see the entire work to get something out of it. That said, I think I spent about forty minutes in that one section of the gallery and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm glad I saw the Picasso exhibition first, because after viewing those videos I didn't want to look at anything else - I just wanted to take the memory away with me without jamming anything else in on top.

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