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surprise, surprise, surprise!! GoMA and the APT5

OK, so it may be a severe case of Emperor's New Clothes, but honestly, i don't care right now. I've just touched down in Melbourne town after 3 days in Brisvegas and i spent half that time at the new Gallery of Modern Art and checking out APT5 and i'm going to rave about it. and no, i can't wait 'til after xmas 'cos there are other shows to see and blogger have got me on time & a half over the holidays! lol!

However, I can't be bothered spending time crafting a well-thought out introduction, conclusion and a body that flows, so i'm going to go point form. if it works for the art life, it can bloody well work for me :)

lauren's top 5 for the new GoMA

Rachel Whiteread25 Spacesthanks to the QAG website

1. Rachel Fucking Whiteread!! Rachel Whiteread is one of my favourite artists and on my trip to London next year, it's already my mission to check out as much of her work as i possibly can, so imagine my glee at seeing one in the flesh. there it was, Twenty-Five Spaces in all its resinous glory.

parochial reaction? you betcha!!

i saw it there, up on the top floor of the contemporary collections galleries, almost fainted as i'd already fried my brain from going through the other 3 floors of the gallery, did a little excited dance and then had to leave, so i wouldn't actually faint.

i came back the next day and was able to hang out with the twenty-five spaces for a while. i drew one of the blocks, sketched an aerial perspective, crafted some of my own space-based ideas and left, begrudgingly. it was love at first and second sight.

2. Vernon Ah Kee. This man is.. This woman is..

Dear Mr Ah Kee,
You bastard! In the many years i have spent in front of artworks, in galleries around Australia and around the world, i have never cried. I fucking cried in front of your work This Man Is.. This Woman Is. Yes, cried. I bawled my eyes out and instead of watching Tracy Moffat's work, i stood in the projection room sobbing. and instead of just glancing at your work, i read every single fucking piece. and i wrote as many as i could down. and i got cranky with anyone who couldn't give a fuck enough to read the pieces. so thanks a bunch. i couldn't just let the injustices of colonisation be swept under the carpet. i had to fucking feel something. you'll be hearing more about this later.


Yayoi Kusama, Soul Under The Moon

3. Yayoi Kusama Soul Under the Moon.
Kusama's silver balls in the watermall was the highlight of my last APT, but getting to experience the breadth and sheer vastness of the Soul Under Moon piece was fucking awesome! I do it any justice in describing it, but if you have the chance to step out in to the ether and gaze at infinity +1, do it. And make sure you're wearing at least some white 'cos it's all under blacklight and you'll look hot!

4. Liu Xiao Xian The Way We Eat.
Such a simple piece, but so clearly proving the superfluosity (well, it's a word now) of western culture through the basic symbols of our cutlery as the system of our consumption. On one side of the red velvet-lined cabinetm, made from slipcast porcelain is a full 'silver service' spread of butter knives, table knives, salad forks, desert forks, soup spoons, servers, etc, etc, etc. The other, two chopsticks.

5. Yasumasa Morimura Blinded By the Light
I really like Peter Breughel's Parable of the Blind, so i was so pleased to see Morimura's appropriation and comment on the power of western commercialisation on Asian culture

other works that rate a mention include Kentridge's Zeno Writing, Ah Xian's heads, Rosalie Gascoigne's street signs and Jon Cattapan's Passage Set 2004.

APT5 2006, the triennial on a leap year. to be honest, i was more blown away at the last APT, but this APT is solid. And what i liked about it was it was well-rounded. there seemed to be less artists, but more opportunity to explore some of the ideas of those artists, rather than a theme-based, biennale type thing where it's all about the token and squeezing everyone in.

the ground floors of each gallery featured work from the APT, which had a whole bunch of great works. here's the list:

lauren's top 5 for APT5

1. Anish Kapoor. Oh my goodness, this UK/Indian artist is the king of contemporary sculpture in my book! the extremely fragile pigment works that are in the APT are divine and i could have spent way more time in the cordoned area, except i was wary of all the people lining up to get in waiting for me. His 1000 Names steps were so luscious to my she sees red eyes and the womb-like tunnel of red love was so, well, yummmy! The book was $135, so unfortunately i couldn't take some Kapoor lovin' home with me, but it will be mine one day :)

2. Tsuyoshi Ozawa
Ozawa had several works that were really successful in this year's triennial. The first series, which was from the Vegetable Weapons series, initially reminded me of Simryn Gill's work from the 2004 Sydney Biennale. However, i felt that this work was far more poignant and well-presented. The arrangement of food to become weapons was fantastic and also challenged stereotypes of the images of fear that we are often exposed to.
As well as the vegetables, Ozawa curated the Nasubi Gallery: a collection of milk boxes as small galleries. Based in the Ginzu district of Japan and a piss-take of the Nabisu Gallery there, he invited all the artists from the APT to create works in these "galleries", my favourite of which was the Medicine Cabinet by Justine Cooper. The whole concept of Nasubi Gallery (translated as Eggplant Gallery) is right up my alley, appealing to my sense of cheekiness, and up there with Wrong Gallery in terms of turning gallery spaces on their heads.

Tsuyoshi Ozawa,Seafood Hot Pot

4. Yuken Teruya.
The Notice Forest by Teruya was such a simple display but filled with poignancy about commercialisation, globalisation and the disposable nature of western culture (yes, even the arts). The japanese artist creates these amazing tree paper sculptures in and with disposable paper bags from the likes of McDonalds, Hungry Jacks, Lush and even OzCo get a guernsey! Craft-wise, the works are exquisite and conceptually, they're sharp and witty as well. I loved it!

Yuken TeruyaBlue Tree
Thanks to Saatchi Gallery

5. Zhou Xiaohu
Part of the Long March Project, looking at the Cultural Revolution in China and the rise to power of Mao Tse-Tung, Xiaohu created an amazing diorama in the round of power and dictatorship in clay. It looked like chocolate (which was a fantastic aspect of the work) and the enormity of the piece, combining ceramic works and DVDs of sound and basic clay-animation was really engaging.

Zhou XiaohuUtopian theatre (detail)
Thanks to www.asiapacifictriennial.com

so, if you're umming and aahing about whether to make the trip to the APT, just do it. There is some great stuff there! I didn't even get a chance to go into the new State Library, which has a really snazzy new building, even if the cafe is a fucking rip off. I also didn't get to IMA or Rawspace, like i wanted to, so make sure you take your time there when you go!

Have a great holiday period everyone! For those who mourning the lack of blog action over the xmas break, don't worry, i got plenty coming :)

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