Saturday, 7 December 2013

Art Gallery of South Australia

I do love popping into an art gallery. Not that I know all that much about art really. Although I am slowly learning. They're typically beautiful spaces, and you get to see such interesting things, whether you like them or not is a whole other matter. Like at MONA last year.

The Art Gallery of South Australia is no exception. Indeed, it has more than a few things going for it. Totally free. Lovely staff and volunteers, and the insight to realise that taking photos in there isn't a burden. They're completely happy with non-flash photography.

I still haven't learnt to use these things
I must do it. I missed out on the audio tour!
The gallery has multiple rooms. To the right of the entrance desk is the Elder Wing of Australian Art. It's lovely. Much of it feels a bit like the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Lots of classic elegance. Quite European gallery in feel actually. 

I was excited to recognise the Sydney Longs in the corner.
(We saw an amazing Sydney Long exhibition in Canberra last year)
And Hans Heysen

They blend the Aboriginal art within the main section of the gallery.
I really liked that. 
Out the back of the first floor is a beautiful room showcasing Ernabella Batiks. It's an amazing space and feels quite spiritual.

My favourite batik. 

The other half of the main floor is the Melrose Wing of European Art (newly refurbished this year). It's quite different in there. Quite. Themed rooms. 

Even I had worked out the death theme here.
Memento mori.  
Every room holds a fascinating mix of different types of art works.

An amazing work that photographs really badly.
Too much detail to take in, this but a mere glimpse.
Swings and roundabouts for the children?Yes? No. Pigface. 
Jake Chapman. Dinos Chapman, 2011

The Seduced Room
That's a hell of a wallpaper.

This is so very cool, but I have no idea what it's about.
Twin subjecter
Thomas Hirschhorn, 2011

Present Realities Room.
Representing landscapes. 

It was all starting to feel a bit MONA. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. Until this room. When suddenly it was very MONA. Not surprisingly this has been controversial

We are all flesh.
Berlinde De Bruyckere, 2011-12
Her work at MONA seems suddenly quite tame.
A room rather bizarrely titled The Human Condition. 

I can see how large portraits of George III juxtaposed with a statue titled The Negress have something to say about The Human Condition. But two headless horse skins pushed together? No sorry, I don't get it. Ok, so it's called We are all flesh. But I don't think you should need the title to finally make sense of a work of art. 

There are many more rooms downstairs. Decorative arts, and a range of Asian Arts. A whole room featuring William Morris.  The piece I loved best were the Adelaide Tiffany Windows. I'd never heard of these before. Of course I've heard of Tiffany windows before, and have long admired Louis Comfort Tiffany's work. I've seen some on visits to America. I'd never heard of the Adelaide Windows though. 

Naturally they're astonishing
And tell such a sad story. Commissioned to commemorate the grief of a wife and mother. Ada Ayers (daughter in law of Henry Ayers, five time Premier of South Australia, now possibly best remembered via Ayers Rock/Uluru), was widowed and six of her children had died. 

Six cherubs commemorating the six lost children.

Typically beautiful Tiffany colours. 

Whenever you find yourself in Adelaide with a little time to spare it's really worth a visit. 

Saturday Snapshot is a wonderful weekly meme now hosted by WestMetroMommy


Unknown said...

Looks like a great museum to visit. Very fun :)

Jackie McGuinness said...

Free!!! What a concept!

And photos allowed, I am so there.

We are thinking of going to Australia next year!

Joy said...

Terrific photos -- thanks for sharing this museum with us! I love that batiks room. I've never seen anything like that in a museum.

Joy's Book Blog

Susan Lindquist said...

Oh, how I wish I could have been a little bird on your shoulder! One beautiful art space! I find interesting to see the modern art juxtaposed against the more traditional pieces ... makes one think how expression and social norms have changed over time!

Paulita said...

Terrific photos. I'm struck by the intense color on the walls behind the paintings. I love that art galleries are doing that now rather than white walls. Here's Mine

Susan said...

One of these days, I'm coming to Australia. What beautiful things to see!

Ginx Craft said...

A lovely tour of the gallery. I think I like the batiks and aboriginal art best.

skiourophile said...

I'm such a bad person - I haven't walked down to see the new galleries yet, despite their being only a few minutes from work, though I have been to the shop and the cafe recently...

Louise said...

Amanda it was a great place to visit.

Jackie- I hope you make it to Australia next year.

I'd never seen anything like the batik room either Joy. It was a very beautiful room.

Susan- that was exactly one of the things I really liked about it. Sometimes the juxtaposition of old and new can seem a bit forced- it really worked here- on the whole, dangling horses excluded.

I really, really loved the wall colours they used here Paulita, it was very effective.

I hope you get the chance one day Susan- I'm sure you will. We're just a plane ride (and about a day) away.

They were some of my favourites too Ginx.

Vicki! I'm not sure about bad, but you are naughty. I hope you make it there soon. They've done a great job. It feels very contemporary. There's a whole lot more to see than what I could show of course.

jfulford said...

I like twin subjecters, which is out-there. What is sticking out of the bodies? Hey, thanks for also stopping by my blog. jf

Anonymous said...

What a marvellous museum and your photos are wonderful! Bring me right there. Just a few days ago Jane Campion's The Piano (1993) was shown on TV and I watched it again after 20 years. This time around it's much more powerful to me and let me appreciate the period and land of, yes I know, not Australia, but close enough, NZ. My hats off to Jane Campion the NZ/Australian director. I must visit there and visit both nature and man-made beauty like this museum.

Anonymous said...

don't forget to post your recap for Books On France challenge:
sorry didn't see where else to post this comment

westmetromommy said...

What a fun museum! I enjoy art galleries as well!

Irene said...

What a great visit.

Esme said...

This looks like a good museum.

Brona said...

We were there 18 mnths ago and loved the feeling and space of the gallery.
Your pics brought back a lot of happy memories :-)

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I know nothing about art, but I love to go to museums, too. I know nothing about music, but I love to hear it. I know nothing about books, but I love to read.

Would learning more about these things be good or bad?

james said...

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