Archive for August 25th, 2015

T1-MMT-P3 Exhibitions at the MCA

Light Show
Energies: Haines & Hinterding
It’s almost two months ago that I saw these exhitibions at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Sydney. They’ve stayed in my mind not so much because of the works, but because of the visitors, their reactions, and my reactions.

Haines and Hinterding

Haines and Hinterding
Geology, 2015

Geology is described on the MCA website as “an amplified cinematic experience”. That is such a tepid description of an enveloping experience that assaults eyes and ears, with deep harmonics that vibrate inside your body. There are headphones and records on turntables, a large photographic work that linked to the screen images, I believe aromas although I didn’t detect them. But the main show was on the screen, flying through an alien terrain conducted by the movements of one of the audience.

I was there during the school holidays and the gallery was enormously popular, with children and adults patiently awaiting their turn on the conductor’s rostrum (well, mat). Clusters sat in the darkness, absorbed in this gigantic video game.


Haines and Hinterding
Geology, 2015

Towards one side of the huge room was a triangular chamber, Telepathy. Lined with rubber and foam, reminiscent of the lining of the interior of the drifting cubes in Geology, it is intended to insulate from external noise, allowing the occupants to reflect on their inner energies. This was less successful for me, with any inner energies still disturbed by the penetrating external harmonics, and sharing the small space with two strangers, one of them a young, curious, vocal child.

Overall an interesting experience, and as I’ve mentioned very popular with the holiday crowds. Holiday entertainment. Suitable for all ages. On the harbour, close to the wharf, you can catch the ferry to Luna Park or the zoo to complete a great day out.

I am such a snob. That is a totally unfair and unjustified reaction. These are serious artworks, with aesthetic, philosophical and conceptual concerns, underpinned by years of experimentation and science. I watched everyone having fun – and that really is a good thing. Go to an art gallery, see and experience things you’ve never imagined, be taken out of your everyday world, experience art as positive, meaningful part of life … but I felt the art I love, slow, contemplative, quiet, often small, getting lost in this whirlwind of noise and light. People are flocking now to the annual Archibald Prize exhibition at the NSW Art Gallery (also the Wynne and Sulman Prizes). “The art Sydney’s talking about” says the gallery website (link), and it’s true, I overhear random conversations “have you been yet” at work and on the bus. I don’t feel snobbish about that – it’s great to have the crowds and buzz and excitement in my “home” gallery.

Perhaps it’s because of the video game feel, the interactive element, that it could actually be a ride at Luna Park.

Light show was also on at the MCA. No photos allowed – the best web images I’ve found are from the Hayward Gallery ( and exhibition guide). Anthony McCall’s ‘solid light’ installation You and I, Horizontal (2005) was an enthralling, immersive experience, and yes it appealed to the kiddies (no complaints from me on this except when the “little darlings” put their hands over the light source and entirely blocked it). I happily queued to stand in Iván Navarro’s Reality Show (Silver), a phone box of infinitely reflecting mirrors – one way, so we each in turn stood blind under the surveillance of those still waiting. I’ve written briefly before of the fascinating Slow Arc inside a Cube IV by Conrad Shawcross (22-July-2015). The absolute stunner for me was Carlos Cruz-Diez’s Chromosaturation – white walls, ceilings and floors, separated but connected chambers flooded with red, blue and green light, solid, saturated, rich and wonderful, blending at carefully controlled edges, small white panels let down from the ceiling to create more mixes. I stood in drenching red until my eyes were overwhelmed and the red seemed almost white. The kids were in there too and some stood in awe like me and it was wonderful. And perhaps it could be in Luna Park too.

Am I an elitist snob? Almost certainly I fear. It’s also true that I found the noise and internal vibrations of Geology unpleasant, and the huge, zooming, swerving image did not sit well with my poor balance and chronic vertigo (BPPV). It’s made me think a lot about what art means to me, what I like and why, what I want to make – but no conclusions.

T1-MMT-P3 Exhibitions at the MCA
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 3: Molding and casting
Exhibitions at the MCA


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August 2015

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