Category Archives: contemporary

Kusama for $1000!


The annual MCA Bella Dinner will soon be held in Sydney.  An annual event, the dinner also hosts a prize draw which costs $1000 to enter, but entrants are guaranteed to win one of 30 fine contemporary pieces. This year they even have a Kusama in the mix (see below).

The Kusama is by far the most valuable piece – and a stunning work in its own right – but for sheer beauty,whimsy and originality, my favourite has to be the Lionel Bawden sculpture made from coloured Staedtler pencils (above).

You can view all the works here.  If you want to enter, you’d better be quick, as the draw is notorious for selling out before you can say “Bargain”.


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Posted by on August 7, 2009 in art, contemporary, looking


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Franck Gohier: Target

Sold Out

Australia is a funny place. We laugh at the commercialism of the US but spend ourselves silly on credit.  We welcome people from all nations, yet shun our own ancestors.  Or, as the recent Australian film Samson & Delilah showed, we pay exorbitant amounts of money for Aboriginal art, with most of the funding going to the gallery owners and only a pittance to the actual artist, who often lives in squalor.

Welcome to Franck Gohier‘s world, currently on display at Ray Hughes Gallery in Sydney.  Gohier uses his acerbic wit to comment on themes such as the Northern Territory invasion (ahem, intervention), the credit crisis, and global warming.  This wit, combined with the pop-art aesthetic, sends a powerful message about where our country is headed.  The bullet holes aren’t so subtle.

Oi Oi Oi

Welcome to the Tropics



3 minute warning

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Posted by on August 5, 2009 in art, contemporary, looking


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Louisiana, Denmark: Green Architecture for the Future


You’ve heard of Paris, Texas.  But Louisiana, Denmark?

This sleepy satellite suburb on the outskirts of Copenhagen is home to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, a stunning seaside building established in 1958 as a showcase for many of the world’s finest contemporary artworks and sculptures.

The museum is currently exhibiting Green Architecture for the Future, a multidisciplinary exhibition examining the pending, fundamental changes to three areas of design: The City, Climate & Comfort, and Metabolism.

The City examines the global population drift towards urban living, and various responses to this, both current and future.  It includes an ambitious Foster + Partners design for Masdar City – a purpose-built, sustainable city in the United Arab Emirates – as well as a Sarcozy-sponsored redesign for Paris by MVRDV, and the tree-like Tower of Tomorrow by William McDonough & Partners.

Climate & Comfort and Metabolism explore themes of renewal, rebirth and reappropriation, such as a building made from empty water bottles (now there’s an intelligent solution, Mr Rees).

Via Arcspace.

Masdar City




Tower of Tomorrow



United Bottle




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Lies, Damned Lies: Louisa Bufardeci


Mark Twain once proclaimed, “There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics”.  Louisa Bufardeci explores this theme in her latest exhibition at MCA Sydney.

Bufardeci has always been interested in how statistics are able to succinctly portray a picture of the world at large.  Her work draws equal attention to inequity and diversity around the world, covering topics such as the mix of different religions in Sydney (on now at the MCA), to the direction of international aid funding for developing countries (Team Joy, shown above), to population movements (Ground Plan, below centre).

The artist’s works use playful, naive colour pallette, yet the colours often depict portray sobering statistics.  The audience gets the sense they are but a grain in the sand that is global population, and the anonymity is both liberating and overwhelming.

Check out more of Louisa’s work via her website.


bufardeci globe


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Posted by on July 24, 2009 in art, contemporary, looking


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Marc de Jong: DRNGS1 + PNTNGS3



Marc de Jong is one of my favourite artists.  In his latest exhibition, he uses a unique, pixellated style of painting to depict a surreal and disturbing world where things are not as they seem.  Entitled PNTNGS3, the show depicts a large-scale world where, up close, things seem distorted and dysfunctional.  However, when viewed from afar, the works seem coherent and logical (but no less frightening: Rupert Murdoch as case in point).

Excitingly, de Jong is also exhibiting his first exhibition of line drawings and sketches.  The drawings depict familiar themes of technology, ‘culture jamming’ and youth culture.  Yet they utilise a surprisingly different style to the paintings – so much so that it’s hard to believe they are created by the same artist.  The works of this normally private artist depict family and friends in a Hong Kong-style of ink drawing, complete with signature stamp at the bottom, which gives them an intimate, cross-cultural feel.

Oh, he also has a cute website.





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Posted by on July 17, 2009 in art, contemporary, looking


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Smart Light Sydney


I’ve been seeing a lot of strange constructions around Sydney over the past few weeks.  They seemed to consist of fibre-optic cabling, plastic cups, and the odd fake animal.  It was only when walking home last night that I realised that all that work had culminated in a spectacular light show put on by The City of Sydney.

Welcome to Smart Light Sydney, a festival of installation-art around Sydney’s city centre.  Legendary British artist Brian Emo’s spectacular lighting of the Sydney Opera House is the main event, but I quite like the Argyle Cut scene by German artist Ingo Bracke, shown above, as well as the oh-so-sydney Weather Projection by Alex Haw. Check out the excellent gallery at for more.




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Posted by on June 4, 2009 in art, contemporary, looking, urban design


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Alasdair Macintyre: Playtime

Henson vs Rudd

Playtime is an innocent title for an ominous exhibition by Alasdair Macintyre, opening this Tuesday at my favourite Sydney gallery, Sullivan + Strumpf.

The series examines contemporary themes inclusing the Bill Henson debacle, and the hysterical, ill-considered response of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, depicted as a startlingly life-like figurine who has just slapped his own campaign sticker over the young girl’s bare breasts.

In other works, Macintyre uses the familiar figurine character known as ‘Aecap’ (a possible cousin of Tin-Tin) to comment on issues as diverse as poker machines (with red sludge rolling from the opening, suggesting that any winnings are ‘blood money’), the self-destruction that contemporary artists are prone to inflict, and the loneliness of life as an artist.

Far from its innocuous title, Playtime is an exhibition that is somewhat humourous yet highly political and very, very timely.




longer lasting

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Posted by on June 2, 2009 in art, contemporary, looking


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