Monday, March 21, 2016

Perfect Melbourne

We enjoyed breakfast in the stimulating communal spaces at Studio Schaller - the carefully curated collections are displayed so invitingly - it would really be a fun space to spend hours in!!
 But we were on our way to Melbourne today!! 

After an easy drive down the highway and an even easier run into the city we were able to drop our cases off at the Rendezvous Hotel on Flinders Street and make our way South of the CBD to the Royal Botanic Gardens in time for lunch.

We wanted to try the food at Jardin Tan - the beautiful contemporary Vietnamese cafe adjacent to the Garden's Visitor Centre. We loved their fresh and delicately flavoured Pho and fragrant salads - although we missed out on the setting under the fig tree today!
We spent the rest of the afternoon at the National Gallery of Victoria - at the amazing Ai Wei Wei - Andy Warhol exhibition. There are over 300 pieces of art work of every size shape and media in this exhibition...enough to look at, think about and learn from for at least a week...but we took in as much as we could over two hours or so!

The curators had done a wonderful (and surprising) job of drawing the parallels and intersections between the work of these two iconic was a very thought provoking exhibition!
Ai Wei Wei has shocked a lot of us with what he has done with priceless Han dynasty and Neolithic era pottery (which is nothing compared to what happened in the Cultural Revolution).
 And this work was constructed from Lego!!

Andy Warhol has played around a lot with making art out of everyday materials and imagery (among other things) to surprise us too!
Flowers and seeds figure a lot in Ai We Wei's recent works - but used in very powerful contexts as a means of protest.  He used the bunch of fresh flowers image in his bike basket every day for two years or so (for the benefit of the surveillance cameras) as a protest against the loss of his passport to the Chinese authorities.

 and Andy Warhol worked with flowers too!

We stayed until the gallery closed this afternoon - still a long way short of seeing everything this amazing exhibition offers. But what an experience!

We returned to the Rendezvous - a very grand old Melbourne Hotel in the old style - but very well preserved and maintained now. We are very happy to be here!

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