Sunday, May 13, 2012


We Australians are all aware that our land is made up of two parts: The Mainland and The Island Below The Mainland. We are all fond of Tasmania and many of us would like to see ourselves at home in a pretty green Tassie Valley, with tasty berries growing in the backyard and a sunny kitchen which wafts aromas of fresh sourdough and tea. We're all aware that Hobart houses Australia's most outrageous, awe inspiring art museum too, it's just getting there which is the problem! For all of you who has the MONA on your list of places to go, here's my quick review.

Clearly, David Walsh didn't have enough space in his living room to display the pictures and things he's been collecting over time. And how exactly does one house an interactive installation of 300 lightbulbs? If you have the money, you pay a few people to build a giant adult art-gallery disneyland to show it off. The building is A-MA-ZING, and whether you're into art or not, exploring this incredible architectural feat is an experience in itself. The museum spaces are all underground; one has to wander down a spiral staircase or take a tubular lift downwards.

The collection is a little bit funny. Dave Walsh is intrigued by sex, death and poo. But lots of us are I suppose. It's not the sort of collection which left me feeling inspired, though. This is a particular taste and probably not representative of the most clever contemporary art on the market.

But I'm a designer, and my favourite part by far was the branding. The two symbols, the plus and the cross, are brilliant in their simplicity. They appear in the various marketing material and signage with the same whimsical approach which is applied to the whole museum. They smartly represent 'old' and 'new', and they exist as little marks which aren't fabricated icons and they're not strictly type, either. I love the way they animate on the website, they represent 'love' and 'hate' on the portable touch-screen devices and how they combine to create an asterisk of sorts for the MONA shop. Just lovely.

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