Opening of the Gilbert & George exhibition at MONA
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]ravelling to Tasmania is always an adventure. Whether it is your first trip all the way down under or you are a frequent visitor to this magical isle, you know you are in store for the most fantastic assault on the senses that only Van Diemen’s Land and David Walsh can provide.
David Walsh, the founder of MONA and his brilliant team have brought the first ever Gilbert & George exhibition to Australia which also happens to be the duos second largest exhibition of work after the Tate.
The British duo have been working together since they met at art school in London in 1967 but had never exhibited in Australia, until now. (Thank you MONA).
Gilbert & George arrived as the guests of honour for their opening day lunch dressed in their unmistakeable tweed suits and bubbling with wit, charm and amazement for the surrounds. They were ever so affable with all of their guests and you could sense their genuine excitement to be there.
Gilbert & George’s first Australasian retrospective showcases ninety-seven pictures from 1970 to 2014 is a must see. The scale of works and their elegant display is a monumental achievement by all those involved.
One could go on for days about the works displayed, the brilliant artistic duo and the man behind MONA itself but there was an art girl that also made magic that day for all of us attending the opening day lunch to celebrate Gilbert & George. Art girl par excellence, Kirsha Kaechele, the fabulous and talented curator, artist and supporter of Contemporary art was responsible for the exquisite feast and performance that accompanied it.
Kirsha, the stunning and gracious hostess of MONA (also known as Gods mistress if you go by the parking lot space) transformed an opening day lunch into a theatrical experience of epic proportions. Art girls definitely do it better and Kirsha sets the bar. Dressed in a work of art herself from Comme de garçons, Kirsha shows us all how its done.
I mean, isn’t it everyday guests have their names engraved onto a plastic phallus as their place seating card? (Yes, I kept mine and it is hiding in a pot of pens on my desk…and no, its not rude if it is art!)
The theatre that surrounded the meal was an exhibition in and of itself. From the musical performance and costumed wait staff in flesh covered body suits with Gilbert & George esque body parts airbrushed onto them serving the amuse bouche to the illuminated multicoloured jello shot tables!
If you had to re read the last line, our tables were made of illuminated multicoloured jello shots…spoons provided!! It took til about main course for one guest to realise he could scoop the jello into his glass instead of politely tasting it by the teaspoonful. Many promptly followed his lead.
MONA and Gilbert & George, a winning combination and a must visit. Jello shots not included.
by Viola Raikhel-Bolot
Photos: by Viola Raikhel-Bolot
Viola is frequently invited as a guest speaker at Sotheby’s Institute, the International Bar Association, Luxury and Wealth Management forums, museums and art fairs internationally. She is a regular contributor to CNN, CNBC and Bloomberg television news as an expert on the international art market.