Aug. 31st, 2012 11:20 pm
abouthalfthree: TS Eliot: "I should have been a pair of ragged claws." (I should have been)
Have made it safely to Sydney and my hostel, and then to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, which is a very fine building and serves delicious scones.

There is some excellent video art in the Biennale. There was some great installation art in Documenta, too. It seems that the medium is coming into its own, a bit. Artists who really know how to use it. One of them is a guy walking in front of an icebreaking ship. Those are my favourite sorts, the videos that loop. But there was also a 'documentary' about the time industry and infrastructure. Taking time from the outback and refining it to the precious hours, minutes and seconds that we use in the city.

Also there was a series or collection of pieces that were made after bushfire in the Mallee. Instead of charcoal drawn on paper, paper rubbed against burnt trees, or let loose into the bush and later harvested. There a several inn odd places through out the gallery, and then a display of them in the bottom basement level, as though they have been blown onto the wall.

I almost didn't manage to leave the hostel this evening, because I was quite tired. Then I got lost trying to find the bus stop. However, the trains run pretty well, so I was able to get myself to Pier 2/3 for the Friday evening Biennale Bar. There was fantastic installation art and alcohol. Also free little bowls of paella (I think that this is likely to do with the licencing of the venue) and free bottles of water. Then, also, some opera, which was also great. Well performed and staged in and around the art.

So far so good. My current plan is to spend tomorrow on Cockatoo Island. There is a lot of stuff there, so I may have to go back on Sunday as well.

I have just bought a ticket to the Opera House for tomorrow night where they have dance! (I am so pleased with my self.)


Aug. 29th, 2012 09:49 am
abouthalfthree: black on white lino print of a domestic street (Default)
It seems way past time to write about my last day in Germany.

I got up early in Köln to catch the train to Frankfurt. I had to change trains at the station you go through to on the way to the airport. I am sure that the lockers there would have been cheaper than the ones at Frankfurt main station. Anyway!

I navigated my way to the galleries from the map at the station. It was amazing. There was an exhibition of photography, which was interesting. And a great presentation of post War art. I also went through the Städel collection that came here. I decided to go through in room order, which did involve a bit of backtracking.

After filling myself up with art and a salad from the cafe I wandered through the streets of Frankfurt. I found gummibears and chocolate and lucky pigs. And a bookshop.

Then I wandered into Pride. It was, unexpectedly, Pride weekend in Frankfurt. There were a lot of people wandering down the main mall. Then I saw two people decked out in feathers and make up who greeted each other excitedly. I figured it had to be something like Pride to have people dressed so alike to go somewhere that they weren't actually going to together. The main stage had drag performances and stalls of food and drink. I had an apfelschörle (apfelschörle!) and a Ukrainian speciality - deep fried savoury dough with cheese on top!

I did a lot of wandering through Frankfurt getting back to the station. I tried to go via some icecream, but ended up just at the icecream shop at the station. I still got to sit outside and watch people go by while working my way through a pile of icecream, cream and cherries.

Then I was on the train to the airport. Then I was in the airport. It was pretty much indistinguishable from my the trip there. The in flight entertainment in the plane wasn't as good, but I had my iPod and my book.

I got back on a Monday morning and had a chance go to the shops, unpack everything and start getting through my washing. P and L got back in the evening, so I wanted to have gotten everything through the washing machine before they would need it.

Okay, that's Frankfurt, finally! Uni stated on the Tuesday, so it's been pretty full on Uni work and work work since then. I'm going to Sydney on Friday, and I'm putting together my midsumma exhibition application, so there will be more posts in the future.


Jul. 20th, 2012 10:04 pm
abouthalfthree: black on white lino print of a domestic street (Köln)
Final greetings from Köln, where someone has left their milk unlabelled, so I have some in my tea!

I have a private room, which is excellent. And I feel much better in a hostel than in a hotel, especially a fancy hotel. This is a private hostel, not a Youth Association one, so it has its own kitchen and a bar and free wifi. The wifi doesn't extend to the kitchen, but that's hardly a worry.

Slept in this morning, kind of. The Germans have a word for sleeping until you wake up naturally, which isn't always the same thing as sleeping in. I work up shortly after eight, and then at about nine thirty and then at a bit before ten. I was seriously expecting to sleep dead til about twelve. Just as well, though, because it turns out 1) there's a Käthe Kollwitz museum in Köln, 2) there are two book shops between the hostel and that museum, 3) I can't walk past a bookshop.

Käthe Kollwitz museum was excellent. Then I went the Museum Ludwig, where the expressionist rooms were sadly closed, but where they were having a major exhibition of Claes Oldenburg's stuff (giant puffy models of food and the tank with lipstick at Yale). Also excellent.

I did a bit of my uni reading as well. Francis Fukuyama's The End of History. To which I say hahahahahaha and evolution doesn't work like that! Seriously, he wants to claim that he can say it is the end of history because two philosophers have said it previously, Hegel in 1806 and a French follow of non-Marxian Hegel in the 1960s. Precedent doesn't work like that either.

I have my ticket to Frankfurt for tomorrow, leaving early. Then I will visit the Stadel Museum, eat something thoroughly German for lunch, walk along the river, buy a couple of things, perhaps eat another ice-cream beaker then catch the train to the airport.

There has been some confusion around my uni timetable, but it turns out that I do not have class on Monday morning, or at all on Monday.

While I am not pleased, per se, to be giving up my life of leisure or to be leaving Germany, I am very much looking forward to getting back home. Especially wearing different clothes and cooking and being able to have extended conversations with people.


Jul. 18th, 2012 09:08 pm
abouthalfthree: black on white lino print of a domestic street (Default)
Am in Kassel, at dOCUMENTA exhibition: massive international art thing. Takes over the city. This is my first full day, and I've got most a day tomorrow before I go to Köln. Was here yesterday evening after spending the morning at the rest of the Made in Germany Zwei (2) exhibition in Hanover, which I saw the first half of when I arrived there on Sunday. Also I've started my reading for next semester.


Most of it is excellent, and most of the stuff that isn't is video art, so it works out.

Have discovered some new favourite artists. Have their names underlined on my scribbled on plan of the exhibition buildings. I don't think I'll get to see everything, but I'll've made a good crack at it.

I am staying at very nice hotel. My German teacher recommended that I get a package deal thing. I couldn't do the travel, accommodation, tickets thing because I wasn't sure where I'd be travelling from, but booking accommodation and tickets together was definitely easier than tracking down a hotel myself. Last night I got to have a bath. I am going to have another tonight.
abouthalfthree: "Those who throw objects to the crocodiles will be asked to retrieve them." (Objects from Crocodiles)
So I never wrote about the tours of the art galleries. Both were excellent.

The first was to see Der Geteilte Himmel - Divided Heaven - which is also the name of a novel by Christa Wolf. It shows the collection of the mostly German art from both halves of Germany from 1948-1968. The East got Museum Island (although not all the art because some had been liberated by the Americans), so the West had to build their own art museums. So they built the New Museum, although it wasn't actually completed and opened until much later.

It was fantastic to see Berlin art and German art. They had some international stuff as well, including the Bruce Nauman that I liked and that now means I can't just dismiss his stuff.

The second trip was to the Gemäldergalerie - the old Masters' collection. No as much to my taste, but they have some great stuff. I got to pratice wandering through everything and looking at what catches my eyes. It's kind of hillarious, because it'll be Rubens or Vermeer or Claude Lorraine or an artist I've studied at Uni (Gaspar Dughet, Pieter de Hooch). They also have a lot of Rembrants, including a fantastic hugh one, 20 years later than the one in the NGV, which I've done a close analysis of. It is quite differernt, but expresses the same idea in the same way. And has the same table cloth in it.

Is morning I caught two trains and a bus out to the Brücke Museum. Finally! It was great. The exhibition at the moment is a whole lot of self drawn postcards that they sent people. It's always interesting to see artists's sketches, but this was also better because they are sketches that were meant to be see by people, that were meant to stand on their own, even if they'e not polished.

Tomorrow I'm going to Hannover. It looks interesting and it's about half way between Berlin and Kassle. Although that's not really a concern because Germany is not very wide. It takes a while to get from the top to the bottom but even then not more than a day, really.

Oh, the other thing I've done, other than classes and lunch out with my class and eating more icecream and the tour of Prenzlauerberg is I walked along the East Side Gallery at 8:30 at night. Because it was still light enough!

Prenzlauerberg is old East Berlin. Now the kid central of Berlin. They instuted policies to encourage young families into the area. Now they have a joke new logo: the Berlin bear pushing a pram. When the wall came down, even until the mid ninties, I think, there were a lot of places that didn't have inside toilets. Sometimes buildings had just one bathroom on a floor. There were also a lot of appartments in the back courtyard of the buildings that didn't get proper natural light. Obviously increasing housing costs are a product of the modernisation and 'sanitisation' (restoration, sometimes, but re-plumbing, re-wiring, bring the bathroom in side). This is still a tense topic. They have groovy shops and excellent icecream, though.

The city of Sophronia is made up of two half-cities. In one there is the great roller coaster with its steep humps, the carousel with its chain spokes, the Ferris wheel of spinning cages, the death-ride with crouching motorcyclists, the big top with the clump of trapezes hanging in the middle. The other half-city is of stone and marble and cement, with the bank, the factories, the palaces, the slaughterhouse, the school, and all the rest. One of the half-cities is permanent, the other is temporary, and when the period of its sojourn is over, they uproot it, dismantle it, and take it off, transplanting it to the vacant lots of another half-city.

~ Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino