Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera AGNSW Exhibition – Review

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So last weekend I went along to the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera Exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Why did I wait until the last few weeks long to go? It’s a long story actually. I heard about this event coming to Sydney in late 2015 and at the time I was so excited I was counting down the days. So when the event finally rolled around, I decided to wait until at least the second week to avoid the crush. Then what happened?… on the first week of August, I fell and stuffed my ankle for a few weeks, got very distracted and then all of a sudden, the exhibition was almost at an end. Sigh.

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At $18 per adult ticket, entry into the exhibition is staggered every 30 minutes and the reason for this is pretty obvious. It was much busier than I expected as we all crammed into the small space. I really enjoy going to museums and art galleries, but I personally struggle with the anxiety of having my personal space invaded… It can’t be just me that feels this? Anyway, personal space issues aside, here are my thoughts on the exhibition.

There was absolutely no confusing Frida and Diego’s work with any others, nor should there. Large printed photos on the walls of Frida and Diego created a really warm feeling in the space and made it feel like home. Although there were only 33 paintings and 50 plus photos on display in a relatively small space, it’s the detail in the masterpieces that has people captivated.

I love how this exhibition was curated. Coloured walls throughout the space reflected Frida’s colourful style whilst also highlighting and complementing some of the most important works.

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‘Landscape with Cacti’ by Diego. This is a large and very attractive piece representing colourful cacti in the dessert. This caricature landscape seems different to Diego’s usual style featuring vast spaces with lots of people and often represent a reflection of society.

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Personal letters are on display with interactive tablets displaying Spanish to English translations of handwritten letters. An true insight into their life.

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In contrast to Diego’s pieces, Frida’s works are small, humble and mainly self potraits of the subject she knows the best, herself.

I enjoyed people watching and see others observe the works. I love seeing the excitement in their faces. I love how engrossed people become observing a story. I love seeing people examine every brush stroke and of course, fighting every urge to stroke the delicate paintings.

I enjoyed people watching and see others observe the works. I love seeing the excitement in their faces. I love how engrossed people become observing a story. I love seeing people examine every brush stroke and of course, fighting every urge to stroke the delicate paintings.

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Family album style photographs adorned almost every blank space and invited people to come close and experience their life.

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There’s something so personal about seeing these hand-drawn etchings by Frida. After walking through and observing the photographs timeline, it felt like I had experienced a glimpse of Frida and Diego’s journey through life. It was actually very confronting and emotional to see the final photos of Frida resting in peace.

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The Love Embrace of the Universe,the Earth,Myself,Diego and Senor Xolotl (centred). This is probably one of the most favourite paintings I’ve experienced in the flesh. It’s truly iridescent and seems like no photograph can portray the illuminating contrast between the deep blue and the mint-green colours of the right-hand side of the painting.

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Coloured photos of Frida. 

frida-kahlo-exhibition-11‘Self Portrait as a Tehuana’. Dressed in traditional Tehuana dress, Frida started painting it in 1940 after Diego and her divorce and completed it in 1943. Diego was still clearly on her mind.

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Self-portrait with Monkey. This is probably my favourite piece. I love how the choice of a bold red gallery wall helps lift the piece. Frida depicted monkeys in a huge amount of her paintings and some say these represented the children she was unable to have with Diego.

During their careers, Diego’s career seemed to elevate above Frida’s, however, it’s clear that Frida draws the masses. Frida as an artist, her story and of course her art, is what captivates people to this day and probably will continue to do so for years to come. The lives and stories of Frida and Diego are so entwined and they will always be two parts of a whole.

Don’t miss the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera Exhibition – with only one day to go, I urge you to go and experience the masterpieces if you can.

Love,
Festival Girl

Supanova Sydney 2015 | 19 – 21 June 2015

Supanova2014Sydney-30Supanova Sydney is back again for another year and this year, it’s delivering the very best that Pop Culture has on offer for its Aussie audience. It’s going to be a busy weekend, so here are some of my favourite bits that I’m looking forward to.

Supa-star celebrities –
NathanFillionSupanova2015
Come face-to-face with Supa-star celebrities and the creative talent that inspire their imaginary worlds. With so many stars under one roof, take a look at the guest list and plan who’d you like to meet and greet.

It’s such a shame that Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson won’t be able to make it to the show this year… Alas there will still be a whole bunch of other guests that I’m excited to see. Some of the talent from The Brady Bunch and The Power Rangers will be there, Nathan Fillion (from Firefly, Serenity) as well as my hero – Billy West will be there. He pretty much gave birth to Ren and Stimpy and is the voice behind my animated hero, Fry from Futurama.

Like to know who else will be there? Check out the guest list and don’t forget to take some time to catch the Q&A panels and seminars. Take a look at the Supa-star Autographs FAQ page if you’d like to know more about the whole celeb-meeting-process.

Cosplay –

Supanova2014Sydney-12Cosplayers eat your heart out. I hope you have your costumes ready, I can’t wait to see what the new year brings! If you’re thinking of entering the comp, check out this page for more info.

Awesomo Art –

Supanova_2I love finding new creative works or accessories from the seriously talented exhibitors that come to Supanova. I’m really looking to getting a lovely new accessory or a couple of new illustrated prints, so fingers crossed I find some new lovelies for my collection.

Supanova Sydney –

When:
Friday June 19th, 1pm to 8pm, 2015
Saturday June 20th, 10am to 6pm, 2015
Sunday June 21st, 10am to 6pm, 2015

Tickets: On sale now through Moshtix or available at the door.

Where:
The Dome, Sydney Showground, 1 Showground Road, Sydney Olympic Park, NSW, 2127

Hope to see you there!

Love, Festival Girl

Vivid Music: Musify + Gamify Concert 2 Review

MusifyGamify2015-3So I went along to the Musify & Gamify Concert 2 last night. Located at the Reginald Theatre at the Seymour Centre, it was great to see the twinkling lights of Vivid across the road to help set the mood, remind people that it’s apart of Vivid Music and of course introduce the works we were about to see.

Inside the foyer, a small number of individuals gather close to the theatre doors, lots of familiar glances exchange, the singer from 7Bit Hero is excited to be there and reminds us to download the app before the show. Once we settle into our seats the show begins. In the dark space, Ollie the curator gives us a short introduction and explains the acts we’re about to see.

MusifyGamify2015-1The Infosthetic Orchestra (James Nichols, Laura Altman, Pia van Gelder, Tom Smith, Alex Whillas, Ollie Bown)

To open the concert, a group of 5 musicians/technicians on mixing desks and one Clarinet player had their backs turned to us as they took the reigns from the Maestro facing us on the main mixer.

On the screen above was the score for the piece, but it wasn’t the traditional score you might expect to see. This score shows a low fidelity graph with a data output of 15hz that displaying the volatile relationship between the Australian Dollar vs. Bitcoin over the period of 2012-2013. The graphs peaks and troughs ranged from a gentle heart beat to unbearable intense bass as the dollar cycled from $11 to over a $1000 dollars during the piece. It’s hard the describe – but as the piece went on, there were a number of digital sounds that resembled the sounds of wailing ambulances, dialing phones, lawn mowers and other digital noises.

MusifyGamify2015-2Paul Heslin (ACT)

The dark space is illuminated by the sight of 8 x CRT TV’s, all of different sizes. The relics display only vision of static or menu modes and the stage is barely lit by these. The performer remains in the dark and stands next to a desk with a number of peripherals including a controller and voice augmenter.

The piece expressed some raw emotions that fluctuated between white noise and a number of distorted frequencies that kinda sound similar to the sounds that Aphex Twin produce. Other digital sounds resemble the distorted sound of a dog barking, human growling, a driving percussive sound, and some serious deep bass.

Most sounds were triggered by the use of a controller as the performer ‘played’ the sounds. The aggressive sounds were juxtaposed by moments of silence where the game reset. I’d like the think that the piece represented the intense feelings of lust,  desire and stages of frustration that playing a game makes you feel. It’s frustration that the player feels when the lose, drop the ball or let their team down and the seriousness that’s involved in all those stages of grieving. I think the organized sound in this piece offers a musical representation of what it’s like to experience that sense of lust and loss, even if it’s only for a fleeting moment.

MusifyGamifyExhibition-2015-1 Exhibition (Including works by Lucas Abela, David Kanaga, Michaela Davies and The Futile Research Lab.)

A number of the pieces at the exhibition urged the user to look, touch, feel and play. They let the art goer interact and engage with the work and gave them the opportunity to create an artistic contribution. For the works that rely on human interaction, it’s a surreal experience to see an artwork sitting there without interaction – a purposeless object? A cog in the machine waiting on another bit to do its thing to complete it. Without the participation, on quick glance, some might be seen as just a humming artwork.

MusifyGamifyExhibition-2015-2For the artists of the evening, a lot of their pieces relied on the use of technology. Using technology to create art is captivating enough on it’s own, but I find the bits that slip through the cracks even more intriguing. What happens when a work ‘fails’? What happens when something goes wrong. In this case, a new work is created as the artist loses control of their intended message and it kinda takes on a world and message of its own. What is lost or gained when a performance or art piece ‘fails’ at the attempt to portray a message?

This kind of subdued presence in a space is what I really like about digital pieces, they have a real sense of being in the moment and at any time can be disconnected,  reconnected, engaged and reengaged.

MusifyGamifyExhibition-2015-4 My favourite piece of the evening, Lucas Abela’s Mini Duelling Guitars really represented the ‘state of game.’ The pinball machine is made up of 2 electric guitars, an amp and some guitar fx. Essentially the gamer plays, the ball bounces around and hits strings and other bits and pieces and creates music.

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In an age where physical media is no longer required to create organised sound, the potential for creation seems limitless. With waves of thought and technologies constantly moving, evolving and becoming more personalised, the digital music landscape is always changing and adapting.

MusifyGamify2015-4Austin Buckett performs with a new interactive AV work by David Kanaga (US)

In contrast the lighter piece saw Austin Bucket on the piano and a ‘gamer’ at a laptop facing toward each other. On the screen, a psychedelic 3D render of a dog travelling in a digital landscape. It’s pretty trippy – he meets a giant whale and basically travels around the earth/sky and it’s all from the perspective of the dog.

I wasn’t exactly across how the musical production was being made, did the gamer play the game and the performer create the soundscape based on what he was seeing, was the 3D render facilitated by the gamer from the notes played? I’m not exactly sure, but the ‘weird’ setting offered some lightness and created a sense of playfulness.

MusifyGamify2015-5 7 Bit Hero (solo set, QLD)
Definitely the stand out for the evening in terms of audience participation, a fun, strong performance and just a whole lot of fun.

MusifyGamify2015-6Viewers were asked to download the 7 bit Hero app and during the performance, tap to interact with the performance. With the aid of the projector, cute 8 bit animations explain the rules, song lyrics and tell the story. At the end of the piece, there is a ‘winner’ – he or she who tapped the fastest, who is then incorporated into the song and ultimately into the performance. This piece worked on a number of levels and I thought that these guys really captured the essence of the Musify Gamify theme.

Love, Festival Girl

 

 

 

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