Art, dancing and design inspiration at the National Gallery of Victoria!

Escher’s self portrait reminds me of David Bowie.

Last Friday we spent the evening at the NGV’s special Friday Nights event which features entry to the key exhibitions, DJ sets, classical music ensembles, wine and gin bars, great food and lots of holiday fun for all the family.

I love how modern museums have evolved into fantastic interactive spaces with special attention given to keeping children interested with treasure hunts and fact gathering activities. The main exhibition this month is Escher X nendo | Between Two Worlds. Dutch artist M. C. Escher specialised in lithography and is a master at playing with reflection and optical illusion, famous for his never ending staircases and ‘hands drawing hands’. His work is pretty cool (the self portrait above reminds me of David Bowie), but mainly in black and white so it can be a bit draining. By cleverly pairing it with various studies on the theme of the house by the Japanese design studio nendo the NGV really brings the ideas Escher is portraying to life. The houses vary in size, some large enough to run through and others are deconstructed so as to be barely recognisable in form. My ten year old daughter loved running in and out of the shapes and disappearing down the never ending tunnel.

The monochrome Escher exhibition motif

Once you need refreshing there are a number of bars on offer both inside and out in the garden, offering wine, gin and even frozen cocktails. We stopped for a quick bite in the main bar which has been redecorated in the monochrome house motif the NGV has chosen for this exhibition and looks fabulous. Then we headed out into the garden where you will find cantering horses, pecking birds and marble sheep courtesy of Julian Opie, the next exhibit on the list.

Opie is a British artist who famously created the cover for Blur’s: the best of album and works mainly with cartoonish digitally produced colourful portraits.

Julian Opie’s iconic portraits of Blur

I have to admit I had not seen too much of his work since and was surprised to find that the portraits have now evolved into digital moving images. They don’t move a lot just perhaps the eyes blinking or a profile moving side to side, but the effect is quite amazing! I would love to have moving portraits of my ancestors hanging on the wall and funnily enough that was about to happen – well almost.

The exhibition has a dedicated Kids Space where you can create your own Opie. You sit at a computer screen, take your portrait photo and follow the instructions to create your own self portrait. Granted it takes a couple of goes to get the hang of things and the results are not perfect, but we now have our own Opie style portraits to hang at home. Funnily enough, I had been thinking of trying to get some Opie style portraits of the family done online for Christmas, and planned to put them in our bedroom corridor which I had left undecorated as I was not happy with any of my existing pictures in that space, so the show was a double winner.

We finished off with a visit to the DJ lounge for a glass of wine and a boogie. My daughter declared it was her best night ever and even said ‘thank you Mum’, praise indeed! So watch this space for an upcoming blog on my hallway redesign and more tips on design centric activities. And thank you for visiting my blog.