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An artistic revelation

Above: Dee and the floating dolphins. (Photo Eric Scott)

Right, my favouriote, the Vodka bottles

Below right: Weiwei's "grapes".

Photos Deanne Scott

Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei exhibition

National Gallery of Victoria

180 St Kilda Road


Exhibition runs until April 24

I had seen Weiwei’s work advertised on TV and was curious to see his big works, like his mountain of stainless steel bike frames and his masterpieces built from Lego blocks, but Warhol’s “pop art” had never held any appeal with what I saw as crude drawings with a wash of colour. French Impressionism was my forte.

Warhol’s images of Marilyn Monroe and soup cans left me cold.

But I was persuaded to see the show and wow: I am now a convert. Warhol’s work live is something more than special, the images were just stunning and left me somewhat shell-shocked.

The first thing, after glancing at a panel on Campbell’s soup can painted on canvas was what I thought was a life-sized mono photograph of Elvis Presley in cowboy mode. But close-up I discovered that it was actually an acrylic painting and the work was so meticulous it looked like a photograph. It was indeed the work of a truly master artist.

Then came, closer inspections of his work and each time my admiration for the man increased. His use of colour, paint, and ink on so many different canvas types was superb. Suddenly I understood his treatment of everyday objects and his style of portraiture. I loved it all, but the painting of two vodka bottles was one I would particularly like to hang on my walls at home.

My wife took a great shot of that one, so I am sure that a modest copy will be hanging somewhere at home before too long.

Weiwei’s work was spectacularly different – with his much publicised symbolic Lego creation, the triptych of the breaking of a Ming vase getting a lot of attention. His art was certainly different and a a huge scale. The carpet of white porcelain flowers and his four-walled room, once again built from Lego blocks were spectacular and proved the man’s dedication to detail and form.

There were portraits too of Chairman Mao and communist luminaries, a wall of flowers and the amazing “bunch of grapes” , a sculpture created from three-legged stools that were joined together with normal wood-work jointing. No glue; no nails. Then there weas the room of floating dolphin balloons, which was a joy for adults and children alike,

That was a staggering achievement in itself.

We spent so much time in the exhibition we had no time to tour the rest of the gallery and I enjoyed every second.

Admission: Adult $26, concession $22.50, child (5–15 years) $10, family (2 adults + 3 children) $65. Multi media guide $8.


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