The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart, Tasmania, has been on the Lost At E Minor radar for some time. So we were delighted to be invited to attend the opening of the Theatre of the World exhibition.
Running until 8 April 2013, this collaboration between MONA and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery is as ambitious as the building it’s set within. The MONA is carved four levels deep into sandstone. Visitors start their tour by descending into the depths of the rock. The bold and stunning gallery is rapidly becoming a cultural icon in Australia, and this exhibition continues the bravery founder David Walsh has shown at every step with his MONA journey. The exhibition has been four years in the making. Theatre of the World more than meets its ambition, with the exhibition being a thrilling assemblement of designs, media and objects which are grouped in distinct themes as opposed to the traditional categorical grouping by period or media.
The genius behind this exhibiton comes from French curator Jean-Hubert Martin. Each piece cleverly develops the theme within its room and the visitor is left to draw their own meaning from the disparate objects. The works range from taxidermied birds through to trench art, video, and Picasso. They label this a ‘visual search-engine result spectacular’. Somewhat controversially, no author tags are present in the exhibition. And like Google, you must embrace the visual search results Jean-Hubert provides in order to draw your conclusions about each theme.
Theatre of the World is a truly stunning exhibition. It is bold, memorable, and achingly eclectic. Set within the MONA, the combination is an exhibition – and experience – that more than warrants the trip to Hobart.