10 Things I Liked About Australia

#3. NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA (NGV)

Didn’t see this featured in guides nor was it recommended by the many folks we met bars. Just came across it between a stroll of Melbourne’s wonderful Botanic Gardens and downtown. Most good finds happen that way. At least for me.

Must admit I’m not a big gallery goer as it can get in the way of lunch, or dinner, or worse still – afternoon drinks, but the contemporary look of the NGV spoke to me as did the absence of crowds, heavily armed guards looking for cameras, and the free admission. An hour or two later I was one of the happiest gallery goers on the planet. I had seen an exciting mix of contemporary paintings, home furnishings by the Austria’s and Germany’s finest and very moving primitive sculptures/figures from the island countries north of Australia.

But what really excited me was the gallery itself. Each space was perfect for the work on show. Every time you turned a corner you experienced a new mood and new work. It was as if the gallery was put together by a great movie direction – so you were spellbound from start to finish. I mentioned that it was a contemporary building, and the play of natural light on the walls and floor surfaces in the halls and ramps connecting the spaces created the feeling of traveling through space. The architect had put as much thought into the corridors and escalators as the exhibition halls. One hall had a ceiling of multi-coloured glass which was the perfect complement the vibrant feeling of the huge abstract works on the walls.

Visual art and music (and wine) are emotional experiences and pleasures that are enhanced by how well they are staged and connected to the moment. The better the staging, the better the experience. NGV gave me a five star experience of its art. When I get a minute, I look forward to learning something about the brilliant architect/designer. NGV, St. Kilda Road, Melbourne

P.S. More on Melbourne in a few days.

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