I wasn’t very keen on the works on display in this exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia It was on from 20 October 2017 to 18 February and we went on 22 January. I am not familiar with anything about this sort of art, so am only giving a personal reaction. But it’s all too weird for me. But if you wanted to see a lot of different hyper real art works this was the place to go.
Discomforting from the start. There was a figure leaning against the wall, looking into a cloth covered exhibit. Was she real? I thought so for quite a long time.
Then we came to a room full of old men in wheel chairs, all moving around randomly, bumping into each other. Meant to be confronting and was. We ran into Tom Roper while in Canberra and he is in a wheel chair following a stroke. He went to this exhibit and found being in the middle of these figures good fun! Although he wondered what viewers felt seeing him in amongst the exhibits.
I was familiar with this gigantic man, but that didn’t make me like him any better. And I couldn’t bear to photograph his pregnant partner whose belly looked so distended it might explode! Presumably her proportions are based on real life, if so it’s scary, and I’m glad I didn’t know I was so disporportionate when I was pregnant.
I really love Patricia Piccinini’s Skywhale, which once landed on the Fitzroy oval to everyone’s, including my, delight but I am not keen on her figures with animal bodies, nor the boy sitting with one of her funny animals included in this exhibition. But this room full of her objects surrounded by mirrors, whilst a bit disorienting, was less threatening. You can see one of her more mournful type of animal in the centre if you click on the picture.
I don’t know why I find this work unsettling. It is all, of course, quite inventive and expertly made and well presented. But there it is, I find it incredibly unsettling. And won’t be hurrying to another Hyper Real exhibition.