NOW SHOWING

    The-Red-Queen

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    THE RED QUEEN

    18 JUNE 2013 - 8 SEPTEMBER 2014

    The Red Queen is a character from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass. She's a sinister mixture of power and futility: even as she doles out orders willy-nilly, she seems to lock herself in a weird and lonely prison of words:

    'What's the French for fiddle-de-dee?'
    
'Fiddle-de-dee's not English,' Alice replied gravely.

    'Who ever said it was?' said the Red Queen.


    Alice thought she saw a way out of the difficulty this time. 'If you'll tell me what language "fiddle-de-dee" is, I'll tell you the French for it!' she exclaimed triumphantly.

    But the Red Queen drew herself up rather stiffly, and said 'Queens never make bargains.'


    More curiously, the Queen is driven, by abstract forces, to run in order to keep pace with the world around her. However fast she goes, she never seems 'to pass anything', and 'the trees and the other things around' her don't change their place at all. '"[Do] all the things move along with us?" wonders Alice.

    We're co-opting the Queen for our own purposes in this exhibition at Mona. But she's been corrupted already of course, by scientists working in the field of evolutionary biology. That notion - that one might run and run, with neither goal nor end - is one key to twenty-first century thinking about how species evolve, in brutal harmony, with their environment. We're not used to thinking of it like that. We like to imagine we are struggling ever-forward to some end-point - personal, collective, universal - that will atone for our suffering and make our joys mean something. Evolution has no such agenda, nothing in mind for us, as it molds us to the shape of our environment. When you look at it like this, and surrender the assumption of progress, all of a sudden our words and deeds - like the Red Queen's - mean nothing and everything at once; rich and strange nonsense indeed.

    How does art fit into this? It is a behaviour, a practice, that congeals humanity like the fat in a fry-pan; it clarifies and distills, evaporates the excess, until we can see (just for a moment) into the base of ourselves. And perhaps -- let us phrase it as a question. Is human-ness nothing but a set of such behaviours?

    The answer, we hope and aim, will remain elusive; there will be no lessons learnt or taught, only contagious inquiry into the messy machinery of human nature.

    Alice looked round her in great surprise. 'Why, I do believe we've been under this tree the whole time! Everything's just as it was!'

    'Of course it is,' said the Queen, 'what would you have it?'

    Please note some works will be removed from display before September 8.

     

    NOW SHOWING

    Monanism_1

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    MONANISM

    AN EVOLVING EXHIBITION, 21.01.2011

    Highlights of the collection.
    And lowlights. Evolving.

    COMING SOON

    3. exhibition mini 1 and what's on

    Exhibition Image2

    MATTHEW BARNEY
    RIVER OF FUNDAMENT 
    OPENING NOVEMBER 22, 8PM  

    22 NOVEMBER 2014 - 13 APRIL 2015

    Crude thoughts and fierce forces are my state.
    - Norman Mailer, Ancient Evenings  (1983)

    Matthew Barney's River of Fundament is a sprawling, ambitious interpretation of Norman Mailer's chequered masterpiece, Ancient Evenings. It comprises a symphonic film by Barney and Jonathan Bepler, an exhibition, and a selection of Egyptian antiquities from Mona's own collection. Read more here.

    This exhibition is curated by the artist with David Walsh, Nicole Durling and Olivier Varenne.
    Matthew Barney: River of Fundament was originally curated by Okwui Enwezor and exhibited at Haus der Kunst, Munich.
    Generously supported by the Laurenz Foundation, Schaulager, Basel; Gladstone Gallery, New York; Regen Projects, Los Angeles, and Sadie Coles HQ, London. 

    The film screening is co-presented by Sydney Festival.

    Coming Forth by Day
    2014
    Cast bronze in bronze vitrine
    121.9 x 91.4 x 243.8cm
    Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels

    Rouge Battery
    2014
    Cast copper and iron
    71.1 x 228.6 x 454.7cm
    Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels

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