The Red Queen

Straight out of Lewis Carrol’s crazy mind and interpreted or explored in many forms all across Hobart The Red Queen is the latest exhibition curated by MONA.

The idea behind the exhibition is that the Queen has been corrupted by “evolutionary biology”! (Well that’s what it says on the MONA site) and:

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 behavior, 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?’

Well, wondering whether anything would become clearer by seeing the exhibition, Mr Iced Vovo and I trundled off to MONA, sliding down a rabbit hole or two and bumping into a few Jokers along the way, to the Opening Night festivities held on Tuesday 18 June from 6-12pm.

And yep, what we found, mostly, didn’t make a whole lot of sense to us but I figured it didn’t have to, ‘cause isn’t art supposed to be subjective rather than dictatorial anyway? We just appreciated having the opportunity of being exposed to a whole new range of artists and ideas (and some old ones too! ;)) and in getting to explore the wonderful gallery space at night. The gorgeous sandstone interior looks even more spectacular with mood lighting making it glow (see pics below).

Here is a little of what we saw:

The sandstone walls blushed in the presence of the Red Queen!
The sandstone walls blushed in the presence of the Red Queen!

Gnip Gnop Table
Gnip Gnop Table

An intriguing contraption
An intriguing contraption

More of The Depraved Pursuit of a Possum by Tessa Farmer
More of The Depraved Pursuit of a Possum by Tessa Farmer

Mixed TVs and seats
Mixed TVs and seats

data.tron by Ryoji Ikeda
data.tron by Ryoji Ikeda

Tracey Moffat photographs
Tracey Moffat photographs

Visitors enjoying the evening festivities
Visitors enjoying the evening festivities

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Sooo delicate and playful: The Depraved Pursuit of a Possum by Tessa Farmer
Sooo delicate and playful: The Depraved Pursuit of a Possum by Tessa Farmer

And here's the culprit! : The Depraved Pursuit of a Possum by Tessa Farmer
And here’s the culprit! : The Depraved Pursuit of a Possum by Tessa Farmer

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A nest like structure by Toby Ziegler
A nest like structure by Toby Ziegler

Berlin Buddha, Zhang Huan
Berlin Buddha, Zhang Huan

The void at night
The void at night

You have time to get along and see The Red Queen as she will be running until 21 April 2014! I know I’ll be back for a few more visits in that time.

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