ALOUD. recommends the (NEW) MCA – SYDNEY, Australia

On the 29th of March, the Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art finally reopened its doors after undergoing a major renovation and extension. The contemporary appendix, designed by Sydney based Sam Marshall Architects, works essentially as a brand new circulation, liberating significant floor space in the original building and creating larger exhibition spaces.

The new volume also has the effect of bringing the city into the museum with large panes of glass framing the harbour, the Opera House or the Rocks alternatively. The architectural ‘promenade’ culminates on the roof terrace with a beautiful 180 degree view from the Rocks to Circular Quay, giving Sydneysiders yet another angle from which to gaze at the city’s only (and lonely) architectural icon, the Opera House*. Still, it’s nice to see a project come to fruition in a city often plagued by short-sightedness so rejoice at the wide open doors and get your art on at the New MCA. (Yes, it seems New has become part of the title).

The expansive and newly liberated floor plates mean that the MCA gets a chance to display a big selection from its permanent collection, in a way that was never possible in the past when the works were always exhibited temporarily. As it turns out, they have quite a substantial contemporary aboriginal collection as well as works by more than 150 Australian artists currently on display as part of Volume One: MCA collection.

Marking Time is a temporary exhibition showing the works of eleven artists all preoccupied by the representation of time, an otherwise intangible and abstract concept. The world-renowned and highly acclaimed 24-hour video installation The clock by Christian Marclay occupies the largest of all galleries on Level 1

This piece by Hossein Valamanesh, an Australian based Iranian artist was one of my favorites. Inspired by the evocative skirts that Sufi poets wear as they recite their verses and associated with Rumi’s poem The lover circles his own heart, the swirling cloche of fabric had a transfixing elegance expressed in its delicate simplicity.

We came whirling
Out of nothingness
Scattering stars
Like dust

Turning and turning
It sunders
all attachment

Every atom
turns bewildered

Beggars circle tables
Dogs circle carrion
The lover circles his own heart.
~Jalal ad-Dīn Muhammad Rumi~

So to conclude, the entry is free as usual, there seems to be plenty in store for adults and children alike over the next few months, the new roof terrace offers a great view of the harbour and is currently displaying a surprising sculpture (as part of its sculpture garden program), the bookstore is probably one of the best in Sydney as far as Art books go AND Sydney FINALLY has a new piece of contemporary architecture to look at (that in itself is quite an achievement, whether you like it or not) so I really can’t see any reason not to go check it out if you are in that neck of the woods!

© All photos are copyright of Laure de Vaugelas.

* I should be fair and include the Harbour Bridge but still, with 40 years between the bridge and the opera house, it’s about time we get a new building.


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  1. ray

    Hi! A side note here – came across a very interesting read/interview from a female architecture student based in Sydney. She blogs too!
    Its mainly about architecture and the female role, and it seems pretty inspiring. So thought you might be interested 🙂

  2. Thanks for the tip. It looks like a great blog. Cheers!

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