Ai Weiwei x Andy Warhol

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If you’re down in Melbourne and trying to find something to do this summer, I recommend seeing  the Andy Warhol x Ai Weiwei  exhibition. Even if art isn’t your thing, it’s still a joyous experience that will leave a lasting impression when you exit the doors…or maybe I’m a little bit too biased because I love Warhol but seriously, most of my friends went here last month and seemed to have enjoyed it (as evident in their Facebook and Instagram photos) and so did my Mom!

To be honest I had no clue what the exhibition was about. I thought it might’ve been a series of commissioned paintings that Weiwei and Warhol did together. It actually was not. The exhibition features Warhol’s iconic works taken directly from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh mirrored with Weiwei’s 21st century works – it’s a contrast between American culture and Chinese culture, with both artists drawing major inspiration from another artist, Marcel Duchamp.

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What surprised me was that Ai Weiwei never met Warhol despite both being in New York at the same time in the 80s. Both are nearly the same age, only that Warhol was an established artist and Weiwei wasn’t. The first English book Weiwei read was “The Philosophy of Andy Warhol” which pretty much influenced  Weiwei in his artistic ventures.  What I got out of this gallery was that both lived two very different yet similar lives. Throughout the exhibition you’ll see the parallels between Beijing and New York City, both cities having such a large impact in their lives – Warhol was fascinated with Mainland China and visited Beijing whilst Weiwei was born in Beijing and lived in New York for 10 years.

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A triptych featuring Ai Weiwei made in knock-off Lego blocks. Probably over 1,000 used for each panel?

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These flying golden alpacas and red twitter birds is Weiwei’s 21st century interpretation of  Warhol’s Silver Cloud installation from 1966. This interactive installation was hilarious!

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The ‘Letgo room’. Weiwei’s commissioned piece for the NGV is a room featuring portraits and quotes of Australian human rights campaigners, again made entirely in fake Lego blocks.

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The exhibition had a great mix of interactivity, loud evocative art coming in various forms and mediums such as photography, screen prints, sculptures, film and video. It ends in April so there’s still plenty of time to head over.

Donuts and Dinner by Heston

promo02Happy New Year everyone! We all love food and this post is gonna be about food because the only memorable thing I did on the first day of 2016 is eat food…good food.  Given that most things were closed on New Year’s Day, my sis and I bought Kracie’s Popin’ Cookin   from a Chadstone grocer last week  and we decided to give them a go.  This was basically our breakfast for the day, we got so caught up preparing these mini donuts  to the point we forgot we were actually  hungry. The donut mix was pretty tricky only because everything on the box is completely in Japanese and we had no idea how much water was needed….we mistakenly added too much at first!  Luckily for us visual girls there  were pictures we were able to  refer to behind the packaging. In the end there wasn’t much to follow as it was just mainly mixing water with powder.

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Ta da! This is all completely edible and they smell very nice.  I always love it when my Mom and I  get to spend the holidays with my sis. She currently lives in Jakarta so we don’t see her frequently but when we do, we do as much as we can together even if it’s a little  creative activity at home.

For lunch we made Indomie kuah (Indonesian instant noodle soup), I find this stuff very filling, super tasty and honestly the best quality instant noodles I can find on the market. It’s been a while since I’ve last had one…of course this should be eaten less than in moderation.

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Finally dinner, at Dinner! Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Anyone who watches Masterchef like me would obviously know who Heston is. Ever since watching the first few seasons of Masterchef I’ve adored Heston’s guest appearances and wondered what it’d be like to dine in any of his restaurants. His first restaurant in Crown Casino, The Fat Duck, opened mid 2015 and the only way you could get in is to win a ticket. Now, Dinner By Heston replaced The Fat Duck and  no you don’t need to win a ticket for this thankfully! It only opened here in November and there’s also another one in London. I  wanted to book a table straight away but they were  booked out for  all of December and the next available one was on the night of New Year’s day.

To put it simply, dining here is  the best start to any  new year I’ve ever had.  It’s natural to have high expectations when it comes to fine dining and I’m usually harsh. But folks, this is molecular gastronomy at its finest. The restaurant entrance is a narrow hallway with dimmed lights, as you get closer to the end you’re faced with a screen that plays footage of people preparing food and you immediately think you’re at a dead end. The doors are so easy to ignore, no handles on sight they look like walls but wait a few seconds and the black doors on the side automatically open. I’d also like to randomly mention the toilets, the toilet’s entrance are so abstract and minimal. This place is clearly against  the use of door handles! Also they use vintage Molton Brown handwash products…damn it takes me back to uni when we had to study the brand’s expensive history.

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For the entree we tried the famous  ‘Meat Fruit’ which is essentially a  mandarin skin, chicken liver parfait dish served with grilled bread. You’d think it’s a sweet dish – a lot of it is savoury and is a very delicious combination of sweet, sour and savoury with the mandarin gel and bread. The chicken parfait makes the perfect spread. We also tried the ‘Roast Marrowbone’ with snails, parsley, anchovy, mace & pickled vegetables. The textures are so unique, bone marrow is very fattening but this dish is so light you don’t even notice the marrow and the snails are like softer versions of squid. It’s sooooo good.

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Waiting for the mains took a while since the dishes were brought altogether and some take longer to cook than others. The mains were cooked to perfection, all of them. We ordered the restaurant favorites: Black Angus Ribeye,  Roast Snapper in Cider and  Slow cooked Pork Belly. The marbling on that Ribeye is graded 9, meaning it is the highest form of beef in terms of flavor and tenderness. The  fine textured fat contained within the muscle is visible on the meat, hence the “marbling” effect. Yep, I learned so much about meat that night! I’ll leave it at that for now, it was a truly enjoyable experience thanks to the exceptional service from the friendliest staff and the accompaniment of my Mom and sis. If there’s an opportunity to come back here again I’d definitely try the Powdered Duck and the Tipsy Cake.

B is For Burberry and Bearbricks

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Burberry just launched a new series  of items; items you wouldn’t usually see in  a luxury fashion  store. It’s stationary! I was carefully analyzing the design of the Burberry site which then turned into a couple more minutes of browsing the online store when  I suddenly noticed their “Stationary Collection”. These pencils are a treat to myself this festive season hah. So am I going to use them? I already have. Last time I saw anything like this was when Marc Jacobs had a set of mini coloring pencils but they were sold out and are no longer in production. My favorite brands are gradually  selling more playful/childlike ideas: Moschino recently showing off their Super Mario collection, Fendi and their fur keycharms and Angry bird-like artworks, and Burberry with their soft toy bears and limited edition wooden puppets.

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How cool would it be to have more designer pencils? I’m working on my last drawing for the year – perfect time to trial the Burberry pencils and so far so good. Another factor that made me want to purchase these set of coloring pencils was that they came in really nice soft shades.

Meanwhile other festivities happening in my household is this bearbrick tabletop setup with mini candy canes, presents and a mini christmas tree. Thought I’d have a bit of fun this year by using old christmas props and marrying it with the toys I’ve acquired this year.

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Finally, like every other year, my mom and I set our  tree up. We’ve had this tree since I was a toddler and it’s still standing strong!

A right-brainer by day and occasional blogger by night, you've landed on a place where I live and breathe all things art, design, culture and fashion. You'll find me documenting my life in the creative field, endless travels with friends and family and a bit of food.

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