Ai Weiwei x Andy Warhol

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

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.

Photo-16-01-2016,-1-23-42-PMPhoto-16-01-2016,-1-25-39-PM

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.

Photo-16-01-2016,-1-27-30-PM

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

Photo-16-01-2016,-1-38-20-PMPhoto-17-01-2016,-12-33-13-AM Photo-17-01-2016,-12-34-10-AM

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!

Photo-16-01-2016,-1-45-21-PM Photo-16-01-2016,-1-46-54-PM Photo-16-01-2016,-1-47-25-PM Photo-16-01-2016,-1-48-58-PM Photo-16-01-2016,-1-51-34-PM Photo-16-01-2016,-1-51-42-PM

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.

Photo-16-01-2016,-1-57-43-PM Photo-17-01-2016,-12-17-59-AM

Photo-16-01-2016,-9-17-41-PM

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

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.

Photo-1-01-2016,-2-49-37-PM Photo-1-01-2016,-2-54-03-PM

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.

Photo-3-01-2016,-3-30-59-PM

Photo-1-01-2016,-8-49-26-PM

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.

Photo-1-01-2016,-11-53-31-PM Photo-1-01-2016,-9-30-44-PM Photo-1-01-2016,-9-33-05-PM

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.

Photo-1-01-2016,-10-28-03-PM

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.

MADE in Melbourne

Photo-21-10-2015,-8-01-51-PM

I’ve never been a major music concert in my life and I was already thinking I’d probably never go to one ever, unless I was a crazy fan willing to dish out several hundreds for a band that I truly admired and cared about. Seeing Big Bang live last Wednesday was an experience never  to forget. Those 2 and a half hours should’ve extended to at least 8 hours, it flew like crazy. Listening to them made  me realize how amazing live performances can be  –  they did that to the point of perfection. I don’t like every single Big Bang song and even when they performed them, turns out I liked the songs so much. 5 years of waiting for this moment, and I’m willing to wait again for their next concert.

Photo-22-10-2015,-11-10-58-AM

When Big Bang announced their  MADE album tour for the first time in  Australia this October, it was like…What. The. Heck…I didn’t think there would be enough Big Bang fans in Australia, ever. At the time of the announcement (around July I think) they only mentioned Sydney in the tour schedule. I was devastated they weren’t coming to Melbourne but at the same time, it was expected that of all the cities in Australia Big Bang would visit, it would be Sydney. Sydney gets everything! I was still at work when the  news got  released, I found out when my friends texted me immediately. We were already in talks of doing  a trip to Sydney. Checking airfares, hotel rates, bus trips and all. Perhaps a one night’s stay in Sydney for  the concert would be enough. Or two nights? All I recall was sending many texts back and forth, carefully planning this Sydney trip.

Photo-24-10-2015,-3-12-37-PM

A week later I get two text messages  from the  same friends. I checked my phone after work and the first message said: “GSIDWGWSDHKJWHDKJHASKSH BIG BANG ARE GONNA COME TO MELB JSBDKJBDKJNSADLKSNCLKSNFCKNDS”. Then I check my other friend’s message and it was almost the exact same thing but with more uppercase letters and excessive use of exclamation marks. Well, there goes our Sydney plans hah! Where do I begin? There was a group on facebook I supported  called “Bring Big Bang to Melbourne” and it had about a thousand people who joined. Mind you this is after they announced Sydney and before they announced Melbourne. I was thinking there’s no way they’d come to Melbourne, impossible, but I’ll support this group anyway because who knows what could happen. Am I crazy to think that joining this group may have been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made? Obviously there’s lesser fans in Melbourne and Rod Laver Arena has a seating capacity of 15,000 in comparison to Sydney’s 30,000 plus seating in the Allphone’s Arena. All I can say is that I’m super impressed by the online support shown within the Melbourne BB community.

Photo-22-10-2015,-11-11-00-AM

A month later pre-sale tickets were on and I tried going for  VIP tickets but no luck. I tried again for the next round of tickets, again no luck. And the third time, no luck. My friend was very lucky enough to get VIP in the third round so I was happy for her knowing  that one of us could at least experience the thrill of VIP treatment. I swear those tickets are based on pure luck. I had 3 different devices on as soon as it was on sale, refreshed all browsers and still couldn’t get my hands on one ticket. Unfortunately there are horrible people out there who buy VIP tickets and sell it for double the price to desperate fans straight away. I went for two   Platinum tickets which were the second best (my mom wanted to come along as well). In the end I didn’t care too much about VIP anymore, if I could bring anyone to experience this concert with, it would be my mom.

 

 

Platinum tickets had seating but the only time we sat down was in between songs and during  intermissions. The Melbourne crowd didn’t bother sitting down, life is too short so we should dance more. Even my mom danced more than I did. One of the band members, Seungri, told us he did some research on Melbourne and from what he found on google, he said “Melbourne people party hard”. Yup, that’s exactly what we proved to him and the gang on Wednesday. It was a full house, not one person sat down, it was literally an ocean of yellow crown sticks and hands moving in the air. Rod Laver Arena is very cosy and no matter where you sit you’re bound to get a great view of the main stage. The best thing about a cosy arena is that you can feel the energy of the crowd.

I’m having major withdrawals as I type this post, ever since the  concert I’ve listened to “If You” on repeat, put  my crown stick back into its original packaging (the box is well designed I must say) and left it on a prominent site of my desk so every morning when I wake up it’s the first thing I see, rewatched my vids and continuously reminisce with friends via text  and social media. After the reception Big Bang  got from the Melbourne crowd, I’m sure they’re keen to come back and explore more of what this  great city has to offer in the future.

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.

More about Mon