It was a hot Christmas Eve and I had a free hour or two so I went to NGV for the airconditioning.
When I go to a gallery or exhibition, I go with the intention there’s something there just for me; one thing I’ll see which I’ll know on seeing is meant for me. When I’ve seen that thing, I usually want to leave straightaway. On Christmas Eve, I saw it through the water wall before I even got inside. It’s the Chandelier with restored Han dynasty lamps for the Emperor by Ai Weiwei.
As you can see, it’s delectable. Up close, far away, from any angle, it’s all exquisite.
It is inspired by an antique Han dynasty lamp discovered in an emperor’s tomb and said to represent eternal life and light. The artist says,
“The emperors truly believed that the afterlife would be just like life above ground. They had precious burial objects made from heavy materials such as porcelain, jade, jewellery and even clothing made of jade. They tried to prevent the body from disappearing after death. The underground tombs were illuminated by candlelit lanterns – they called them ‘eternal lights’ …”
Life above ground in the gallery’s garden on Christmas Eve was too hot for most people. They took to cushions under trees or walked through the sprinklers. Chairs were left to talk to each other.
(Click on the images below to enlarge.)
Images: Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei exhibition on at the NGV until 24 April