Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 27 Summer 2010 Contents 212 INSITE SUMMER 2010
MOREAU IN MELBOURNE
Experience the ‘eternal feminine’ – a world of exotic escape
Think Paris 1890-1900 an d you r brain w ill likely switch on images by Auguste
Renoir. Our view of Paris during this tumultuous decade is of La Belle Epoch
(literally ‘the beautiful period ’), but garden pa rties by the S eine were o nly half
the stor y. The ar tist who most epitomises the flipside of this elegan t existen ce,
the e nd-of- centu ry escapism a nd fashion able despair, was G ustave Mo reau . H e
saw the period as a time to muse on what had been lost. The National Gallery of
Victo ria introdu ces Moreau for the fi rst time, an d his su mptuous paintings, full
of roman tic melan choly a nd exotic sexu ality, will be a revelatio n. The ex hibitio n
Gustave More au and the Eternal Fe minine explores his fascin atio n with heroin es
an d queen s, goddesses an d temptresses – they were screen s thro ugh which
he could filter his ex plo ration s of the key themes of the ‘etern al feminin e’ –
o bsession , dream, l uxu r y, magic, the femme fatale, exoticism an d the ideal.
Decem ber 10–April 10. Visit ngv.vic.gov.a u .
RIOT FOR THE SENSES
Ballet Russes moves from stage to gallery
The best thing abo ut the recent film Coco Cha nel & Igor Stravinsky, was the
recreation of the now-infamo us premiere of Serge Diaghilev’s B allets Ru sses’
performance of Le Sacre du Printemps, (The Rite of Spring) in 1913. Stravinsky’s
mu sic, Vaslav Nijinsk y’s choreography a nd Nicholas Ro erich ’s design exploded
into the theatre an d star ted a riot that still reson ates i n ou r con sciou sness as a
mo ment of ar tistic gen ius. On the cen ten ary of the establishment of the Ballets
Russes, the National Galler y of Australia draws from its own collection of 140
costu mes fro m 3 4 produ ction s from 1909 to 1939 to celebrate that flowering
of talent. According to curator Robert Bell, Diaghilev “harnessed the new and
powerful ex pressiven ess of post-impression ism an d the visio na ry elemen ts of
cu bism, linking them to n ew fo rms of music built aro un d aton alism a nd primitive
rhythms. B earing the sweat of the dancers an d the ravages of time, the sur vivi ng
costumes are tangible reminders of the craft of their designers, makers and wearers”.
Ballets Russes: the Art of Costume, December 10–March 20. Visit nga.gov.au .
Ma ntle from costume for
King Dodon, c193 7.
Gustave Moreau, The
Sirens, oil on canvas.
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