I’m sitting in a cafe in Prague as I write this post about an exhibit that took place over a year ago. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, when my mother died last year, I really felt like it didn’t matter whether or not I posted anything here about my trips. Especially my trip to Australia. This is because three days after I returned back to China my mom was found dead in her apartment, and I felt so angry with myself for not being there with her, or at the very least sending her that e-mail I had promised. The e-mail that would have told her all about my trip. I didn’t want to talk about the trip because I was so mad at myself for going. The truth is I had a great time in Australia, and I was really happy there and if my mom had lived, I would still have been happy with the memories. I would have told her all about it.
This blog is no substitute for sending an e-mail to my mother, but I feel a little melancholy with the idea that all my life experiences will just fade into obscurity when I die. I mean they could be lost in the obscurity of the web, but I’m okay with that because the illusion that I’m sharing something of my life makes me feel like I’m a part of the story. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but I’m still working out this whole “what to do with my one life” thing. I think of Mary Oliver’s The Summer Day, and I wonder, yes, what am I supposed to do with this life other than love being a part of it. What am I supposed to do? Is it greedy to want more? Is it too much to request that I experience the best of this world and die with that? I hope not. So why hold back on sharing the stories even if obscurity is the future.
If I had to be asked what I liked more Sydney or Melbourne, I’d have to pick Melbourne. I know they’re kind of rival cities, and I know that there are arguments for liking Sydney more, but the best way I can say it is that Melbourne was more my speed. Sydney has better beaches, but Melbourne had something special. A vitality, and an energy like something was being created. Sydney had that suit feel: All business and then some expensive partying at night. Everyone is beautiful, successful, and making money. I understand that this appeals to people, but it’s not my thing. I like real spontaneity and spark. I like the idea that things are not finished yet and its all still a grand work in progress. A place where you can take risks because failing is only part of the process. I don’t think this risk taking and allowance for failure is in Sydney so much because it already has the image to upkeep and when image becomes more important than process, I think it gets a little boring. But, what do I know, I was only there for a week.
While I was in Melbourne there was an interesting exhibit going on at the National and International Art galleries of Victoria. I really enjoyed the National Gallery (NGV) because it was all Australian artists and all interactive. There was work from artists all over the country including Aboriginal art.
And, since it was interactive you could literally walk on some of the pieces, in fact, you were invited to.
In the International Gallery you had famous pieces from artists like Warhol and Lee Krasner. I was excited to see an original Krasner piece since a lot of her work has been overshadowed by her husband Jackson Pollock (mainly by her own choice since she wanted to foster him as an artists).
So much time has passed since I went to this exhibit, that I have lost the names of the artists. I have them somewhere in a journal hidden under piles of clothes in un packed suitcases. This is how I’ve been living for almost two years, unpacked and uncertain but moving, moving, moving- on. As soon as I find the names I will update this post.
I think some of my favorite work was the video work and of course the photography. I’m a huge fan of the film genre- moving and still.
I’m not the kind of person that can really tell you what’s happening in a painting. I lack the vocabulary, but something about the medium of film really speaks to me even some of the most abstract work.
I don’t know how long my friend and I stayed in the gallery, but it was an almost all day event. I think we did both the National and International one in the same day. It was well worth it. There were many pieces I didn’t take pictures of because I’m not really big on taking pictures of art. It isn’t a motto, it’s just that I forget because I’m more interested in just looking at it, and I rarely feel like I capture it well in a photo.
The final photo below is from an alleyway near the gallery. Melbourne has some of the most amazing and creative street art that I’ve ever seen. I took this picture while we were planning our next activity.
It is interesting how little of my trip remains in my memory especially since I had enjoyed it so much. I assume it has to do with my mother. I lost some of my joy. I think my mom would be sad to know that I had lost some of my joy because of her, but to her I would say, “what do you expect woman? I love you and you’re gone.” Still, I should reach back for some of those memories and those joys. I had never thought I would ever go to Australia. It had seemed so far away, and since I never have any money I had thought, I’ll never be able to go, but I was there. And, now I’m here in Prague writing about being in Australia. It’s ungracious to not revel in the memories of a joyful time of travel. It is ungracious to me and to my mother. So, a year after her death, I can say, “Mom, I had a really good time, and I’d like to have more.” I’d like to tell her all about it, but I’ll just have to settle with the ubiquity of the web.
So more tales from the travels of the past, as the travels of the future are dreamed about in the travels of the present. To the open road. No one can express the joy of travel more than Whitman.
You air that serves me with breath to speak!
You objects that call from diffusion my meanings and give them shape!
You light that wraps me and all things in delicate equable showers!
You paths worn in the irregular hollows by the roadsides!
I believe you are latent with unseen existences, you are so dear to me.
Song of The Open Road, Walt Whitman