We have been hearing about a (large!) gingerbread house which word on the street said had been constructed inside Te Papa Tongarewa (meaning Our Place – New Zealand’s National Museum, situated on Wellington’s waterfront). We always love hanging out at Te Papa – regardless of what special exhibitions are on, the long-term exhibitions and art are consistently engaging and interesting – but put baking, Christmas and museum altogether in one, and we knew we had to get down there and check it out for ourselves. So that’s what we did tonight (long may Te Papa’s late nights on Thursdays last!). The house has been constructed to encourage donations to the Wellington Children’s Hospital – gingerbread house making kits are available to buy at the museum. Click on the photos below to check out what we found… (look for the photos with the details of the building and baking, quite astounding!)…
The gorgeous Te Papa gingerbread house was baked by Te Papa’s Executive Chef, Bernd Lippmann and constructed, installed and decorated by the chef along with a dedicated team – see how they did it in the video below! The house fills the museum with a delicious “it’s Christmas!” smell of warm spices, and it is clear that the team who decorated the house has an eye for detail.
The house bought a huge smile to my face when I saw it, and was a nice reminder of the European Christmases we have the pleasure of enjoying for the past two years in the Netherlands. Seeing this gingerbread house also took me back to very happy memories of the gingerbread house competition which takes place annually in Sweden with a different theme each year and is exhibited at the Arkitekturmuseet in Stockholm. Read more
This week’s photo challenge seems so simple.
There are so many big things out there, especially coming from Australia. There’s the Big Banana, the Big Merino, the Big Prawn, the Big Pineapple; New Zealand comes to the party too, with the Big Gumboot, among other things.
We’ve seen Big Ben, too.
But all these things seem a little too easy. A little predictable. Almost everything is big, if you put it next to something else. A fire ant is big, next to a black ant. A molecule of water is big next to an atom of hydrogen. So instead I’ve chosen a big undertaking, that produced a pretty big ship, and at the end, was a big failure.
As the kid’s probably don’t say anymore: Epic Fail.
If you have already read my post from yesterday, you will know that Slow Art at the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm made a huge impression on both of us. I promised that today I would share with you the piece from the Slow Art exhibition that really stole the show for me. In fact, I think Mafune Gonjo‘s Beauty has a thorn is the most beautiful and innovative piece of sculpture I have ever seen.
Last week, PJD shared an in-depth glimpse into one of the art exhibitions that we have been most impressed with, ever. This was the incredible Slow Art exhibition at the Nationalmuseum, which we were lucky to find by chance when we were in Stockholm recently.
We were so surprised at the beauty of the pieces collected together in this small exhibition. In keeping with the theme, due to our captivation with what our eyes saw, we slowly took it all in.
Slow Art has really lingered in our minds; we have discussed many of the pieces we saw in the exhibition a number of times since we returned home to Leiden, reflecting on the fact that an overarching characteristic of the works was their exquisite beauty and uniqueness. So, today I thought I would share a few more of our favourite pieces. Sure, we loved them all, and the ones that PJD has already documented in his post were certainly amongst the most impressive. Yet, the depth of the quality in this small collection was quite astonishing, and these pieces really are quite something… Read more
If you’ve been keeping up with the blog, you might have noticed we have a thing about museums. Art museums, history museums, design museums, national museums. We like to engage with the collections, the curatorship, the physical spaces. We like to think about how the buildings enhance, diminish or otherwise interact with their surroundings, their contents and their visitors. And so I have selected three museum moments, instances where the museum we were in at the time took an unexpected twist…
The Chinese Garden Court, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
It was my first time in the Met, and CIA was showing me around some of her favourites. Having seen some of the western art, we decided to check out some of the Asian collection. What neither of us expected at all was to stumble into the Chinese Garden Court. It was nearly empty (a stark contrast to the Impressionist paintings), so peaceful, and the conjunction of modern atrium, tiling, bamboo and rocks just took our breath away. A brilliant moment.
A trip to Nationalmuseum in Stockholm turned into an unexpected highlight of our time in that wonderful city. Over breakfast, we planned out our day. This is not something we do very often, but there were so many things we wanted to see and experience, it seemed necessary. Our planned day required us to walk right past the building, inspired by North Italian architecture, which houses Sweden’s national collection. It seemed foolish not to have a look.
As is so often the case with these things, our intended stay of 30 minutes turned into 45, trickled into an hour, and time melted away as we were engaged, first with the general collection, then with an exhibition (briefly discussed already), and then we came upon something completely unexpected, Slow Art.
Sculpture amazes me, and I have stood for long periods of time in awe of the detail – in different styles – that sculptors such as Rodin, Louise Bourgeois (the sight of her Maman standing aloft in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall still haunts me!), Michelangelo and Alberto Giacometti manage to infuse into their pieces. I also love more abstract sculpture by artists like Richard Serra and Henry Moore, which are often particularly striking through sheer size, shape and vision, rather than minute, life-like detail. Surely though, the human body must remain as one of the most challenging subjects for a sculptor. Perhaps this was one of the reasons why the two pieces of sculpture below caught my eye during our travels over the last few months, and have lingered in my mind. As you can see, both are of human heads but they are separated by centuries and vastly different stylistic techniques. Yet looking at the photos I took of them, I find them both captivating and convincing pieces of artwork, and seeing them here next to each other, I like the contrast too.