The Human Side of Mona, Hobart Tasmania

The artworks and art installations at the Museum of Old + New Art (Mona) are as varied as they are clever and shocking.

Modern Art may not be everyone’s art of choice, but it is pretty darn fascinating to think that a human brain can generate such wild and thought-provoking pieces.

In this post, mostly photos, I want to share the people of Mona including some examples of how humans, and their bodily functions, are represented in art.

Beware: there are some images below which may cause offence.

Artwork: Tim

Artist: Wim Delvoye

Description: Believe it or not this artwork is a real, live man sitting stock still, his back completely covered in the most colourful tattoos. Tim, a former tattoo parlour manager from Zurich, stares out over the sandstone walls, completely shunning his audience. His back is the attraction, not the whole human. Since Mona opened in 2011, he has sat silently for over 3 500 hours.

My Thoughts: I don’t have any tattoos and don’t want any, but I find them fascinating especially when they are mini works-of-art. This man’s back has become a living canvas and he is as still as a static painting hanging on a wall. I have no idea how he could sit there all day. Maybe that is part of the art too.

Artwork: Mine 

Artist: Steve Denny

Description: Denny’s artworks filled a large portion of deep underground level B3. The exhibition is full of dark, rugged and industrial images. The concept of mining relates to excavating the Earth as well as mining data. If you click on the link to the Mona website, it shows you how the website is mining your data, including you IP address and location! A bit scary!

My Thoughts: His images of people were harsh and angry. There was little that was pleasant about them. Even the small children were glued to their electronic devices and ignoring the rest of the World. It didn’t really make sense to me – a mishmash of random images. Perhaps I should have spent more time and read all the explanatory information on the ‘O’ device.

Artwork: Cloaca Professional

Artist: Wim Delvoye

Description: A long mechanical contraption suspended from the ceiling which has functions similar to the human digestive system.

My Thoughts: This is what is considered art at Mona! The Cloaca is a key attraction of Mona and one of its original artworks. Yes, it is hard to see the art in this piece, but it is mesmerising. I was ‘fortunate’ to time my visit to this installation at feeding time. The Cloaca is fed at 11am and 4pm daily and during this sitting, the Caterer cut up pieces of quiche and sweet pastries and gently fed it into a tube. Over the next couple of hours the food is processed and passes through various tubes and ‘stomachs’ and is pooped out the other end at 2pm. Yep, I am shaking my head as I type this! And I definitely did NOT hang around waiting until 2pm. Life is too short for that.

Artwork: Copulating Skeletons (sorry I didn’t record the correct name – I was too busy laughing)

Artist: Same…I was still laughing.

Description: two skeletons copulating with a backdrop of heartbeat and brain activity levels while the deed is being done.

My Thoughts: Laugh out loud funny and shocking, but hard to look away. Maybe it is because I can’t quite believe what I am seeing or that an artist’s brain could possibly generate this work. I was particularly fascinated with the video imagery of the physiological changes brought about by sex. Yes, Mona is not the place to be if you are easily offended.

Copulating skeletons at the Cloaca, Mona, Hobart Tasmania
No explanation necessary…

 So, what do you think?

 Is Mona for you??


 The Basics

What: The Gallery has a range of permanent and semi-permanent artworks and these may be updated at any time or on a whim. There are also feature exhibitions open to the public and others that are more exclusive and are ticketed at an additional cost.

Where: 655 Main Rd, Berriedale – approximately 11km North of Hobart.

When: Mona is open from 10am-6pm, every day except Tuesday. Check opening hours before you visit as it does vary by season.

Steve Denny at Mona, Hobart TasmaniaWhy: To see what all the fuss is about, even if it is hiding behind your hands and peeking through your fingers.

How: Every known transport option is available! Just get there.

Who: This Gallery may not be suitable for people who are easily offended and some of the artworks are a little R-rated. Carefully pick and choose what you let the kiddies see, otherwise you may have some serious explaining to do.

Related Posts: For everything you need to know about Mona, or almost, have a look at my overview post.

Related Blogs: Get it straight from the horse’s or gallery-owner’s mouth. Read what David has to say about everything art-related or anything he damn well pleases.

Read About It: Still wanting more Walsh-wisdom? Yes, he is an author too. Grab your copy of Monaism by David Walsh from the Mona store or for 12 187 different books about Modern Art,  go straight to Book Depository.

Mirrored humans at Mona Hobart Tasmania
Another weird human at Mona


#hobart #travelinspo #tasmania #monamuseum #mustsee  #humanart #staycation #peoplewatching #humansasart

10 thoughts on “The Human Side of Mona, Hobart Tasmania

  1. Wow, slightly weird and interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is both of those in equal measure! 😉 Do you have anything like this in NZ?


  2. This looks both fascinating and thought-provoking. I’d love a chance to visit. Thanks for the tour.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The owner of this place is an absolute classic. Currently, due to Covid19, he is lighting up a MASSIVE light beam at night time pointing up to sky – just to shine a little light on the World! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We all need a bit of light a the moment!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Oddly I think, I have found that as I have aged I have become more accepting of modern art and some of it I actually like. The only piece that appeals to me here is the ‘copulating skeletons’ and I positively dislike the tattoo one (as I do tattoos in general).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The jury is still out for me. I struggle to see the artistic statement in a lot of modern art, but I do admire the simple ‘cleverness’ of it all. Anyone who can dream up some of this stuff is pretty special!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I would definitely go there, and I would time my visit to make sure I saw the food being pooped out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Complete with all the smells and sounds!? You are one brave woman! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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