Longhead dreamer, yellowhead hulafish, horseface unicornfish,eyebrow wedgefish, scribbled pufferfish, longhorn cowfish, zebra hornshark, toothbrush leatherjacket, piano fangblenny, pacific jellynose, abyssal ghostshark, curious wormfish, splendid snaggletooth, glowbelly seabass….
Believe it or not, these are real fish …. and there’s even stranger ones where they came from.
I’m standing inside Fish in Australian Art and staring at the fish names installation as they light up one by one, flickering lights shimmering like a school of silver scaled barracuda. I’m imagining what we can play here for our Art in the dark family tour this saturday. We’ve been busily crafting luminescent art games- glowstick connector sculptures, exquisite fish corpses painted with glow in the dark pigments, taping together experimental drawing tools, and choreographing some fish inspired dance moves.
I’m also talking with our indefatigable character actor, who shall be known only as Monsieur Le Poisson. A chameleon and master of disguise this torchlight tour guide also wears the hats of Johnny Grog-Nose, our resident Pirate and Spanker Boom, the museum’s night keeper.
This Saturday he will be a somewhat more refined creature in French inspired attire, moustache, beret and accent to boot. Monsieur Le Poisson( Mr Fish) is not a fish, but he knows all about them, he is not an artist, but he could be, and he is taking time out of his busy Bastille day celebrations to take us through the inspiring exhibition Fish in Australian Art– sans lumiere.
Torches at the ready we will uncover a world of stories, strange materials, peculiar fascinations, artistic wonders. Following a line from rock art to contemporary as we seek to answer the timeless question “What is art?”… “Why did they make that?”…. “What does it mean?” …
After dark tours are a special affair, giving visitors a chance to see the exhibitions when the lights are out and no one else is around! They’re also an occasion for fun and interactive games, art making activities and delicious food. This Saturday we are being inspired by the chance occasion that it is also Bastille day, and of course what is more French than good art, and good food. So we are planning delights like crepes avec nutella and pommes frites, to be enjoyed after our tour alongside some creative capers with fluorescent face paint and a blacklight torch!
Needless to say, we’ll be painted up like a glowbelly seabass by the time the night is done.
More info: www.anmm.gov.au/schoolholidays.