Tuesday, January 14, 2014

DiVerse at the Utzon's Opera House Exhibition

Sunday the 12th of January 2014, DiVerse performed their poetry with artists Reg Mombassa and Mika Utzon-Popov, Jorn Utzon's grandson at the S.H. Ervin, as part of the Utzon's Opera House Exhibition.

On Friday, September 28, 1973, the Australian Opera gave its first performance in the newly completed Sydney Opera House which was opened by Queen Elizabeth II. The work was Sergei Prokofiev's War and Peace, based on Tolstoy's novel. The architect, Jørn Utzon, resigned from the project in 1966 after conflict with the Minister for Public Works. Although Utzon never saw his masterpiece completed, and never heard a note of music in it, later, when invited to design an update to the interior, he was honoured to do so.

This year celebrates the fortieth anniversary of the Sydney Opera House. The architectural design that won the 1957 competition for its construction, made of hyperbolic parabolas, was later replaced by Utzon with a design based on complex sections of a sphere. Utzon's reason for the change was to create a common curvature on every surface. The result is iconic − a structure challenging the Sydney Harbour Bridge as our badge of national pride and identity. Poets and artists have recorded its every mood, and the S.H Ervin Gallery has assembled some of the finest artworks epitomising the principles of this magnificent building. Louise Herron, Chief executive of the Sydney Opera House, has suggested that these artworks inspire a feeling of "silent euphoria" (as in Peter Kingston's interpretations). But they also inspire responses of delight and colour (Reg Mombassa, Ken Done), of history (Margaret Olley, Lloyd Rees) and of iconoclasm (Bruce Goold, Martin Sharp, Brett Whiteley).

DiVerse poets, transcribing the visual into text, respond with ekphrastic poems which capture the moods and artistic representations of a number of these valued artworks, and which reify both the monument and its inspirations.