FirstSite is a new £28 million gallery that everyone hated before, during and after it was finished. It finally opened late last year, so I thought I would take a little trip down to see what all the fuss was about!
Everyone knows it as the ' Golden Banana ' or ' That big gold thing they built ', here is a shot of the entrance, which I think is absolutely gorgeous, but there's obviously more to it than that.
Here is an on-the-train pout to prep you for my thoughts.
This section would normally be pretty much irrelevant to me when I think about how I felt about a gallery and the overall experience. After all it's what's inside that is the reason it's even there! However the architecture of this building makes a big time statement, and to be honest was one of the only reasons I was interested in it at all. Its not just the golden plated sheen of the outside, and the unbelievable arc and sweeps of the roof, the inside is as complicated and wonderfully unnecessary! The huge bow of the inner walls make it seem like you're travelling on some snaking American Highway, or taking a tour of a gorgeously voluptuous curvy woman. In short I thought that was the exciting part of the gallery, how practical the shapes are for displaying any other type of art is quite obvious when you visit - not very.
On the inside
|Danh Vo 'We The People'|
I'm not going to go into too much detail about the exhibits included because I'm not reviewing particular artists, but to be honest if I was doing a post on that, it would probably be the size of the intro. At one point just after leaving the entrance hall, I thought I was either going the wrong way, or the gallery hadn't been completed yet. Unlike many of my favourites, you can walk at least 20 ft and not see anything but the empty shell of the building. In some galleries this adds to the effect and the grandeur, but it doesn't here. There are some really lovely pieces don't get me wrong, there is a wonderful instillation by Danh Vo that I will probably do a post on, and also the Roman Berryfield Mosaic, found on site and displayed beneath Perspex underneath the floor. I could honestly say though that with ample viewing and reading time I had completed my visit in about 40 minutes, and there seemed more loos and conference rooms than actual artwork. I would have expected so much more from something so controversial and beautiful on the outside, but I am so disappointed that something that could have really showed off the talent of the area has so much wasted space.
I will say no more! Except it's worth a visit if you're cruising Colchester, but you're not missing much, although the gift shop was pretty good.