From the Director: A ‘Time of others’ – now open at GOMA

 

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Bruce Quek, Singapore b.1986 / Hall of Mirrors: Asia Pacific Report 2011 / Clock mechanisms, receipt printer with computer program, publicly available statistics / Courtesy of the artist / © The artist

The opening of a ‘Time of others’ is the final stage in a long and collaborative journey, a journey into four cities across three countries. ‘Time of others’ comes from the Japanese idiom 他人の時間 (tanin no jikan)implying the simple courtesy of respecting other people’s time. It refers more broadly to the concepts of ‘time’ and of ‘other people’ – in particular, exploring these notions as they are lived and experienced in the Asia Pacific.

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Ruangrupa, Indonesia est.2000 / The Kuda: The untold story of Indonesian underground music in the 70s 2012 / Multimedia installation / Purchased 2016. Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist

The exhibition looks at the complexity and diversity of our region not as impediments to our understanding of each other, but as tools for gaining new perspectives. It was organised through an innovative partnership between the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; the National Museum of Art, Osaka; the Singapore Art Museum; QAGOMA; and the Japan Foundation Asia Center. It draws on the unique but intersecting interests and expertise of each partner in the enterprise: SAM’s deep engagement – from its foundation in 1996 – with the art and artists of South East Asia, the significant modern and contemporary collections of Tokyo’s MOT and Osaka’s National Museum of Art and this Gallery’s own APT; established in 1993, and adding over 800 works to our collection.

Incorporating works from each, ‘Time of others’ tests the links and dislocations between peoples, histories and cultures from across east and south-east Asia and into Oceania. This unique opportunity to mine the holdings, artistic networks and resources of four institutions, each focused on the contemporary, has created a generous and malleable project. Gradually evolving with each new chapter, ‘Time of others’ opened in Tokyo last year, when I contributed to a forum that resolved to build a more collaborative spirit between the art museums of the region. It then travelled to Osaka, then on to Singapore, and has finally arrived here in Brisbane.

Its conceptual framework is expanded by the subtle addition of new works and the rearrangement of a common core in each successive city. While the collaboration was driven at the curatorial level it was supported by senior management, exhibition management, registration and other departments from each museum, in conversation with their opposite numbers throughout the region. Through this process, each museum gained a greater understanding of the others’ processes and collections, opening windows for future collaboration.

This is the first time one of QAGOMA’s curators has been invited to co-curate an exhibition which has subsequently toured back to Brisbane. This is very much the sort of engagement with the region that we aspire to, reciprocal and collegiate.

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Saleh Husein, Indonesia b.1982 / The Arabian Party 2013 / Acrylic on canvases, wall drawing and archival material / Courtesy of the artist / © The artist

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Heman Chong, Singapore b.1977 / Calendars (2020 -2096) 2004-2010 / 1,001 offset prints with matte lamination / Collection: Singapore Art Museum / © The artist

 

From the Director: Our new direction

 
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Installation of ‘Moving Pictures: Towards a rehang of Australian Art’, QAG

We were delighted to close APT8 with an attendance of almost 605 000 — the most visited APT since APT5 in 2006, which coincided with the opening of GOMA. It has contributed greatly to a cumulative attendance across eight Triennials of three million visitors. APT8 Live, which is our first performance program presented under its own banner, factored strongly in our APT8 figures and animated the whole Gallery and its precinct.

As we move into winter, two remarkable female artists from opposite sides of the globe are celebrated across our two buildings. At QAG, ‘Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori: Dulka Warngiid – Land of All’ — an extensive survey of the work of the late Queensland painter, whose unexpected artistic flourishing at the age of 80 was a great gift to contemporary Australian art. Meanwhile at GOMA, ‘Cindy Sherman’ considers the large-scale photographic works of one of the world’s most influential artists, in her first solo show in Australia since the turn of the century.

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Installation of ‘Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori: Dulka Warngiid – Land of All’, QAG
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Installation of ‘Cindy Sherman’, GOMA

This month you’ll notice some major changes at QAG. We have closed the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Galleries and moved our Australian collection highlights into Gallery 5. This allows us to use the Australian galleries as temporary Collection storage so that we can install a mezzanine level in QAG’s existing art storage area. To alleviate the effects of this building project, a densely installed Salon-style display of visitor favourites, titled ‘Moving Pictures: Towards a Rehang of Australian Art’, will keep some of our best known works on view until the Australian galleries are comprehensively rehung in late 2017.

Back at GOMA, with the opening of ‘A World View: The Tim Fairfax Gift’, we enter the first stage of celebrations for the tenth anniversary of our second site. This milestone marks a transformation not just for the Gallery but for its local, national and international audiences. GOMA has allowed us to rethink the way we present contemporary art and, we hope, given our audience new ways to experience it. When GOMA turns ten in December, we will present a major exhibition of our contemporary Collection highlights, augmented by some exciting new commissions.

GOMA has also opened the door for new collaborations at an international level, as will be evident in ‘Time of others’, which opens Saturday 11 June. This joint effort with our colleagues at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, Osaka’s National Museum of Art, and the Singapore Art Museum, with the support of the Japan Foundation Asia Center, shines a light on some of the same territory we explore and map through the APT, but brings in multiple curatorial viewpoints and the depths of all four collections to add new nuance to our understanding of the contemporary art of South-East Asia.

Michael Zavros, Australia b.1974 / Bad dad 2013 / Oil on canvas / Image courtesy: The artist and Starkwhite, Auckland / © The artist

Following its appearance in last year’s ‘GOMA Q’, Queensland artist Michael Zavros’s Bad dad 2013 is now the subject of the annual Foundation Appeal. The work, also a finalist in the 2013 Archibald Prize, brilliantly captures a contemplative and complicated moment of self-reflection in which Zavros casts himself as a contemporary version of the protagonist from Caravaggio’s Narcissus c.1597–99, which he saw in Rome’s Palazzo Barberini. To strengthen our holding of works by this important Australian artist, we are appealing to you, our supporters, to help us bring this hugely engaging painting into the Collection. I invite you to drop into GOMA to view Bad dad, which will be on display through to the end of July.

While you’re here, enjoy the rich selection of exhibitions and programs presented across both buildings.

‘Cindy Sherman’ | Until 3 October 2016 | Ticketed
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From the Director: Cindy Sherman – now open at GOMA

 
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Cindy Sherman, United States b. 1954 / Untitled #462 (and details) 2007–08 / Purchased 2011 with funds from Tim Fairfax, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist

Cindy Sherman doesn’t want for the world’s attention – she has had it since the late-1970s, when ‘Untitled Film Stills’ announced her arrival. I am so pleased we were able to welcome Cindy to GOMA for the opening of her exhibition ‘Cindy Sherman’.

Cindy’s most recent show opened 3 weeks ago in New York and we are privileged to have six of those works on display here in Brisbane. Being able to work with an artist of Cindy Sherman’s stature has fed into our recent drive to develop exhibitions directly with some of the world’s most interesting and enduring artists.

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As an inspiration to the development of the exhibition, in 2011, our major benefactor Tim Fairfax gifted us a work from Cindy Sherman’s Balenciaga collaboration. It features two women who really have to be twins; the ‘feminist studies academic’ and the ‘more out there’ one – same make-up, hair, dress, jewellery and big tortoise shell glasses. Their only distinctive features are a jacket and a knitted coat; one closed, one held open – both trimmed in faux-fur collars; one natural, one brightly coloured! It’s opening night in what looks like a re-purposed industrial art space. This is Sherman’s superb instinct for a trope.

All of us ‘gallery goers’ should be just as thrilled to now see this one work surrounded by 55 more, which between them map an irresistible assignation of life’s characters. I encourage you to see ‘Cindy Sherman’ on display at GOMA until 3 October.

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Installation of ‘Cindy Sherman’ GOMA

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition, the Cindy Sherman Up Late series will showcase an all-female line-up of international and Australian performers, including Eleanor Friedberger, Major Leagues, Mojo Juju, Kimya Dawson,  Sampa the Great, Jess Ribeiro and Teeth & Tongue.

To complement the exhibition, the Australian Cinémathèque at GOMA presents In Character, a cinema program of more than 65 films focusing on ideas and personas also reflected in Sherman’s photography.

‘Cindy Sherman’ | Until 3 October 2016 | Ticketed
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Cindy Sherman Up Late | Ticketed
5.30pm – 10.00pm | Fridays 17 & 24 Jun; 1 Jul; 9, 16, 23, 30 Sep 2016
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‘In Character’ | Until 28 August 2016
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Tickets on sale through qtix (booking fees apply) or at the GOMA Box Office from one hour prior to film screenings.

The project is accompanied by a series of free programs and events
In Character: Video Montages | Free
In Character: Absolutely Fabulous | Free
In Character: Variety Hour | Free

From the Director: Sally Gabori – now open at QAG

 
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Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, Kaiadilt people, Australia 1924–2015 / Dibirdibi Country 2008 / Synthetic polymer paint on linen / Purchased 2008 with funds from Margaret Mittelheuser, AM, and Cathryn Mittelheuser, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori 2008. Licensed by Viscopy 2016

Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori had close to a century of stories to tell by the time she passed away early last year – stories of a traditional life lived with family on Bentinck Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria; stories of her brother, known as King Alfred, and his sworn rival Pat Gabori, whom Sally would later marry; stories of the entire Bentinck population being moved to Mornington Island by missionaries in the 1940s; and most apparent of all, stories of Country. Though Mrs Gabori could never return permanently to Bentinck, she revisited her birth country occasionally by charter flight from Mornington.

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Installation views of ‘Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori: Dulka Warngiid – Land of All’, Queensland Art Gallery 2016 / © Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori. Licensed by Viscopy 2016

Like many Kaiadilt women, she was a skilled practitioner of traditional crafts who maintained her deep connection to Country through song. Just over ten years ago, at the age of 81 Mrs Gabori, who had previously never picked up a paintbrush, embraced a new medium. This was all the more remarkable not just for her advanced age, but because the Kaiadilt people had no tradition of visual art making. While her painting feels utterly contemporary at one level, it is indivisibly rooted at another in a customary understanding of her ancestral country.

To quote curator Bruce McLean, from the exhibition catalogue:

Sally Gabori’s entrance into art came without preconception, without the weight of a tradition to follow. Here was a space for something completely new, a space for pure innovation.

Among the more than 50 paintings represented, ‘Dulka Warngiid Land of All’ traces stylistic shifts over a decade of practice through paintings of place. It traces a personal journey into the world of colour while simultaneously mapping the land and the sea and the intersections between them. These paintings – like the vast white and indigo tract of Dibirdibi Country 2012, painted in Mrs Gabori’s 88th year – are swept along by the sheer passion and energy and love of their maker’s marks.

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Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, Kaiadilt people, Australia 1924–2015 / Dibirdibi Country 2012 / Synthetic polymer paint on canvas / Purchased 2014 with funds from Margaret Mittelheuser, AM, and Cathryn Mittelheuser, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori 2012. Licensed by Viscopy 2016

Looking at satellite photographs of these very same lands which are juxtaposed with a number of paintings in the publication – there is a more than striking correspondence between ancient and modern perspectives. This is something that I think is not often enough observed about these works and others like them. They might seem to have all the hallmarks of abstraction but they are stubbornly representational.

That much shone out on the walls around the Queensland Art Gallery’s iconic Watermall, when three of Mrs Gabori’s paintings were hung as the exclusive backdrop to the G20 World Leaders’ Dinner, in 2014. Mornington Island is not so remote from the world after all.

‘Dulka Warngiid – Land of All’ was in its early stages when it was announced, in February 2015, that Mrs Gabori had died peacefully surrounded by family and friends. She had just learned about our plans, was excited by the prospect of this exhibition, and we would simply have loved for her to have been here for the opening. We are all the more grateful, then, that so many of her family, her daughters and grand-children, were at the official opening on Friday evening 20 May – they have much to feel proud of. We’re very proud to share with the world the work of a truly extraordinary artist, whose legacy is her vibrant and powerful picturing of Country.

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Exhibition catalogue Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori: Dulka Warngiid – Land of all

From the Director: Be the first to see ‘Cindy Sherman’ in Brisbane

 
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L–R: Cindy Sherman, United States b.1954 / Untitled #462 (detail) 2007–08 / Purchased 2011 with funds from Tim Fairfax, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Untitled #466 2008; Untitled #463 2007–08 and Untitled #354 2000 (details) / Images courtesy: The artist and Metro Pictures, New York / © The artist

‘Cindy Sherman’ is the first in-depth profile of the artist’s work since 2000 to be shown in Australia, and the first chance for you to see in Brisbane large-scale, digital-based photographic works. QAGOMA is proud to present six of Sherman’s series: ‘head shots’ 2000–02, ‘clowns’ 2003–04, ‘society portraits’ 2008, ‘murals’ 2010 and two of her subversive fashion house collaborations, ‘Balenciaga’ 2007–08 and ‘Chanel’ 2010–12.

You will also be able to see a group of new works where Sherman alludes to the historical commissioning of portraits, addresses the issue of ageing and subtly acknowledges the pervasive influence of the digital manipulation of images.

Together, they echo and interrogate society’s fascination with narcissism, the cult of celebrity, the power of aspirational culture and the emotional fragility pervading these conditions.

Since the late 1970s, Cindy Sherman has constructed an extraordinary career around remaking her own image to channel and challenge the archetypes of pop and high culture. In producing an astonishingly varied gallery of character studies over decades, Sherman’s practice has made a profound contribution to the evolution of the photographic image.

An iconic and enduring American artist of the New York ‘Pictures’ generation, Sherman made her name with the ‘Untitled Film Stills’ series 1977–80. These works made no attempt to imitate specific individuals; rather, they captured the essence of a type.

Today, Sherman’s oeuvre seems prescient. It is not simply that she prefigured the phenomenon of the contemporary self-portrait — Sherman taps into a deeper collective unconscious in her exploration of the physical markers of identity. The self-image is constructed through the mediated frame of what appears to be self-portraiture, but, which is, in fact, the acting out of societal expectation of archetype. She positions herself at the centre of a discourse while erasing herself from the very image that has generated it and, in doing so, shows that we can never entirely eradicate the individual concealed beneath the disguise.

What may not appear obvious at first glance is the humour in Sherman’s work — she takes an authentic persona and exaggerates one aspect of the character just a few degrees to generate a subtle unease in the viewer. Across the artist’s career, from the ‘Untitled Film Stills’ to the ageing socialites in this exhibition, Rebecca Schneider has identified ‘the uncertain space between the joke and the truth [as] where Sherman’s uncanny portraiture lives and breathes a kind of undead power’. Schneider finds that Sherman’s ‘fake has come back to haunt the real only to find the real was . . . fake’ in the first place.1 Therein lies the power of her work: in adding layers of disguise to conceal herself, she strips back other layers that reveal the artifice in the world she is describing.

Endnote
1  Rebecca Schneider, ‘Remembering feminist remimesis: A riddle in three parts’, TDR: The Drama Review, vol.58, no.2, summer 2014 (T222), p.26.

This is an extract from the Cindy Sherman exhibition catalogue by QAGOMA Director, Chris Saines, CNZM

Gallery receives Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation

 
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Chris Saines accepts the Commendation from Consul-General Hidehiro Hosaka

On Wednesday night, it was my great honour to accept a commendation to the Gallery for its long-term cultural engagement with Japan. Presented by Consul-General Mr Hidehiro Hosaka, the Commendation from Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, acknowledged the Gallery’s contribution to the enhancement of mutual understanding and the promotion of friendship and goodwill between Japan and Australia.

We are indebted to Consul-General Hosaka, and his predecessor, Ms Yoko Yanagisawa, for nominating us for this illustrious award, and humbled by the Japanese Government’s recognition. To me, it acknowledges many individuals who have built this special friendship over almost three decades. In particular, the Gallery’s Chair from 1987 to 1995, Richard Austin, OBE, drove the early engagement. In one of his earliest speeches in that role, he tellingly urged that ‘…we in the West should recognise the appeal of types of civilisation more venerable and more artistic than our own’. He was, I think we can fairly say, an unabashed Japanophile, and he unerringly steered us on course for a long period of amicable relations.

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Minister for Multicultural Affairs The Hon. Grace Grace, MP, Gallery Chair Sue Street, AO, QAGOMA Director Chris Saines, CNZM, and Consul-General Hidehiro Hosaka

From an auspicious exhibition exchange with Saitama and the development of the Six Old Kilns collection in the late 1980s, our links with Japan have strengthened through eight Asia Pacific Triennials, from 1993 to the present day. They have been punctuated by even deeper looks at the country’s contemporary, modern and historical visual culture. These were explicitly celebrated by a focus on Japan across  the summer of 2014–15, which encompassed our Collection exhibition ‘We can make another future: Japanese art since after 1989’ and ‘Future Beauty’ from the Kyoto Costume Institute among many other strands.

We have been fortunate to foster lasting relationships with now senior Japanese artists: Lee Ufan, Takashi Murakami and Yasumasa Morimura among them. For example, as part of the 2002 Asia Pacific Triennial, Yayoi Kusama collaborated with us on an interactive project for children – The obliteration room which she later gifted to the Gallery, and has since been staged around to the world and experienced by almost five million people in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Our engagement with Japan continues unabated. A collaborative exhibition with colleagues in museums in Tokyo and Osaka, supported by the Japan Foundation – ‘Time of others’ – opens at GOMA in June this year, and we look forward to many future opportunities to build on this warm friendship.

I extend my warmest thanks to Consul-General Hosaka and Consuls Hirashima and Watabe for their hospitality and friendship in delivering this recognition.

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Gallery trustees, management and staff with Consul-General Hidehiro Hosaka and Deputy Consul-General Takahiro Watabe.