Japanese art and fashion this summer

Comme des Garçons (Rei Kawakubo), Autumn/Winter 2012, Photography: Masayuki Hayashi / Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute / © The artist

The Gallery will present a program of exhibitions celebrating contemporary Japanese art and fashion this summer.

In addition to The obliteration room 2002 – present, the ever-popular ‘dot’ installation by world-renowned artist Yayoi Kusama, QAGOMA will present significant collection-based exhibitions including ‘Hanga: Modern Japanese Prints’ and ‘We can make another future: Japanese art after 1989’, as well as the much anticipated exhibition ‘Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion’.

Audiences have an unparalleled opportunity to access a vast array of works ranging from exquisite wood block prints by leading proponents of the sõsaku-hanga (creative print) movement through to contemporary sculpture, video and sound installations as well as a comprehensive survey of over 100 garments and accessories, curated by world-renowned fashion historian Akiko Fukai.

The program also draws into focus the significant role benefaction plays in the development of QAGOMA’s collection and highlights many works that could not have been acquired without the support of QAGOMA Foundation members.

The Myer Family’s support of The Kenneth and Yasuko Myer Collection of Contemporary Asian Art, a legacy of the Gallery’s Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT) and individuals benefactors such as Mrs Win Schubert AO and Mr James Sourris AM are acknowledged amongst those who have generously contributed to developing the Gallery’s extraordinary holdings of contemporary Japanese art.

QAGOMA’s Japanese Summer includes:

O 2009, a beautiful and thought-provoking video and sound installation by Japanese-born, London-based Hiraki Sawa. O considers cycles of time and movement through immersive central Australian imagery.

APT6 Installation view
Hiraki Sawa, Japan/United Kingdom b.1977 / O 2009 (installation view) / Multi-channel video installation / Purchased 2010. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist

‘Hanga: Modern Japanese Prints’ explores the texture, colour and innovation of Japanese printmaking from the 1960s to the present. The exhibition showcases printmakers working in a variety of techniques and styles, including innovators such as Kiyoshi Saitõ, as well as artists known in broader contemporary art contexts such as Tõkõ Shinoda, Tadanori Yokoo and Masami Teraoka.

Teraoka 1989_BLOG_72dpix570pxw
]Masami Teraoka, Japan/United States b.1936 / Namiyo at Hanauma Bay (from ‘Hanauma Bay’ series) 1985 / Colour lithograph on buff Arches cover paper, ed. 72/150 / Purchased 1989 with funds from Queensland Coal Resources through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist

We can make another future’ profiles the depth and breadth of QAGOMA’s collection of contemporary Japanese art, including much-loved works such as Kohei Nawa’s glass bauble-encrusted PixCell-Double Deer#4 2010, Takahiro Iwasaki’s floating wooden temple Reflection Model (Perfect Bliss) 2010-12, Yayoi Kusama’s immersive, mirrored installation Soul under the moon 2002 and large-scale, vibrantly coloured Flowers that bloom at midnight 2011. The exhibition also includes works by leading Japanese artists Takashi Murakami, Yasumasa Morimura, Yoshitomo Nara and Masami Teraoka.

Kohei Nawa, Japan b.1975 / PixCell-Double Deer #4 2010 / Mixed media / Purchased 2010 with funds from the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Diversity Foundation through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist

The summer of ‘Japanese cool’ heightens with ‘Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion’ opening on 1 November 2014. Tickets are now on sale for the exhibition which explores the innovative and influential developments in Japanese fashion from the early 1980s to the present. Along with iconic garments by pioneering fashion figures such as Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, ‘Future Beauty’ will showcase designs by innovators Junya Watanabe and Jun Takahashi and garments by the next generation including Tao Kurihara, Taro Horiuchi, Matohu, Akira Naka, Mikio Sakabe, Somarta, Né-net and mintdesigns.

We would like to thank Principal Partner: Tourism and Events Queensland; Principal Sponsor: Audi; and Supporting Sponsor: Gadens.

Curated by eminent Japanese fashion historian Akiko Fukai, Director of the esteemed Kyoto Costume Institute in Japan, this exhibition was originally conceived by the Barbican Art Gallery, London and the Kyoto Costume Institute, established by Wacoal Corp. and currently organised by the Kyoto Costume Institute in collaboration with the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art.

]Comme des Garçons (Rei Kawakubo), Spring/Summer 1997, Photography: Takashi Hatakeyama / Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute / © The artist

The Children’s Art Centre will present Yayoi Kusama’s The obliteration room 2002 – present.

'Yayoi Kusama: Look Now, See Forever'Promotional image
Yayoi Kusama, Japan b.1929 / The obliteration room 2002 – present / Furniture, white paint, dot stickers / Collaboration between Yayoi Kusama and Queensland Art Gallery. Commissioned Queensland Art Gallery, Australia. Gift of the artist through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation 2012 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © Yayoi Kusama, Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc

GOMA Talks Harvest: Food, Art and Life


Missed our second GOMA Talks food: its production, consumption and symbolism in association with our current exhibition ‘Harvest’? Host Sarah Kanowski, presenter of ABC Radio National’s Weekend Arts & guests: LA-Based artist collective & exhibiting artists Fallen Fruit; Dr Diane Kirkby; Joanna Savill, Good Food Month & Paul West, chef & host of River Cottage Australia examine how food has played a vital role in shaping our identities.

HarvestFallen Fruit of Brisbane: Pineapple expressGOMA
Fallen Fruit / Fallen Fruit of Brisbane: Pineapple Express! 2014 / A site-specific commission for GOMA

GOMA Talks Harvest: Food Futures


In twenty-first-century culture, food is everything and yet, in this new millennium, society is arguably more removed from the realities of food production at any time in human history.

In this GOMA Talks session, host Anthony Funnell, presenter of ABC Radio National’s Future Tense, and guests Tony Mahar, General Manager of Policy and Manager of Economics and Trade, National Farmers’ Federation; Dr Carol Richards, Vice-President, Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (QLD) and Senior Research Fellow, Queensland University of Technology; Dr Jaz Hee-jeong Choi, Deputy Director, Urban Informatics Research Lab and Senior Lecturer, Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology; and Josue Lopez (Executive Chef, QAGOMA) discuss food security & the future of food.

Our next GOMA Talks is Food, Art and Life on Thursday 17 July at 6.30pm.

Harvest: Art, Film And Food



The smell of Thai takeaway has been emanating from the Gallery of Modern Art…

Just ahead of ‘Harvest: Art, Film + Food’ opening at GOMA from 28 June – 21 September, Arts Minister Ian Walker was on hand this week to serve up a traditional Thai lunch to three unsuspecting gallery visitors and Gary Stafford, Managing Director of PanAust, Major Sponsor of ‘Harvest’.

Around a rather conspicuous table set with cutlery and a traditional Thai stainless steel ‘tiffin’ lunchbox, Gary and the gallery-goers talked, laughed and enjoyed Thai take-out. So what’s going on?…well it’s part of ‘Harvest’, it’s a social sculpture by Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija.


Rirkrit Tiravanija, Argentina/Thailand b.1961 / Untitled (lunch box) 1998 / Stainless steel tiffin, Thai newspaper, Thai takeaway food from local restaurant / Gift of the artist through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation 2009 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist

Every Thursday and Saturday during ‘Harvest’ Tiravanija’s work Untitled (lunch box) will enable Gallery visitors to come together and share a traditional Thai-style lunch. The interactive artwork offers a playful disruption to the usual art viewing experience by introducing the smells and noises of cooking, eating and talking…

‘Harvest’ opening weekend on Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 June will feature curator and artist talks, exhibition tours, chef cooking demonstrations and alfresco fare served on the Gallery’s Bodhi Tree Terrace. All are welcome.

The presentation of Rirkrit Tiravanija’s Untitled (lunch box) in ‘Harvest’ is supported by the exhibition’s Major Sponsor, PanAust.

Sam Fullbrook: Delicate Beauty

Michel Lawrence (Photographer) / Portrait of Sam Fullbrook 1986 / Collection and ©: Castlemaine Art Gallery

The works of Sam Fullbrook, one of the most important Australian painters of the twentieth century, are on display in their first significant exhibition in almost two decades. Fullbrook’s ideas about painting were captured in an interview in 1985.

In December 1985, filmmaker John Cruthers interviewed painter Sam Fullbrook (1922–2004) at his studio in Oakey on the Darling Downs. His exciting use of colour and abstraction is showcased in a retrospective exhibition that includes more than 30 paintings and a group of works on paper, with subjects including portraiture, landscape, horseracing and coastal scenes.

Sam Fullbrook, Australia 1922-2004 / Northwest landscape with Aborigines 1955 / Oil on canvas/ Gift of Mrs Anthea Wieneke 1984 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery/ © Estate of the artist
Sam Fullbrook / Mt Cooroy with Bunya Pines 1966-67 / Oil on canvas / Gift of J.P. Birrell, Lorant Kulley and P. Conn 1967 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © QAGOMA

A lot of people say, ‘that old bushman Sam Fullbrook’, but I’m no bushman. I was brought up in the heart of Sydney. Probably, I get that bushman bit because I’ve spent half of my life in the bush and I like living in the bush. No, I’m not a bushman, I’m a painter. I’m a good painter. I’m a portrait painter.

All the best paintings come from the best ideas. [A] lot of good pictures come from just hard work and a lot of good pictures come from accident. That’s what it’s all about, painting a good picture. There’s no such thing as an Old Master that is bad, so primarily there is technique. Technique is the thing that stands the test of time. Once you get [the colours] on the canvas, leave [them] there. If you make a mistake, don’t try and rub it out. Take your argument from what you did the day before. Don’t try and paint over . . . the application of colour to make a good picture: this is what you’re up to.

I have had a lot of experience in house painting. I’m not a house painter tradesman, but I have worked for a lot of very good tradesmen, and some of the most wonderful tricks or techniques of painting that I have learnt have been guided by people in house painting. If you buy an old board [with] coats of paint, you can study and you can see how the colour was got by the use of coloured undergrounds. They all use colours and white undergrounds . . . and if there was a warm underground there was a cool finishing coat, or if there was a cool underground, they would use a warm finishing coat. And that principle of the warm and dark, it’s just these basic principles . . . well, I suppose the science of colours.

The term alla prima, it’s Italian. The alla prima are some of the most wonderful portraits that have ever been. Those Rubens, some of the Fragonards — wonderful things. They’ve been painted in a couple of hours. There’s a piquancy, a vibrancy and an immediacy about the alla prima picture and, not only that, it lasts because it’s painted thinly and quickly and basically into the glaze. Yes, I think they’re the best pictures. Once you get excited about something, well, you’ve got an advantage. It’s going to have something that should have an influence on you. It’s full of portent. It’s going to be something wonderful. You take advantage of it. And you get it down — what it is — simple and quick.

I’ve always regarded myself as a portrait painter. Painting portraits well, it’s a highly disciplined craft. There’s a lot of drawing — I think that you should resume life [drawing] classes, say, two or three times a week. The format is pretty fixed. Basically, it’s like being a musician — it’s practice, it’s practice. It’s tuning the eye so that when something is put down, it’s in the right place. It’s discipline.

I’m just pictures. I don’t know what sort of a painter I am. It doesn’t particularly worry me whether I’m a good painter or a bad painter as long as I painted many pictures . . . I’m a good tradesman if you want a flower piece or a figure, a portrait or a drawing or a watercolour. I can turn my hand to all those things. Brilliance has nothing to do with being able to keep in business. Brilliance hasn’t much to do with painting pictures. Brilliance has nothing to do with anything really.

I wouldn’t say that I’m a very devout person, but I do go to church, pretty regularly, too. I am very much aware of the communal spirit — the meeting, the getting together of people, the support thing . . . ah, the gentle touch is not so terribly removed from meek either. It’s nice to think you can achieve something with the gentle touch — yes, delicate beauty.


This transcript, edited by Julie Ewington, Curatorial Manager, Australian Art, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, is of an interview originally recorded for the Australia Council in 1986, has been reproduced here with kind permission. Interview transcribed by Shirley Millett, Curatorial Intern.

‘Sam Fullbrook: Delicate Beauty’ is on view at QAG until 10 August 2014. An exhibition publication is available for purchase from the QAGOMA Store and online, and features some of Fullbrook’s most important portraits — including Ernestine Hill 1970, one of the Queensland Art Gallery’s most beloved paintings — landscapes and racetrack paintings, with a focus on works produced when the artist resided in south-east Queensland. Beautifully illustrated and featuring an interview with the artist by John Cruthers, Sam Fullbrook: Delicate Beauty is the first substantial publication of the intimate and highly individual works of Sam Fullbrook to be produced by a state gallery in almost two decades.

Sam Fullbrook / Ernestine Hill 1970 / Oil on canvas / Gift of the artist 1972 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © QAGOMA
Sam Fullbrook / Mermaid as Bride 1971 / Oil on canvas on panel / Gift of the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Foundation for the Arts through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation 2012. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery /© Estate of the artist
Sam Fullbrook / Poincianas 1971 / Oil on canvas / Purchased 1972 with the assistance of an Australian Government Grant through the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © QAGOMA

Foundation Annual Appeal


Support QAGOMA’s efforts to acquire the extraordinary portrait Sergeant P, after Afghanistan 2012 by one of Australia’s acclaimed contemporary artists and help the Gallery tell an often unspoken story of modern military conflict.

Ben Quilty, Australia b.1973 / Sergeant P, after Afghanistan 2012 / Oil on linen / Photograph: Mim Stirling

In 2011, Archibald Prize-winning artist Ben Quilty reached a serious turning-point in his career when he was offered a commission by the Australian War Memorial to fill the role of official war artist. Accustomed to producing his work –  in thickly smeared oils on linen – in a studio environment, a deployment in Afghanistan with the Australian Defence Force provided Quilty with the intensity and insight on which he thrives as an artist.

Quilty spent nearly a month in military bases around Afghanistan, from the two largest cities Kabul and Kandahar and the now-deserted airstrip of Tarin Kot, to record and interpret the experiences of Australians deployed in Afghanistan as part of Operation Slipper. “What those people are going through is the most extraordinary, extreme, violent and horrendous thing that I could imagine,” he admits. “When I got back to Australia and I started to try and work from the photographs that I’d taken there the photographs really to me felt quite hollow”.1

What developed from this exchange was an unshakeable desire to portray the raw intensity of emotion borne in the bodies of these Australian servicemen and women. Sergeant P, after Afghanistan 2012, this year’s Foundation Annual Appeal work, is the remarkable result of a private studio session with a recently returned soldier. The large-scale portrait stands as a vivid and compelling example of Quilty’s resultant ‘After Afghanistan’ series.

Sergeant P, after Afghanistan bears Quilty’s hallmark swathes of swift impasto linework, applied thickly and spontaneously with a palette knife. Yet while his earlier work demonstrates a marked preoccupation with emotional biography and the potential fragility of masculinity, Quilty’s role as an official war artist has seen his portraiture map remarkable new dimensions of empathy, awareness and gravitas. The muddy reds of Sergeant P’s face and furrow of his brow blend into the eddying confusion of background brushwork and seem to broadcast a maelstrom of emotions within. A walking stick cupped between two hands and a deep black swathe shrouding foreshortened legs hint silently at the life-threatening injuries that its subject sustained during service. His resolute stance tells its own story, confirmed by the artist himself: that, despite it all, he was determined to stand for the occasion throughout his portrait session. Quilty captures his subject with striking pathos, conveying Sergeant P’s strength and fragility, trauma and resolve.

Sergeant P, after Afghanistan tells a poignant story of one Australian’s participation in international conflict, composed with the remarkable observational skills of one of the country’s most acclaimed contemporary artists. This significant work marks not only a new subject and level of technical sophistication for Quilty himself but, more importantly, a nuanced insight into the character and dimension of Australian society and some of its heroic, often unheard participants.

QAGOMA Foundation, the vital fundraising arm of the Gallery, invites your help to ensure that this significant work joins the Collection. Sergeant P, after Afghanistan imparts a powerful narrative of the military experience and, on the centenary of World War One, makes a rich artistic link with our country’s historical involvement in conflict, both on and off the battleground.

See the Foundation 2014 Annual Appeal for further information and to donate or contact the Foundation on (07) 3840 7262. Donations of all sizes are welcome and those over $2 are tax-deductible. Contributions of $4,000 or more also qualify for Foundation membership. Donations from existing Foundation members will be credited to their membership.

1  Ben Quilty, ‘War Paint’, Australian Story, ABC, first broadcast 3 September 2012.