Fairy Tales: Remixed & Remade

 

The ‘Fairy Tales’ exhibition at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) until 28 April 2024 assembles the work of contemporary artists, designers and filmmakers who interrogate the fairy tale through an expansive range of media.

Buy Tickets to ‘Fairy Tales’
Until 28 April 2024
Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane

Works of sculpture, installation, painting, photography, printmaking, papercut, design, animation, interactive installation, video art, augmented reality, film, film props, costumes and filmic elements are displayed across three themes: ‘Into the Woods’, which investigates classics of the fairy tale canon by exploring archetypal figures and their current applications in visual storytelling; ‘Through the Looking Glass’, where newer tales of parallel worlds populated with unexpected ideas and pathways, both physical and metaphorical, are celebrated; and ‘Ever After’, where both classic and contemporary tales come together to see aspirations celebrated, conventions challenged and new directions emerge.

RELATED: Journey through the ‘Fairy Tales’ exhibition with our weekly series

Into the Woods

Gustave Doré ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ 1862 

Gustave Doré, France 1832-83 / Little Red Riding Hood c.1862 / Oil on canvas / 65.3 × 81.7cm / Gift of Mrs S. Horne, 1962 / Collection: National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Kiki Smith ‘Born’ 2002 

Kiki Smith,United States b.1954 / Born 2002 / Lithograph on mould-made TH Saunders paper / 173 x 142.5cm / Purchased with funds provided by Hamish Parker 2019 / Collection: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney / © Kiki Smith. ARS/Copyright Agency / Image © Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

Well-known visual motifs are highlighted throughout — with images of woods and trees, mirrors and blood, apples and witch houses, impossible shoes and clothing for royalty, as well as castles, coaches and a pumpkin. The exhibition considers themes of magic, enchantment, thresholds and transformation, while also articulating the concepts of power imbalance and injustice, gender and otherness, ageing, and resilience in the face of adversity. Not everything is playful, not everything is dark and, as we know from real life, not everything is simple.

From centuries-old oral tales to today’s multifaceted delivery across print, screen, performance and the visual arts, the fairy tale has negotiated its way from tales of the working class to the heights of aristocracy and back again, a chameleon shifting and changing to the needs of its audience.

Fairy tales were created in such settings to provide sustenance for the soul in the form of wistful diversions from the drudgery of domestic duties over long days and dark nights. Arising from the oral tradition of wonder tales, they brought together wit and wisdom, entertainment and guidance, caution and the joy of possibility. Told to young and old, these stories were peppered with tales of kings and queens, castles and coaches, feasts and riches, as well as magical moments proffering ways one might — in a faraway land, a long time ago — bask in the love and security one craved. Within these humble tales, social and domestic issues were raised, taboos discussed, community values expressed and generational wisdom shared. It is in this realm of relative safety that both storytellers and audiences could seek respite from the seemingly inescapable weight of life’s challenges and dive into a world where their voices could not only be heard, but entire lives could be imagined.

Through the Looking Glass

Walter Martin & Paloma Muñoz ‘Traveler 314’ 2018

Walter Martin, United States b.1953; Paloma Muñoz, Spain b.1965 / Traveler 314 2018 / Snow globe / 19 x 15.2 x 15.2cm / Purchased 2023 with funds from Tim Fairfax AC through the QAGOMA Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Walter Martin and Paloma Munoz / Image courtesy: The artists

Charles Blackman ‘The Blue Alice’ 1956-57 

Charles Blackman, Australia 1928-2018 / The Blue Alice 1956-57 / Tempera, oil and household enamel on composition board / 122 x 122cm / Purchased 2000. The Queensland Government’s special Centenary Fund / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Charles Blackman/Copyright Agency

But the Pied Piper has to be paid. For all their fulfilment of wishes and dreams, fairy tales also speak of the darker sides of life: fractured families and domestic strife; jealousy, greed and prejudice; cruelty and abandonment; scarcity and poverty; lust and abuse; and the harsh reality that, even within the home, predators have many guises. 

The veil between real life and that of the fairy tale is gossamer thin. For all their talk of glitter and gold, of magical trees and flying horses, at their heart, fairy tales are a test kitchen for our gravest concerns. They are told, retold, remixed and remade in the hope of creating outcomes that are fairer, kinder, safer and more palatable than in reality. It is one of the many reasons fairy tales live on today. No matter how far we think we’ve come, shadows still nip at our heels. Children go missing, predators lurk with potions and poisons, alleyways and basements remain ripe for abuse, families are shattered by mistrust and violence, and beneath all the tears and chaos there is always want — both desire and lack — that never goes away. Humans are flawed creatures, divisive, discordant and at times dangerous.

Ever After

Mirror Mirror ‘Wedding dress’ costume 2012 

Tarsem Singh (director), Eiko Ishioka (designer), Carelli Costumes (costumiers) / ‘Cream wedding dress’ costume worn by Julia Roberts as ‘Queen Clementianna’ in Mirror Mirror 2012, installed in ‘Fairy Tales’, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) Brisbane 2023 / Duchess silk satin, Swarovski crystals / Collection: The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Los Angeles / © 2012 UV RML NL Assets LLC. / Photograph: N Umek © QAGOMA

Production stills from ‘Mirror Mirror 2012 

Tarsem Singh, India/United States b.1961 / Production still from Mirror Mirror 2012 / 35mm, colour, Dolby Digital, 106 minutes, United States/Canada, English / Director: Tarsem Singh / Producers: Bernie Goldmann, Ryan Kavanaugh, Brett Ratner / Script: Marc Klein, Jason Keller, Melisa Wallack / Cinematographer: Brendan Galvin / Editors: Robert Duffy, Nick Moore / Cast: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Jordan Prentice, Mark Povinelli, Joe Gnoffo, Danny Woodburn, Sebastian Saraceno, Martin Klebba, Ronald Lee Clark / © 2012 UV RML NL Assets LLC. / Photograph: Jan Thijs, 2011 / Image courtesy: Relativity Media

Mirror Mirror ‘Rabbit suit’ costume 2012 

Tarsem Singh (director), India/United States b.1961; Eiko Ishioka (designer), Japan 1938–2012; Carelli Costumes (costumiers), United States est. 1982 / Featuring ‘Rabbit suit’ costume from Mirror Mirror 2012, installed in ‘Fairy Tales’, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) Brisbane 2023 / Silk, polyester, cotton, silk jacquard, synthetic fur, synthetic velvet, leather, rhinestones / Collection: The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Los Angeles / © 2012 UV RML NL Assets LLC. / Photograph: Jan Thijs, 2011 / Image courtesy: Relativity Media / Photograph: N Umek © QAGOMA

Telling difficult truths is not only the purview of fairy tales — artists, too, have long tackled challenging ideas. Likewise, the arts have offered platforms through which to envision change. Across many forms and forums, artists have consciously looked to provoke and destabilise conventions and prejudices, challenging others to look beyond their indifference and inertia. Art is a lived experience. The ‘how’ and ‘why’ of the stories artists tell, and the creative wells they draw from, reflect the fluid and multifaceted nature of art and the cultural, political and social imperatives that surround us.

Fairy tales continue to demonstrate their expansiveness and mutability, telling and retelling narratives across contemporary art, music, dance, theatre, literature and screen content. Their proliferation in broader social and commercial uses, from lipstick sales to home security politicking, underscores their enduring appeal. Given these tales’ ubiquity, it is little wonder artists are drawn to them and the polymorphic opportunities they represent.

Fairy tales not only provide opportunities for artists to confront the issues inherent in these narratives, but also offer a conduit through which to address difficult and complex issues that underpin their existing practices.

Gustave Doré ‘Donkey Skin’ 1862

Gustave Dore, France 1832–83 / ‘Donkey Skin’ illustration from Charles Perrault’s Les Contes de Perrault (1867) / Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Arthur Rackham ‘Hansel and Gretel’ 1909

Arthur Rackham, United Kingdom 1867–1939 / ‘Hansel and Gretel’ illustration from Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (1909) / Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Depicting fairy tales in art is not new. Many of our ideas of what fairy tales look like have been profoundly influenced by Gustave Doré’s illustrations for the classic book of fairy tales by Charles Perrault, Les Contes de Perrault (The Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault) (1867), and Arthur Rackham’s drawings for Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (1909). The popularity and wide distribution of illustrated nineteenth-century fairy tale publications meant these images became inextricably tied to the written texts. The collision between the fairy tale and visual art, however, is a product of more recent times, a response from the 1960’s onward to social discord surrounding issues of gender equality, civil rights, and war. The 1970s in particular were an important time for the rise of feminism, which destabilised how fairy tales were interpreted. Authors such as Angela Carter were at the forefront of interrogating the ways fairy tales informed social structures, and how reconsideration and reclamation of earlier tales — before their softening for children — could again inform ways of navigating life’s challenges.

Amanda Slack-Smith, ‘Fairy Tales’ Curator & Curatorial Manager, Australian Cinémathèque, QAGOMA
This edited extract from ‘Do Not Handle With Care: Fairy Tales Remixed and Remade’ was originally published in Fairy Tales in Art and Film, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, 2023

The ‘Fairy Tales’ exhibition is at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Australia from 2 December 2023 until 28 April 2024.

Fairy Tales Cinema: Truth, Power and Enchantment‘ presented in conjunction with GOMA’s blockbuster summer exhibition screens at the Australian Cinémathèque, GOMA from 2 December 2023 until 28 April 2024.

The major publication ‘Fairy Tales in Art and Film’ available at the QAGOMA Store and online explores how fairy tales have held our fascination for centuries through art and culture.

From gift ideas, treats just for you or the exhibition publication, visit the ‘Fairy Tales’ exhibition shop at GOMA or online.

‘Fairy Tales’ merchandise available at the GOMA exhibition shop or online.

Featured image: Tarsem Singh, India/United States b.1961 / Production still from Mirror Mirror 2012 showing ‘Swan dress’ worn by Lily Collins as ‘Princess Snow’ / 35mm, colour, Dolby Digital, 106 minutes, United States/Canada, English / Director: Tarsem Singh / Producers: Bernie Goldmann, Ryan Kavanaugh, Brett Ratner / Script: Marc Klein, Jason Keller, Melisa Wallack / Cinematographer: Brendan Galvin / Editors: Robert Duffy, Nick Moore / Cast: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Jordan Prentice, Mark Povinelli, Joe Gnoffo, Danny Woodburn, Sebastian Saraceno, Martin Klebba, Ronald Lee Clark / © 2012 UV RML NL Assets LLC. / Photograph: Jan Thijs / Image courtesy: Relativity Media

#QAGOMA

From outer space to our own back yard, 5 of the best films from BIFF 2020

 

Whenever I declare a top 5 list, I immediately miss all the fabulous films I’ve left out. But there you have it; I’ll leave those gems for you to discover in BIFF 2020 yourselves. Like many, this year has put me in a reflective mood, drawing me to films which interweave stories of personal challenges, questions of who and what we are, and the power of the past.

In Jóhann Jóhannsson’s stunning adaptation of Olaf Stapledon’s 1930 science-fiction novel Last and First Men Tilda Swinton’s narration gives voice to our future selves pleading with us not to recreate their mistakes, the deeply resonant High Ground tells a powerful story of crime, cover-up and reckoning in outback Australia in the 1930’s, the highly unusual feature The Science of Fictions depicts a man forever changed by witnessing the filming of a fake moon landing in rural Indonesia in 1962, while the mesmerising Valley of Souls sees a father undertake a dangerous journey to find his sons amidst the civil conflicts which ravaged Columbia in the early 2000s, and lastly the uplifting and personal documentary Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra which reflects on the last 30 years of this internationally renowned dance company.

Amanda Slack-Smith is Artistic Director for BIFF 2020, and Curatorial Manager of QAGOMA’s Australian Cinémathèque.

RELATED: More 5 film suggestions to watch

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BIFF returns to cinemas from 1 to 11 October with multi-award-winning Australian actor Jack Thompson AM and Academy Award-nominated film editor Jill Bilcock AC as the Festival’s 2020 Patrons. Presented by the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) through its Australian Cinémathèque at GOMA, and in partnership with venues across Brisbane, BIFF 2020 will screen new release features and documentaries, special events, a short film competition and much more.

With over 70 films from 28 countries, we can’t wait to welcome audiences back for BIFF 2020 — 11 exhilarating days of unmissable cinema! 

Visit BIFF.com.au Tickets now on sale

1. Last and First Men

Last and First Men 2020 / Directors: Jóhann Jóhannsson

2. High Ground

Production still from High Ground 2020 / Director: Stephen Maxwell Johnson / Image courtesy: Madman Entertainment

3. The Science of Fictions

The Science of Fictions 2019 / Directors: Yosep Anggi Noen

4. Valley of Souls

Valley of Souls 2019 / Director: Nicólas Rincón Gille

5. Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra

Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra 2020 / Directors: Wayne Blair, Nel Minchin

Watch and Read about BIFF 2019 / More on BIFF 2020 / View the Cinémathèque’s ongoing program / Subscribe to QAGOMA YouTube to go behind-the-scenes

Returning to Cinemas
BIFF 2020 is one of the first major film festivals in Australia to welcome audiences back to cinemas, and we’ll be taking extra steps to prioritise the health and wellbeing of our visitors and staff. In addition, when booking, individuals/groups will be distanced in accordance with Queensland Health guidelines.

BIFF 2020 will screen at QAGOMA’s Australian Cinémathèque, and at valued partner venues Dendy Cinemas Coorparoo, The Elizabeth Picture Theatre, New Farm Six Cinemas, Reading Cinemas Newmarket and the State Library of Queensland – all part of a city-wide celebration of film.

QAGOMA is the only Australian art gallery with purpose-built facilities dedicated to film and the moving image. The Australian Cinémathèque at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) provides an ongoing program of film and video art that you’re unlikely to see elsewhere, offering a rich and diverse experience of the moving image, showcasing the work of influential filmmakers and international cinema, rare 35mm prints, recent restorations and silent films with live musical accompaniment on the Gallery’s Wurlitzer organ originally installed in Brisbane’s Regent Theatre in November 1929.

BIFF 2020 is supported by the Queensland Government through Screen Queensland and the Australian Federal Government through Screen Australia.

Artistic Director for BIFF 2020 is Amanda Slack-Smith, Curatorial Manager of QAGOMA’s Australian Cinémathèque.

Featured image: Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra 2020 / Directors: Wayne Blair, Nel Minchin / Image courtesy: Daniel Boud, from Sydney Coliseum Theatre

#BIFFest2020 #QAGOMA

5 films to reboot your life

 

Have you ever wished you could put life into game mode and return to the previous save? Or even just hit Ctrl+Z on your keyboard to start your day over?

Here are five films offering a glimmer of what hitting reset would look like, from being forced to fix your issues before life reboots (Groundhog Day 1993), playing with time through experimental machinery (Primer 2004, Source Code 2011), enduring endless reboots to save the world (Edge of Tomorrow 2014), or just ending today better than yesterday (Happy Death Day 2017), here are some do-overs that go well with popcorn.

Anyone else stuck in a loop?

Amanda Slack-Smith, Australian Cinémathèque.

RELATED: More 5 film suggestions to watch

SIGN UP NOW: Subscribe to QAGOMA Blog for the latest announcements, film highlights, behind-the-scenes features, and stories.

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day (1993) Dir: Harold Ramis

Primer

Primer (2004) Dir:  Shane Carruth

Source Code

Source Code (2011) Dir: Duncan Jones

Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow (2014) Dir: Doug Liman

Happy Death Day

Happy Death Day (2017) Dir: Christopher Landon

Explore #homewithQAGOMA / Hear artists tell their stories / Read about your Collection / Subscribe to YouTube to go behind-the-scenes / Know Brisbane through its Collection

QAGOMA is the only Australian art gallery with purpose-built facilities dedicated to film and the moving image. The Australian Cinémathèque at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) provides an ongoing program of film and video that you’re unlikely to see elsewhere, offering a rich and diverse experience of the moving image, showcasing the work of influential filmmakers and international cinema, rare 35mm prints, recent restorations and silent films with live musical accompaniment on the Gallery’s Wurlitzer organ originally installed in Brisbane’s Regent Theatre in November 1929.

Feature image: Groundhog Day (1993) Dir: Harold Ramis

#groundhogday #edgeoftomorrow #happydeathday #sourcecode #primer

5 films when remote access was really a problem!

 

When I find myself booted out of remote access on my computer – again! – I like to reflect on those films that feel my pain. Whether it’s Bishop crawling to the other tower to remote pilot the dropship (Aliens 1986), Neo battling bots while waiting by the telephone – dial up, eek! (The Matrix 1999), Nedry on repeat… ‘ah ah ah, you didn’t say the magic word’ (Jurassic Park 1993), Kevin Flynn taken prisoner and held captive within a computer (Tron 1982), or like Dom Cobb waiting for the spinning top to fall over (Inception 2010),  I find their struggles comforting.

Any other films that sooth your digital frustrations?

Amanda Slack-Smith, Australian Cinémathèque, QAGOMA

RELATED: More 5 film suggestions to watch

SIGN UP NOW: Subscribe to QAGOMA Blog for the latest announcements, film highlights, behind-the-scenes features, and stories.

Tron

Tron (1982) Dir. Steven Lisberger

Aliens

Aliens (1986) Dir. James Cameron

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park (1993) Dir. Steven Spielberg

The Matrix

The Matrix (1999) Dirs. Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski

Inception

Inception (2010) Dir. Christopher Nolan

Explore #homewithQAGOMA / Hear artists tell their stories / Read about your Collection / Subscribe to YouTube to go behind-the-scenes / Know Brisbane through its Collection

QAGOMA is the only Australian art gallery with purpose-built facilities dedicated to film and the moving image. The Australian Cinémathèque at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) provides an ongoing program of film and video that you’re unlikely to see elsewhere, offering a rich and diverse experience of the moving image, showcasing the work of influential filmmakers and international cinema, rare 35mm prints, recent restorations and silent films with live musical accompaniment on the Gallery’s Wurlitzer organ originally installed in Brisbane’s Regent Theatre in November 1929.

Feature image: Jurassic Park (1993) Dir. Steven Spielberg

#tron #aliens #jurassicpark #thematrix #inception  #homewithQAGOMA #QAGOMA

Setting the stage: BIFF 2019

 

GOMA’s Australian Cinémathèque curates and presents its second Brisbane International Film Festival in October. To accompany the Festival, ‘Setting the Stage’ brings together works across various media that use sets, props, costumes and staging to explore the emotional truth at their core.

Founded in 1992, the Brisbane International Film Festival is one of Australia’s premier celebrations of cinema, including exclusive international new release features, documentaries and shorts. The Festival also incorporates curated thematic and retrospective programs, and a line-up of special events offers panel discussions, screenings with live music, industry events and more.

Tickets to BIFF now on sale. Visit BIFF.com.au to schedule your favourite films

A mixed media exhibition titled ‘Setting the Stage’ (21 September 2019 to 22 March 2020) also accompanies this year’s Festival, bringing together selected works by artists who construct performative spaces across the media of film, video art, photography, painting and sculpture.

Drawing on the formal aspects of the stage, from its construction, aesthetics, language and purpose, the artists in ‘Setting the Stage’ engage with the dislocated reality of these crafted environments to highlight social and political messages, role-play ideas of identity, fantasy and reality, and explore notions of preconception, repetition and composition.

Using performative elements from theatre, film and television — such as sets, props, costumes and staging — enables each artist to explore more deeply the emotional truth at the heart of their work, whether created in their studio or offsite. These simulated spaces help frame ideas through narrative, performance and setting, using the artificiality of the environment as a delivery method through which to have conversations about social, political and cultural issues underpinning the work.

Tracey Moffatt

Tracey Moffatt, Australia/United States b.1960 / Night cries: A rural tragedy (still) 1989 / 35mm film and Digital Betacam formats: 17 minutes, colour, sound / Purchased 2004 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Tracey Moffatt

Tracey Moffatt’s short film Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy 1989 exemplifies this use of the stage as conduit by situating an artificially vibrant landscape (inspired by Albert Namatjira’s watercolours) on a sound stage and incorporating rear-projection, set pieces, costuming and props. A richly constructed soundscape by Jimmy Little heightens the tension and grief between a dying white woman and her adopted Aboriginal daughter. Night Cries was, in part, the artist’s response to Charles Chauvel’s 1955 film Jedda, Australia’s first major colour film, which remains important for its portrayal of relationships between Indigenous and European society. Moffatt further explored this technique of highly stylised, hyper-real landscape in her feature film Bedevil 1993, which challenges Australian racial stereotypes through the telling of three ghost stories.

Related: Albert Namatjira

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Hetain Patel

Hetain Patel, United Kingdom b.1980 / Don’t Look at the Finger (still) 2017 / Courtesy: The artist / © Hetain Patel

Hetain Patel equally embraces the artifice of staging, exploring the way cultural traditions and languages can become entangled with today’s ideas of adaptation, dislocation and appropriation. Set in a church, and inspired by the stylised genre conventions of Hong Kong martial arts films, Don’t Look at the Finger 2017 combines elements of combat, ritual, culture and language drawn from South and East Asia, West Africa, the United Kingdom and North America as the two protagonists enact out a distinctive interpretation of a wedding ceremony.

Related: Hetain Patel

Sharif Waked

Sharif Waked, Palestine/Israel b.1964 / To be continued… (still) 2009 / SD video: 4:3, 41:33 minutes, colour, stereo (Arabic with English subtitles) / Purchased 2010 with a special allocation from the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Sharif Waked

Unlike Moffatt and Patel’s collaborative works, Sharif Waked achieves similar impact with a minimalist approach while still discussing ideas around identity and expectation. To be continued… 2009 features Palestinian actor Saleh Bakri reading from a script in Arabic in front of a flag with a logo flanked by machine guns. By mimicking the direct-to-camera videos of radical terrorists, Waked provokes the viewer to face their cultural preconceptions when the text is revealed to be the medieval Persian folk tale One Thousand and One Nights. Itself a complex tale of historical significance, in which Scheherazade must successfully entertain the King each night with fantastical narratives in order to prolong her life, the lyrical prose challenges the expectation of Middle Eastern masculinity and purpose.

While these are but a small selection of the works in ‘Setting the Stage’, they highlight the versatility and power of constructed environments, whether they use professional or amateur performers, staged or assembled locations. Some works involve a crew of fellow creatives; in others, the artist also becomes the director, stage and costume designer and performer. But each interweaves truth and fiction to illustrate an array of personal and
sociopolitical ideas.

Amanda Slack-Smith is Curatorial Manager, Australian Cinémathèque, QAGOMA and Artistic Director of the Brisbane International Film Festival.

Join us at GOMA

Visit BIFF.com.au to schedule your favourite films or find your perfect match with our film chooser. The more you see, the more you save with 6+ CINEPASS! Choose 6 or more tickets online and get a 15% discount!

‘Setting the Stage’ is at Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) Level 2 from 21 September 2019 until 22 March 2020. BIFF runs from 3 to 13 October 2019 at GOMA and selected partner venues across Brisbane.

Subscribe to YouTube to go behind-the-scenes / Watch and Read about BIFF 2018

BIFF 2019 is supported by the Queensland Government through Screen Queensland and the Australian Federal Government through Screen Australia and is presented in conjunction with cinema and venue partners throughout Brisbane.

Feature image detail: Hetain Patel Don’t Look at the Finger (still) 2017

Olaf Breuning / Easter bunnies 2004 / Type C photograph on paper / Purchased 2010 with a special allocation from the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: QAGOMA / © Olaf Breuning

Rosemary Laing / groundspeed (Red Piazza) #2 2001 / Type C photograph on paper mounted on Perspex / Purchased 2002. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: QAGOMA / © Rosemary Laing

Jay Younger / The blue kingdom 1987 / Direct positive colour photograph on paper / Purchased 1989 / Collection: QAGOMA / © Jay Younger

#BIFFest2019 #QAGOMA

Stan Lee: From comic book to cinema screen

 

Stan Lee (1922-2018) born Stanley Lieber passed away 12 November 2018 aged 95, he leaves a legacy of much loved Marvel Super Heroes — Spider-Man, the X-Men, Thor, Iron Man, Black Panther, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Daredevil and Ant-Man — heroes who were brilliant, but imperfect; heroes who struggled with who they were and the powers they held.

Spider-Man

Amazing Fantasy 1962 #15 / Comic book published 10 August 1962 / Writer: Stan Lee / Drawing and ink: Ditko / Penciller, cover artist: Jack Kirby / © 2017 MARVEL

Iron Man

Iron Man 1968 #1 / Comic book published 10 May 1968 / Writers: Stan Lee and Larry Lieber / Pencillers: Jack Kirby and Don Heck / Iron Man’s first appearance was in Tales of Suspense #39. This is Iron Man’s first ongoing solo series / © 2017 MARVEL

As the gatekeeper of one of the world’s richest holdings of comic book narratives, Marvel has been a dominant force in popular culture since 1939. Founded as Timely Comics in 1939 by magazine publisher Martin Goodman, the company began as a response to the growing popularity of comic books, and in 1941, published its first Captain America comic. In 1961, the company changed its name to Marvel Comics, drawing on the title of its first publication, Marvel Comics 1939 #1, and soon after began to change the direction of Super Hero comics.

Under the editorial direction of Stan Lee, Marvel sought to create characters who reflected real-life issues faced by its readers. In a shift away from the all-powerful Super Heroes popular at the time, these new characters often lived in existing cities and grappled with questions about their powers and abilities and how to use them – to defend their neighbourhoods, the world, and the universe at large.

The Marvel Universe is a collective space where characters — whether street-level heroes from Brooklyn or gods from Asgard — interact, sharing both physical space and personal histories. They squabble and fight among themselves, while vigorously defending the social order against those who seek to disrupt and destroy it.

RELATED: Dive into the MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE

SIGN UP NOW: Be the first to know. Subscribe to QAGOMA Blog for the latest announcements, acquisitions, and behind-the-scenes features.

Thor

Journey into Mystery 1952 #83 / Comic book published 1 August 1962 / Writers: Stan Lee and Larry Lieber / Penciller, cover artist: Jack Kirby / First appearance of Thor / © 2017 MARVEL

First created by Stan Lee and Larry Lieber for the comic book Journey into Mystery #183, published in 1962, Thor made his way to the cinema screen in Thor 2011 with Chris Hemsworth as the title character, the fourth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The sequel, Thor: The Dark World, was released in 2013, while the most recent Thor: Ragnarok was released in 2017 which coincided with QAGOMA’s 2017 exhibition ‘Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe’.

We look back to Thor: Ragnarok and ‘Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe‘ as a reminder of Stan Lee’s gift to all.

Amanda Slack-Smith was exhibition curator ‘Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe’ and is Curatorial Manager of QAGOMA’s Australian Cinémathèque, QAGOMA

Video: Behind-the-scenes of ‘Thor: Ragnarok’

Gain insights into the production design teams who worked on Thor: Ragnarok 2017 / © 2017 Marvel

Video: Installation of Asgard Throne

Go behind-the-scenes and watch how we transported and installed the Asgard Throne, featured in Thor: Ragnarok 2017 / © 2017 Marvel

Thor’s costume

Chris Hemsworth / Still from Thor 2011 / Director: Kenneth Branagh / © 2017 MARVEL / © The Walt Disney Company (Australia) Pty Limited

Production still of Thor: The Dark World 2013 / Director: Alan Taylor / © 2017 MARVEL / © The Walt Disney Company (Australia) Pty Limited
Chris Hemsworth / Still from Thor: The Dark World 2013 / Director: Alan Taylor / © 2017 MARVEL / © The Walt Disney Company (Australia) Pty Limited

Detail of Thor’s costume in the Asgardian throne room ‘Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe, GOMA 2017 / Thor: Ragnarok / © 2017 Marvel / Photograph: Natasha Harth © QAGOMA

Dive into the Marvel Cinematic Universe / Subscribe to QAGOMA YouTube to go behind-the-scenes

Featured images: Detail Journey into Mystery 1952 #83 / Detail of Thor’s costume

#QAGOMA #Marvel #StanLee