Sculpture is Everything

Michael Sailstorfer, Germany b. 1979 | Wolken (Clouds) 2010 | Tyre inner tubes | Purchased 2011 with funds from Tim Fairfax, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | © Michael Sailstorfer 2010/VG Bild-Kunst. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney, 2012

A brooding mass of 300 tyre tubes hovering like clouds; dance machines from the Torres Strait Islands; two giant red polar bears and a seal balancing a baby grand piano on its nose are among more than 130 sculptures that have transformed GOMA’s ground floor.

Sculpture is Everything: Contemporary works from the Collection‘ challenges understandings of what constitutes sculpture. It also celebrates the Gallery’s active role collecting and commissioning international contemporary sculpture over recent decades, and acknowledges the support of benefactors.

With a focus on new and recent work, ‘Sculpture is Everything’ explores how unexpected forms such as film, photography, painting and performance can be considered sculptural. The exhibition reflects the scope and depth of the Collection, with work by more than 80 artists from Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America and Australia, including a range of work by Indigenous Australian artists.

Several major new acquisitions purchased with the support of Tim Fairfax, AM, some by artists never before seen in Australia, are featured, including: Zilvinas Kempinas’ magnetic tape installation Columns 2006; Timo Nasseri’s faceted metal wall piece Epistrophy VI 2012; Lara Favaretto’s rotating car-wash brushes Gummo IV 2012; Henrique Oliveira’s oozing, bulbous wooden form Xilonoma Chamusquius 2 2012 and Michael Sailstorfer’s Wolken (Clouds) 2010, suspended above GOMA’s Long Gallery. The exhibition also includes Mike Parr’s Stepped wedge 1998, a 16-metre long beeswax and graphite obstacle gifted by the artist and on display for the first time.

Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija’s work of social sculpture Untitled (lunch box) 1998 will be presented every Friday for the duration of the exhibition. The work invites visitors to sit down at a small table in the Gallery for a lunch of Thai takeaway food from a local restaurant.

Also on display are popular collection works including Montien Boonma’s Salas for the mind 1995; Nam June Paik’s The Elements 1989; Michel Tuffery’s small corn beef tin bull Povi tau vaga (The challenge) 1999; Bharti Kher’s life-size elephant The skin speaks a language not its own 2006; Romuald Hazoumè’s series of masks made from recycled waste and Aurukun artist Joe Ngallametta’s Thap yongk (Law poles) 2002–03.

Sculpture is Everything the accompanying publication explores the diverse and often unexpected forms we may consider sculptural.

Lara Favaretto, Italy b.1973 | Gummo IV 2012 | Iron, car wash brushes and electrical motors | Purchased 2012 with funds from Tim Fairfax, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | © The artist