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by Marina Marangos (subscribe)
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Dont hold your breath - exhale
The Summer Exhibition has just opened at the Gallery of Modern Art. The exhibition is called "Air - We do not breathe the same air".

The exhibition is on until the 23rd of April 2023 and it takes the entire ground floor of the Gallery. This is a sequence to WATER which was staged in 2019. The Gallery is constantly engaging with real-world issues. As water is vital to life so is air, yet we don't all breathe the same air, we have become alert to airborne threats, experienced pollution and the degradation of air quality. Air connects us and controls every breath we take, till our last.

QAGOMA does not shy away from these major challenges and uses art and artists to allow us to see these matters from a different perspective, to give us a sense of urgency as well as the need to change, showing us a path to different learning and innovation.

The exhibition has been curated by Geraldine Kirrihi- Barlow. It is divided into five chapters which bring us to a consciousness of the elements around us. The first of these chapters as you progress through the exhibition are "Atmosphere" with Dora Budors three pieces of air where she takes us back to an early history of the Earth, where volcanism formed the early atmosphere.

Dora Budor Origin II
Dora Budor Origin II

Each chapter is thematic and there are many more elements within it, but I am concentrating on one or two to give you a flavour of what to expect.

The second chapter is "Shared" - the obvious sharing of air we breathe with all creatures as well as plants and the various ways in which these become precious, and often endangered in our world.

The third chapter "Burn" centres on toxic fumes which result from factories, fires and of course the elephant in the room climate change. Mona Hatoun's Hot Spot III of 2009 is a stark reminder of this. The red glowing globe marks the continents and each of their boundaries burn orange red - it's not just the war zones that we need to be wary of, these hot spots are closer than we think.

Nancy Holts massive ventilation systems which are so familiar to us. Recent events in the pandemic have made us realise how these shared systems might also be the delivering threats to our lives in the form of airborne diseases.

I watched with fascination the video entitled "The Way Things Go" (Der Lauf der Dinge) Peter Fischli and David Weiss's extraordinary series of events where one event precipitates the other - and you think where will this all end?

"Invisible" is the next chapter which includes the images of Rachel Mounsey's Black Summer Wildfires in Mallacoota. The sky changed colour, there were particles of soot in the air, there was destruction and loss of life everywhere.

Ron Muecks massive In Bed - 2005 takes on another resonance in the post pandemic time. Time alone, time inside, time for introspection but also convalescence and confinement
t. Invisible emotions and concerns etched upon faces.

Ron Muecks In Bed
Ron Muecks In Bed

Jemima Wyman's Plume 20 2022 is a collection of plumes - put together to form one large threatening one of the air we breathe.
Jemima Wynam's Plume
Jemima Wynam's Plume

Carlos Amorales Black Cloud is a similar invisible threat of a massive change in eco systems. A whole room is full of black butterflies. He is mourning the loss of his grandmother but also the loss of populations of monarch butterflies which make the journey from north America to Mexico every year.

They are black, the colour of mourning, black the colour of decay and it is a powerful message which resonates as I walked through.
Carlos Amorales - Black Cloud
Carlos Amorales - Black Cloud

In the central atrium we have 15 of Tomas Saraceno's mirrored spheres. A space to rest and reflection - where air becomes breath. They are part transparent and part reflective and they come to dominate the space but at the same time for me they felt light and full of air as I am sure they are, almost reminiscent of the soapy bubbles we sometimes blow for our children or grandchildren.

Tomas Saraceno's spheres
Tomas Saraceno's spheres

Finally "Change" with its stunning piece by Jonathon Jones and a host of volunteers, Dr Uncle Stan Grants voice and smell of eucalyptus in the air depicting the murmuration of birds.This work has been displayed in the gallery before but it still takes my breath away. A stunning collaboration and a real sense of the need to pay attention to the winds and all the changes they bring.

Giran 2018
Giran 2018

Here is a small detail of the work which is made up of thousands of feathers, emu egg spoons, freshwater mussel scrapers, weaving starts spear points and stone knives. It is amazing.

A detail of Untitled Giran 2018
A detail of Untitled Giran 2018

The change is manifested in Chalk Fall 2018 another stunning piece showing us the chalk cliffs of Dover and the way the waves erode them at the bottom, causing them to fall into the sea. This is the work of Tacita Dean.
Chalk Fall 2018
Chalk Fall 2018

Anthony McCalls work is one of real wonder and magic - suffice to say you have to enter the light beams to see it and sense it and be part of it - Its called Crossing 2016 and it plays with lines of light and ellipses of white light. It is so absorbing and at the same time fantastical and real. A must see in the exhibition. Save this for the end. You will enjoy the sensation it releases in you.

This is a ticketed exhibition. To purchase tickets, go to QAGOMA.
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Why? Thought provoking new Exhibition
When: 26.11.22- 23.04.22
Phone: (0)7 3840 7303
Where: Stanley Place, South Brisbane Queensland 4101, Australia
Cost: As per website
Your Comment
GOMA is such a gem in the Brisbane arts community. I'm so glad you enjoyed the exhibition Marina.
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|6212) 70 days ago
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