Lightness and Gravity
Tuesday 27 March 2012 Share FacebookDelicious Email

Installation view of ‘Lightness & Gravity’ featuring the work of Song Dong | Stamping the water 1996 | Type C photograph on paper | 36 photographs; and Shigeo Toya | Woods III 1991-92 | Wood, ashes and synthetic polymer paint | 30 pieces

‘Lightness & Gravity’ showcases the Gallery’s contemporary art collection in a series of thematic constellations, and features several major recent acquisitions.

The title of the display points to a longstanding philosophical discussion on the fundamental character of existence — and, by extension, the nature of art-making — as weighty, meaningful and constrained by history, or as playful and arbitrary, and thereby free.

The idea for ‘Lightness and Gravity’ emerged from a process of tracing shared themes across seemingly disparate areas of the collection while also reflecting on literary approaches to the question of weight or lightness. In his Six Memos for the Next Millennium (1988), Italian writer Italo Calvino identifies lightness with mobility, subtlety, precariousness and freedom, and heaviness with inertia, opacity, sluggishness and density. Czech author Milan Kundera asks if heaviness is necessarily deplorable and lightness splendid when he discusses these terms in The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984). He suggests that a heavy burden may also be ‘an image of life’s most intense fulfilment’; with the lack of a burden comes the ability ‘to soar into the heights’, but this may be a meaningless freedom.

The works in ‘Lightness & Gravity’ variously engage with these opposing impulses. Some mediate between them and gesture to elemental forces beyond the human question of life’s weight and meaning.

We were particularly pleased to be able to include two works by Argentinian artist, Marina de Caro, which travelled to the Gallery directly from their display in the 11th Biennale of Lyon. These will now be proposed for acquisition. In this image we can see conservators preparing de Caro’s sculpture Seed men or the Myth of the possible  2011 for display.

Installing the work by Marina de Caro | Argentina b.1961 | Hombres Semilla o el Mito de lo posible (Seed men or the Myth of the possible) 2011

Installation view, left to right: Song Dong | China b.1966 | Stamping the water 1996 | Type C photograph on paper | 36 photographs | Purchased 2002. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | © The artist; Shigeo Toya | Woods III 1991-92 | Japan b.1947 | Wood, ashes and synthetic polymer paint | 30 pieces | The Kenneth and Yasuko Myer Collection of Contemporary Asian Art. Purchased 1994 with funds from The Myer Foundation and Michael Sidney Myer through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation and with the assistance of the International Exhibitions Program | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery; Works by Leonard Brown | Australia b.1949 | Untitled 2006 | Monoprint on paper | Purchased 2007. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Grant | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery; Lee Ufan | South Korea/Japan b.1936 | With Winds 1990 | Oil on canvas | The Kenneth and Yasuko Myer Collection of Contemporary Asian Art. Purchased 1998 with funds from Michael Sidney Myer through and with the assistance of the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | © The artist

Installation view, left to right: Gemma Smith | Australia b.1978 | Chessboard painting #8 2008 | Synthetic polymer paint on inlaid wooden chessboard | Purchased 2009 with funds raised through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Appeal | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery; Gemma Smith | Boulder prototype #2 2008 | Laser-cut Perspex | Gift of Dr Morris Low through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation 2011. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery; Gemma Smith | Adaptable (red/blue) 2008 | Synthetic polymer paint on aircraft plywood | Purchased 2009 with funds raised through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Appeal | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery; far wall, Eugene Carchesio | Museum of silence 1990-94

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