Posts Tagged ‘Queensland Gallery of Modern Art’

It began with a seal. Or maybe it was a sea lion. At the opening of the exhibition Placemakers: Contemporary Queensland Architects, as Anna Bligh, state premier, stood on the Gallery of Modern Art concourse delivering a rapturous opening speech, we latecomers hovered at the back beside Michael Parekowhai’s sculpture The Horn of Africa. Depicting a glossy black life-size seal, balancing an equally glossy black life-sized grand piano upended on its nose, it maintains an impossible feat of balance, defying gravity with a manner both effortless and insouciant. Craning unsuccessfully to see the speaker, I returned instead to contemplating this seal and idly wondered: who here was performing the most virtuoso trick? Was it the premier, producing a cheer from the crowd with her line that “art, architecture and design are just as important as scientific endeavour,” as she simultaneously and invisibly balanced the state’s mineral prosperity on one finger? Or was it the gallery, flush with the success of its new building and two blockbuster exhibitions, seemingly achieving the impossible balance of popular success and high art without dropping either? Or was it the exhibited architects, juggling all the disparate and desperate constraints of contemporary practice, and still managing to produce a series of fine architectural constructions, now rewarded with inclusion in this major exhibition? Well, they were all virtuoso, really. But perhaps there were also more tricks at play here than first met the eye. Continue Reading »