Southern Highlands, NSW, Australia

Monday, February 1, 2010


Here are a few more exhibits we saw at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane.
These waves of delicate strands of knotted fibres filled a small room. We had to take our shoes off to go in. We entered and just stood there looking at it then we asked the attendant if we could touch it. We were told to walk into it. It was the most amazing feeling, a bit like being in a cloud that you could feel softly on your skin. I'm a big kid and really enjoyed this hands on installation. The hanging threads were too thick and close for the camera to take shots but below you can see Carol trying to take a movie as she walks into the stuff.

Carol on the right and another person enjoying the sensation.

David disappearing into wonderland.

The artist is Shindi Ohmaki from Japan. He transforms space, where boundaries between interiors and exteriors are blurred. Liminal Air – descend – 2007–09 combines over 100 000 strands of knotted thread with the effects of artificial light, and the Gallery’s architectural right-angles provide a counterpoint to Ohmaki’s contrasting approach to minimalism. Using simple fibres in which countless knots have been tied, the immersive installation proposes both a surface (masses of threads give the appearance of vaporous waves) and an interior dimension (within the permeable structure of soft fibres), at once inviting a sense of gravity and weightlessness. The sheer labour involved in producing the accumulations of delicate strands and knots is understated in the overall work, which seems to evoke ideas of infinity and reverie, transforming the gallery into a contemplative space.

Then we moved onto People holding flowers by Zhu Weibing & Ji Wenyu.

I think I know that guy sitting at the back with a camera.

This was an intriguing sculpture, it was sort of pretty and boring at the same time, which is what the artists intended according to the blurb:

Comprising 400 individual figures, each holding a large pink flower, People holding flowers contains potent symbolism for Chinese culture: the flowers recall Mao Zedong’s encouragement of intellectuals to debate a range of policy solutions and criticise bureaucracy, stating that he meant to ‘let a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend’. However, by the middle of 1957, an overwhelming response to Mao’s Hundred Flowers Campaign led to serious crackdowns on dissent.
With the soft, fleshy flowers raised high, this installation appears attractive and harmless. But while the work’s mood is buoyant and celebratory, the repetition of forms and lack of differentiation between individuals question the homogenising effects of mass ideology, be it communism or capitalism.

The next one was comical but amazing.

Line of Control by Subodh Gupta

Gupta reflects on the cultural, social and political impact of economic and technological change on the Indian subcontinent. Gupta’s art has its genesis in the local traditions and materials of his home state of Bihar in India, yet these often anecdotal works also speak profoundly to audiences in other countries about issues of global significance.
The one below is a static display of a mirror mosaic called Lightning for Neda by Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian. The 4000 pieces of mirror used were very, very small. (Wish I had taken a close focus shot) It must have taken a long time to make. Carol is enjoying the art.
The mirror mosaic draws on an Iranian decorative form known as aineh-kari. This technique dates back to the sixteenth century, when pieces of mirror, broken in transit from Europe to Persia, were recycled to create decorative architectural panels. Lightning for Neda skilfully uses this technique: over 4000 mirror shards per panel activate myriad patterns within its glittering, sublime surface. The six sides of the hexagon, which provide the underlying structure, are expanded and elaborately rendered. The hexagon is an important shape within Islamic geometry, and also has mystical connotations, representing the six directions (up, down, forward, backward, left, right) as well as the six virtues of generosity, self-discipline, patience, determination, insight and compassion. Farmanfarmaian symbolically activates these virtues in this work, the title of which pays homage to Neda Agha Soltan, a 27-year-old Iranian woman killed in the streets of Tehran during protests that followed the 12 June 2009 presidential elections. Neda means ‘voice’ in Farsi, and here, the compelling voice of a senior Iranian contemporary artist acknowledges the turmoil that exists in her country.

This last one is one big momma of a picture.

Reuben Paterson’s Whakapapa: get down upon your knees extends the customary New Zealand Māori use of design, pattern, weaving and layering by using seductive new materials. Drawing on his own Māori culture and floral fabrics from the 1960s and 1970s, his judicious use of colour, patterning and composition recalls American Modernism and Op art.

Well what do you think? Do you love it or hate it?


  1. I love it!! And I think it's neat that you put people next to all of these so we can see the actual size of them. You may have a house guest soon. Or I'll just come down and camp out at that museum. Wow!

  2. Cant say I love it. But I might enjoy it on a given day. However, it cannot wrench me out of a deep depression like a Monet lily can.

    I just may need to experience more installation art rather than static art.

  3. wow..this is an eye opener for me... wonderful!!

  4. I'm rather awed by it all... more of the wonder part of the awe definition would fit. I think I would wander around in kind of a daze trying to take it all in... there is a lot to absorb. Thank you for the photos!

  5. Doesn't know much about art, but yeh, love it! Like Lucy - think you're a clever photographer to take the pics with people next to (or into!!) the art objects! ☺

  6. Oh my gosh that is a wonderful art exhibit. I go for the more traditional normally but I think these works of art are amazing and one I would have enjoyed going to. Thanks for the great tour Diane. I enjoyed reading the artists' interpretations along the way. Fun post!

  7. Well Diane, it is all very amazing so I guess I may pay a visit. Just to say that I have walked into that "funny" thing ( the first photo) - hope I come out?


  8. Nice set of photos and descriptions. I'm a big fan of modern art. Would love to see this exhibit.

  9. Nah---can't say that I LOVE it. Where are the birds? Where are the waterfalls? Where are the beautiful mountains and hiking trails? Where are the beaches???? Hmmmmmmm---guess that museum is not for ME. ha


  10. Some of them made me laugh...but I do love that cloud thing that you can walk into. I would enjoy walking into it!

  11. Oh I'd like to walk into that first one.
    These are wonderful exhibits Diane so glad you shared them with us. I've been going 'ahh' all the way through your post. :)

  12. As a general rule I find modern art a bit mystifying but I would have enjoyed every one of these exhibits. Thanks for showing them, I enjoyed this post a lot.

  13. I have seen a similar exposition here in Brussels. What I admire is the people's phantasy, but honnestly I don't call this "art". That's like in Brussels Modern Art museum there is a white painting hanging with nothing on it but a little explanation underneath "Landscape in Winter" !

  14. I have to say I stumbled upon your blog and stopped because your blog title made me laugh. I wish I'd have thought of that and it's just how I feel. I browsed through your photos and loved them. My husband just retired and we've started to do some traveling as time and money can allow. I take my camera, (and have lots of images I have to find time to post on my photoblog), and my good husband lugs around all my other photography gear. I'll stop by again!!

  15. I've always thought modern art was a bit weird and never really bothered with it but this exhibition and your photos of it have made me think again. Thanks for sharing. Elcmae.

  16. I love them all, esp the first one. It's beautiful.

  17. Many artists are weird and wonderful and so is their art. If one can call this art. In my view it is pure exhibitionism, "der Zahn der Zeit!