Culture Buff

Heritage Cai Guo-Qiang, China b.1957

18 January 2020

9:00 AM

18 January 2020

9:00 AM

We talk about it a lot.

One of life’s most essential elements it is now being celebrated in an exhibition: Water at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art. Works by international and Australian artists occupy the entire ground floor of GOMA (until 26 April).

Brisbane as a city knows about water, or the excess of it, so the genesis of this exhibition is understandable. A skim of the catalogue reveals many of the expected preoccupations: rising sea levels, coral reefs, the rainbow serpent, melting arctic ice, and climate change. But many of the works are sufficiently free of political burdens to be intriguing, and sometimes, beautiful.

One of the most striking is Cai Guo-Qiang’s Heritage, an installation of 45 life-size animals gathered around a pristine blue lake, bound to be a favourite with both adults and children. Indeed there is much about this exhibition to interest children. Danish/Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson’s work Riverbed is an attention-grabber with a stream running through a massive landscape created from more than 110 tonnes of rock, suggesting a landslide may have just occurred. From Julian Charrière’s The Blue Fossil Entropic Stories there is an undeniably striking image of a man high up on an iceberg to which he is applying a blowtorch.

Robin Gibson’s Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art are a lovely pair of buildings being put to innovative and satisfying use.

Water is worth a visit.

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