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Ground-Breaking Exhibition of Contemporary 21st Century International Art at GoMA
SUPERFLEX, Flooded McDonalds, 2009. RED video installation: 16:9, 20 minutes, colour, sound, ed. 3/5 300 x 700 cm. (variable). Purchased 2010 with funds from Tim Fairfax, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation.

QUEENSLAND.- An ambitious and ground-breaking exhibition of contemporary international art from the first decade of the twenty-first century is present at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) from December 18, 2010 to April 25, 2011.

Queensland Art Gallery Director Tony Ellwood said ‘21st Century: Art in the First Decade’ would showcase over 180 works by more than 110 senior and emerging artists from over 40 countries, with most of the work from the Gallery’s own expanding collection.'

‘The Queensland Art Gallery has forged new territory in contemporary art over the past 20 years — with its Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT) exhibition series, Kids’ APT programs, and Asian and Pacific collections — and ‘21st Century’ signals a new commitment to be truly international in contemporary art collection development,’ Mr Ellwood said.

The exhibition highlights the Gallery’s acquisitions over the past decade with works from Australia, Asia, the Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and North, South and Central America. It also presents a series of ambitious commissions, key loans from Australian and international institutions, and a curated children’s program of interactive works.

Mr. Ellwood said the period from 2000 to 2010 had been described as the first truly global decade, a period of tumultuous, sobering and exhilarating change. The ‘21st Century’ project will explore artistic responses to the impact of global political, economic, environmental and technological change, and current ideas about contemporary art and the role of museums in the first decade of the new millennium.'

'Some works respond specifically to issues which have preoccupied us during the decade, while others address broader social and political themes, or find new expressions for longstanding aesthetic and philosophical concerns,’ he said.

Many of the artists featured have produced work that clearly articulates some of the fears, anxieties and cultural tensions of this period. This exhibition introduces Australian audiences to works that represent key moments of impact in recent contemporary art that would have been unthinkable in previous decades.

The Gallery is delighted to be working with Stockholm-based artist Carsten Höller to produce an ambitious new commission that will see the installation of two spiral-shaped slides in GoMA’s foyer. Described by the artist as a ‘happiness producing machine’, the slides will have an elegant, sculptural presence at the entrance to the exhibition and also allow viewers to participate in the work – sending them hurtling between the Gallery’s third floor and ground level.

Other exhibition highlights include Leandro Erlich’s astounding trompe l’oeil sculpture, Swimming pool, which represented Argentina at the 2001 Venice Biennale; Turner Prize winner Martin Creed’s Half the air in a given space, in which half the volume of one of GoMA’s galleries will be filled with purple balloons; and a major new sound work by French artist Celeste Boursier-Mougenot in which visitors will share a gallery with live zebra finches.

In addition, other important commissions include Untitled (NASDAQ) 2003 by Claude Closky (France), a wallpaper work that prefigured the financial crisis of 2009, Cameroonian artist Pascale Marthine Tayou’s installation of thousands of plastic bags that form an enormous colourful sculptural form, and a new wall drawing related to Jules Verne’s ‘Five Weeks in a Balloon’ by Mexican artist Jorge Mendez Blake.

‘21st Century’ showcases important statements using film and video, including major works by Shaun Gladwell (Australia), Isaac Julien (UK), Robin Rhode (South Africa), Aernout Mik (The Netherlands) and Ryan Trecartin (USA). New acquisitions are unveiled for the first time includes sculptures by Romuald Hazoumé (Benin); drawings by Frédéric Bruly Bouabré (Côte d’Ivoire); photographs by Mitra Tabrizian (Iran), Guy Tillim (South Africa) and Olaf Breuning (Switzerland); and video works by SUPERFLEX (Denmark) and Sharif Waked (Palestine).

Audiences will see the return of popular works such as Bharti Kher’s bindi-covered elephant, The skin speaks a language not its own; Yayoi Kusama’s Narcissus garden; Candice Breitz’s King (a portrait of Michael Jackson); Olafur Eliasson’s participatory Lego work, The cubic structural evolution project; and Tobias Putrih’s monumental arch of cardboard boxes, Connection. ‘21st Century’ is be complemented by two major cinema programs, ‘World Without End’ and ‘The Eye’, extensive public programs and a major publication featuring critical texts by a range of Australian and international writers and curators.

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