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Space, light, art and the sublime explored at the Queensland Art Gallery
Michael Sailstorfer Germany b.1979 Wolken (Clouds) 2010 Tyre inner tubes Purchased 2011 with funds from Tim Fairfax, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Collection: Queensland Art Gallery Installation view ‘Sculpture is Everything’ Gallery of Modern Art, 2012

BRISBANE.- Following a landmark reconstruction and showings in New York, London and Paris, Raumlichtkunst (Space-Light-Art) c.1926/2012 by pioneering abstract artist and filmmaker Oskar Fischinger, had its Australian premiere in a new exhibition at the Queensland Art Gallery.

Having recently undergone an extensive reconstruction by the Center for Visual Music in Los Angeles (CVM) the work has been acquired by the Gallery and is being shown as a highlight of 'Sublime: Contemporary works from the Collection', which opened at QAG on Saturday 30 August.

The three-channel projection HD video installation by the German-American avant-garde filmmaker and artist has recently been shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Tate Modern, London, and Palais de Tokyo, Paris.

'Sublime: Contemporary works from the Collection' brings together more than 20 of the Gallery's most important large scale works and new acquisitions, highlight the strength of the Gallery's contemporary sculpture holdings.

Exhibition curator Kathryn Weir, Head of International Art and the Australian Cinémathèque, QAGOMA, said the exhibition considered translations of the sublime in European and North American art history, to resonances in contemporary works from Asia, the Middle East and other cultural contexts.

'Being shown for the first time in the sweeping architectural spaces of QAG are works such as Zilvinas Kempinas's Columns 2006, an installation created from VCR tape that appears both solid and ethereal, Timo Nasseri's highly polished geometrical form Epistrophy VI 2012 that references Islamic architecture, and Michael Sailstorfer's Wolken (Clouds) 2010, a sculptural installation of more than 300 tyre inner tubes knotted into cloud-like shapes overhead.

'The past three decades have seen a sustained attention to various concepts of the sublime in philosophy and in contemporary art writing. Notions of the digital sublime and of an ecological sublime have also emerged,' Ms Weir said.

'The exhibition brings together artists who engage with sacred architectures and widely different cultural histories, to create effects of wonder and uncertainty and differing representations of 'the sublime'.

Various works in the exhibition also engage with familiar concepts of the sublime deriving from the Romantic era, including Bill Viola's early video work Chott el-Djerid (A portrait in light and heat) 1979, acquired in 1999 with funds from James C Sourris AM through the QAGOMA Foundation, with its extreme landscapes of desert and ice, and Bill Henson's Untitled 2008-09, depicting a mysterious island in dramatic chiaroscuro composition of clouds, rocks and water.

QAGOMA Director Chris Saines said the exhibition also brought into focus the importance of philanthropy in the continued development of the Collection.

'Many of the works have been acquired through the QAGOMA Foundation with the generous support of Foundation President Tim Fairfax AC, Brisbane sisters Margaret Mittelheuser AM and Cathryn Mittelheuser AM, The Myer Foundation and Michael Sidney Myer,' he said.

'Sublime: Contemporary works from the Collection' is on display at the Queensland Art Gallery from 30 August 2014 to 24 May 2015 across the Kenneth and Yasuko Myer Gallery (Gallery 3) and Galleries 4 and 5. Admission is free.

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