The Institute of Modern Art and QUT Art Museum present the launch edition of the new roaming art platform Frontier Imaginaries across two exhibitions; No Longer at Ease (IMA) and The Life of Lines (QUT Art Museum). Frontier Imaginaries is founded by QUT Alumnus Vivian Ziherl through the IMA Curatorial Fellowship, and realised with production manager Imara Limon.
Launching on Saturday 14 May, Frontier Imaginaries brings together two Brisbane art venues connected by the Brisbane river: the Institute of Modern Art (IMA) in Fortitude Valley, and QUT Art Museum, Gardens Point. As a significant place in the history of the city, the river has been a crucial site for Indigenous people, a geographic and cultural boundary line, a space for recreation, a central transportation network, a prime real estate position, and setting for natural disaster. It is a site that also connects to the themes of the exhibition: where the ‘frontier’ is both a real and imagined boundary between what is civilised and ‘safe’, and what is wild and ‘outside’.
Across the two venues, a selection of local and International artists address the central theme of the status of the ‘frontier’ within the global era through works ranging from oyster-shell installation to monumental history paintings and multi-channel video. Linking both galleries together will be a specially commissioned exhibition design by award-winning Brisbane architects Kevin O’Brien and Claire Humphreys. This design will include an ‘assembly point’ in each gallery, conceived to host reading groups, community meetings, workshops, and artist talks. The exhibitions also feature a lecture-performance in collaboration with the Australian Cinémathèque at QAGOMA.
Curator Vivian Ziherl states, “It is enormously meaningful to launch Frontier Imaginaries in Brisbane/Meanjin, after almost six years of work abroad. [...] Marked by contours and thresholds such as the Great Barrier Reef, ‘the Brisbane Line,’ the ‘Boundary Streets’, and negotiating urban-rural divides within an era of the ‘information economy,’ Brisbane/Meanjin is a very fitting place to commence these dialogues.”
Frontier Imaginaries: No Longer at Ease at the IMA presents new commissions by Alice Cresicher (Germany); Gordon Hookey (Australia); Rachel O’Reilly (Australia/Germany/Netherlands), in collaboration with PA/LA/CE Architects Valle Medina and Benjamin Reynolds (Switzerland/UK), and artist Rodrigo Hernandez (Mexico); alongside works by Juan Davila (Chile/Australia); Bonita Ely (Australia); Ryan Presley (Australia); and Wendelien van Oldenborgh (Netherlands). These newly commissioned and loaned works will be joined with a curated selection of materials from the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum that examine the Moreton Bay Oyster Company as a case at the intersection of environmental and labour histories.
No Longer at Ease situates the Australian ideal of being ‘relaxed and comfortable’ amid the turbulence of our current era, and takes its title from the 1960 book by Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe.
At the IMA, Waanyi artist Gordon Hookey will present MURRILAND!, a major new painting series commissioned by Frontier Imaginaires which re-imagines the official history of Queensland from the personal perspective of the artist. Over a series of 10-metre long canvasses, Hookey’s timeline will highlight diverse and formative moments such as the prehistorical land-bridge connecting Australia to Asia, Matthew Flinders’ inability to find the Brisbane River, and Indigenous involvement in World War II. The project was inspired by the renowned 107-canvas series realised by Zairian painter Tshibumba Kanda-Matulu in 1974 which will be presented as a 35mm slide-show courtesy of the series commissioner Professor Johannes Fabian.
The Life of Lines at QUT Art Museum includes new commissions by Megan Cope (Australia); Ho Rui An (Singapore); and Tom Nicholson (Australia); as well as works by DAAR (Palestine); the Karrabing Film Collective (Australia); and Sawangwongse Yawnghwe (Myanmar/Canada). Alongside these contemporary art practices will be a selection of archival materials from the collection of the John Oxley Library, exploring histories and discourses of property advertising and home-ownership in the city of Brisbane. The film ‘The Changing Face of Australia’ produced by the Shell Film Unit Australia in 1972, and a selection of photography documenting the installation of the Shell Oil Refinery in Geelong circa 1953-1958 by legendary fashion photographer Helmut Newton will also be on display.
A Frontier Imaginaries publication will bring together materials across the commissions and events, documenting the exhibitions’ themes and histories presented at the IMA and QUT Art Museum, and marking the first in the Frontier Imaginaries publications series.
Interviews with Vivian Ziherl (Curator, Frontier Imaginaries), Gordon Hookey and Tom Nicholson available on request.
Download artist bios here.
For more information, and high res images, please contact Nadia Buick, Communications Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call +61 (0)7 3252 5750.
Frontier Imaginaries: No Longer at Ease and Frontier Imaginaries: The Life of Lines is curated by Vivian Ziherl as a co-commission of Institute of Modern Art and Queensland University of Technology Art Museum. Frontier Imaginaries is a multi-platform project established by Vivian Ziherl through the IMA Curatorial Fellowship.