Brisbane, November 2021
TVC ploughed through the liquid heat, on Southbank along Gray Street, only to be told that most of the Gallery of Modern Art (that we’d been dreading anyway) was closed for some weeks to prepare a new exhibition based on the effects on art of colonization of Japan and Malaysia (we were tempted to ask the guard if any good effects might be featured – a depiction, say, of Madame Butterfly, or pieces of Chinese porcelain) but we let it drop.
We liked Karam Shrestha’s “unhearing” (2020), (above), reminiscent of a Da Vinci sketch.
There were some nice figurines by Joyce Mary Arasepa Gole (below) and her water storage pot featuring a woman’s face (above):
Shubigi Rao weighed-in with a Dali-esque piece (“The art of naming” – 2021) redolent of one of Salvador’s noses or rhinoceros horns, replete with hokey descriptives:
In Burma (alright, Myanmar), we have a nice East-Meets-West photo (alright, artistic digital framing) called “Graduated Uneducated” (2021), featuring Ma Ei, Ko Latt and Yadanar Win doing the graduates’ dance.
Svay Sareth gives us “Mon Boulet ” (2011), (above) a film of a 2-metre wide (round?), 80 kilogram silver sphere rolling from Angkor to Phnom Penh. Redolent of a scene from the 1960s Portmeirion drama The Prisoner, Cambodia’s burden becomes ours…
But the ‘wallpaper video,’ by Chia-Wei Hsu, “Stones and Elephants,” (2019), a detail of which is above, was impressive in size and execution. A riff on the benign tenure of the British East India Company, it took up 3 whole walls and one could admire the aesthetic if, as per usual, the propagandistic aspects were ignored.
All this and more (there were some worthless videos and installations) took less than an hour, and one had to pass by empty galleries and return to the sweltering Brisbane Spring. (Time for a bit of beero.)