|A 50-metre snake skeleton by senior Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping spiralling from the ceiling of the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) to the Watermall below, and dramatic architectural installations and ceremonial masks by artists from Papua New Guinea at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) are highlights in 'The 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art' (APT7) which opens tomorrow in Brisbane.
Acting Director Suhanya Raffel said APT7, which marked the twentieth anniversary of the Gallery's flagship exhibition series, was the most ambitious to date.
'When the Gallery established the APT, it sought to redefine the way audiences experience contemporary art, but no one could have foreseen just how profound this change would be, and the tremendous impact it would have on our institution,' Ms Raffel said.
'APT7 expands the Triennial's geographic scope and physical scale, with over 290 works by 75 artists and artist groups from 27 countries on display across all of GOMA and key spaces at QAG until April 14, 2013.
'The only exhibition series in the world to focus exclusively on the contemporary art of Asia, the Pacific and Australia, APT7 incorporates two cinema programs, Kids' APT, twentieth anniversary archival projects, publications, public programs, education resources and the launch of the Gallery's dedicated online video channel.'
Ms Raffel said major commissions for APT7 included works by leading artists Huang Yong Ping (China/France); Atul Dodiya (India); LN Tallur (India); Richard Maloy (New Zealand); Shirley Macnamara (Australia) and Tiffany Chung (Vietnam/USA).
'New and recent works by eight Australians, including five Aboriginal artists, are among the exhibition highlights, with photography, sculpture, installation and painting representing some of the most dynamic aspects of Australian art today,' she said.
Works from Papua New Guinea, informed by customary architecture, painting and carving, are featured in a project co-curated by Melbourne-based architect Martin Fowler. Ten artists from the East Sepik province spent two months in Brisbane earlier this year creating two major commissions for the project.
0 – Now: Traversing West Asia, a project co-curated with Istanbul-based curator November Paynter, delves into West Asia in detail for the first time in an APT, and looks at how artists from Egypt, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Syria and Jordan use landscape to examine the histories and politics of the region.
APT7 also focuses on new work by young artists from Indonesia and Vietnam, where independent artist-run spaces and commercial galleries support a highly engaged art community.
The Queensland Government is Founding Sponsor of the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art series, and Santos is Presenting Sponsor of APT7.
Santos Chief Executive Officer David Knox said the company was proud to support its second APT and make the arts more accessible to Queenslanders.
'Santos has a strong connection with the Asia Pacific region and we're delighted we can further strengthen this relationship by helping to present this exhibition to Queensland,' Mr Knox said.
Ms Raffel said the twentieth anniversary of the series would also be marked with the 20-Year Archive, a diverse project which explores existing archives from the region and imagines new ones; and the launch of QAGOMA TV, a dedicated video channel presenting more than 170 performances, interviews and talks from the previous six APT exhibitions.
'The Gallery's Australian Cinémathèque will present two major free cinema programs as part of APT7,' she said.
'Change: Paths through 20 years of Film explores diverse video and filmmaking practices, which draw links between filmmaking and other forms of contemporary art; while Mountains and Waters: Chinese Animation since the 1930s is a landmark retrospective that includes the pioneering work of filmmakers Te Wei and the Wan brothers, as well as contemporary animators from China.'
For Kids' APT7, QAGOMA's Children's Art Centre has developed 13 interactive artist projects especially for children and their families. A record 80 regional and remote venues across Queensland communities will host Kids' APT7 on Tour activities between January and April 2013.
The exhibition is supplemented by a substantial exhibition catalogue; a publication for children developed by the QAGOMA Children's' Art Centre with exhibiting artist Hahan; and extensive online resources including QAGOMA TV.
More than 80 Australian and international artists, curators, writers and performers will take part in events across the opening weekend at GOMA and QAG on December 8 and 9.