Artist Interviews

Camera/Editing: Ben Wickes

21st Century Artist Interview: Ionat Zurr

Pioneers in the fields of biological arts, Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr established the Tissue Culture and Art Project (TC&A) in 1996 as an ongoing artistic research and development project into the use of tissue technologies as a medium for artistic expression. In December 2010, Catts and Zurr spoke with Naomi Evans, Assistant Curator, Contemporary International Art about the Tissue Culture and Art Project and their contribution to the ‘21st Century: Art in the First Decade’ exhibition which explores the classification of specimens in a changing era of genetic engineering.

Camera/Editing: Ben Wickes

21st Century Artist Interview: Oran Catts

Pioneers in the fields of biological arts, Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr established the Tissue Culture and Art Project (TC&A) in 1996 as an ongoing artistic research and development project into the use of tissue technologies as a medium for artistic expression. In December 2010, Catts and Zurr spoke with Naomi Evans, Assistant Curator, Contemporary International Art about the Tissue Culture and Art Project and their contribution to the ‘21st Century: Art in the First Decade’ exhibition which explores the classification of specimens in a changing era of genetic engineering.

Camera/Editing: Ben Wickes

21st Century Artist Interview: Issac Julien

Isaac Julien is one of the most celebrated artist–filmmakers working with multi-channel video installations. He has developed a singular practice concerned with the transposition of film to spatialised installation and uses expert filmmaking and projection technologies to create new vocabularies for experiencing the moving image. In December 2010, Julien spoke with José Da Silva, Senior Curator, Australian Cinémathèque about his major installation WESTERN UNION: Small Boats 2007 featured in the ‘21st Century: Art in the First Decade’ exhibition. WESTERN UNION: Small Boats is the final work in a trilogy exploring themes of physical and spiritual expeditions that began with True North 2004 and Fantôme Afrique 2005. In each of these works, Julien utilises dual narratives and multiple perspectives across an arrangement of screens to chart the movement of bodies from one place to another, reflecting geographic and environmental journeys that are connected with the experiences of migration in a contemporary world.

Video Editing: Ben Wickes | Editing: David Burnett, Ben Wickes

21st Century Artist Interview: Lee Mingwei

In 2008 David Burnett, Curator, International Art spoke with Lee Mingwei about the Bodhi Tree Project 2006.

“The sacred Sri Lankan city of Anuradhapura was established around the Sri Maha Bodhi, tree of enlightenment. The Bo-tree, which is sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists, is the oldest depicted tree in Indian art and literature and it can be said that this is the mythical ‘World Tree’ or the ‘Tree of Life’ of the Indian subcontinent. For the “Bodhi Tree Project”, Lee Mingwei brought a seedling produced by the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka to Brisbane and planting it in a garden created within the Gallery of Modern Art site. In a 4 years collaborative process with the Buddhist communities in both Anuradhapura and Brisbane, this sacred Bodhi tree sapling was planted on the gallery ground on Buddha’s birthday of 2008. The Sri Maha Bodhi Tree is the direct decedent to the original tree at the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya in the Indian state of Bihar where the historical Buddha and founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, is said to have achieved enlightenment. This Bodhi Tree will provide a place for children to play in coming years, offering shade and be a focus for contemplation. ” Artist Statement

Camera: Ben Wickes | Editing: Francis E Parker, Ben Wickes

21st Century Artist Interview: Fiona Hall

Fiona Hall uses a dazzling variety of materials in her complex, imaginative and often surprising works. For the last two decades Hall has made sculptures and installations of many different types, ranging from tiny snow-dome multiples to entire gardens. Her broad-ranging practice includes major public commissions and projects that have embraced a broad range of media, and have increasingly engaged with themes of ecology, history and the effects of globalisation. In November 2010, Hall spoke with Francis Parker, Curator, Contemporary Australian Art about working with museum collections and how see came to make the installation Tender 2003-06 featured in the ‘21st Century: Art in the First Decade’ exhibition.

Camera: Ben Wickes | Editing: Mellissa Kavenagh, Ben Wickes

21st Century Artist Interview: Romuald Hazoumé

Romuald Hazoumé’s assemblages are constructed from a range of discarded materials, including the plastic containers used to smuggle petrol into Benin from neighbouring Nigeria. This ‘recycling’ refers to historical inequities in exchange between Africa and Europe —  of slaves, of traditional artefacts being sent to Europe and the Americas over centuries, and of the contemporary phenomenon in which industrialised countries pay African nations to allow the dumping of their waste. Hazoumè creates a subversive feedback loop within this system by recycling the waste as sculpture to be exhibited in (primarily) European galleries. During a research visit to Australia in September 2010, Hazoumé spoke with Russell Storer, Curatorial Manager, Asian and Pacific Art about his practice and contribution to the ‘21st Century: Art in the First Decade’ exhibition.

Camera: Ben Wickes | Editing: Bree Richards, Ben Wickes

21st Century Artist Interview: Justine Cooper

Justine Cooper works at the intersection of art, science and medicine. Internationally recognised as an interdisciplinary artist, she originally specialised in photography but her work now extends across media including animation, video and installation, as well as medical imaging technologies such as MRI, DNA sequencing and Ultra sound. Julie Ewington, Curatorial Manager, Australian Art spoke with Cooper about the development of her ‘Saved by Science’ series and the works featured in the ‘21st Century: Art in the First Decade’ exhibition.

Camera: Ben Wickes | Editing: Shihoko Iida, Ben Wickes

21st Century Artist Interview: Rirkrit Tiravanija

Rirkrit Tiravanija first served Thai food to visitors at the opening of his solo exhibition at the Paula Allen Gallery in New York in 1990. This was an exploration of the ways in which objects and spaces gain meaning in social situations. His ‘lunch box’ works disrupt the usual art viewing experience by introducing the smells and noises of cooking, eating and talking. During the course of the ’21st Century’ exhibition, a Thai lunch will periodically be served to Gallery visitors. During a research visit to Australia in September 2010, Tiravanija spoke with Russell Storer, Curatorial Manager, Asian and Pacific Art about his practice and contribution to the ‘21st Century: Art in the First Decade’ exhibition.

Camera: Ben Wickes | Editing: Bruce McLean, Ben Wickes

21st Century Artist Interview: Craig Koomeeta

In October 2010 Guy Allain, Art Centre Manager, WiK and Kugu Arts and Craft Centre spoke with the Aurukun artists Craig Koomeeta and Leigh Namponan at the Queensland Art Gallery about the ‘camp dogs’ project made for the 2010 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair.

Camera: Ben Wickes | Editing: David Burnett, Ben Wickes

21st Century Artist Interview: Céleste Boursier-Mougenot

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot creates works by drawing on the rhythms of daily life to produce sound in unexpected ways. In August 2010 Boursier-Mougenot sat down with Nicholas Chambers, Curator of Contemporary International Art at the Queensland Art Gallery to discuss his practice and his major new commission for the ‘21st Century: Art in the First Decade’ exhibition.

Camera: Ben Wickes | Editing: Amanda Slack-Smith, Ben Wickes

21st Century Artist Interview: Pierre Bismuth

Pierre Bismuth’s work addresses our ability to interpret cultural forms, from linguistic systems through to specific cultural products such as photographs, magazines and films. In August 2010 Bismuth sat down with Nicholas Chambers, Curator of Contemporary International Art at the Queensland Art Gallery to discuss his practice and his featured installation in the ‘21st Century: Art in the First Decade’ exhibition.

Camera: Ben Wickes | Editing: Nick Chambers, Ben Wickes

21st Century Artist Interview: Carsten Höller

Carsten Höller’s works focuses both on the activity of interaction (which has both spatial and social dimensions) and the internal (mental) affect this has on the participant. In July 2010 Höller sat down with Nicholas Chambers, Curator of Contemporary International Art at the Queensland Art Gallery to discuss his major commission for the ‘21st Century: Art in the First Decade’ exhibition.

Camera: Ben Wickes | Editing: Bruce McLean, Ben Wickes

21C Artist Interview: Tony Albert

Tony Albert explores political, historical, environmental and cultural issues that relate to Indigenous communities in Australia. In October 2008 Albert sat down with Kate Ravenswood, Head of Education and Regional Services at the Queensland Art Gallery to discuss his commission for the exhibition ‘Contemporary Australia: Optimism’ that will be shown in ‘21st Century: Art in the First Decade’.