'21st Century: Art in the First Decade' is an exhibition, publication, blog and series of public programs at the Queensland Art Gallery l Gallery of Modern Art that explore the art of the past ten years. As an expanded platform for the exhibition, the '21st Century Blog' functions as a source book of reference material and contributions provided by artists, curators and writers. Read more



Martin Boyce | We are shipwrecked and landlocked 2008–10 (detail) | Polyurethane on aluminium | Three elements: 770cm (high, each) | Installation in the courtyard of the Old Melbourne Gaol as the 18th Kaldor Public Art Project | Gift of Kaldor Public Art Projects (Sydney), the artist and The Modern Institute (Glasgow) with financial assistance from the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland 2010 | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Image courtesy: Image courtesy the artist & Kaldor Public Art Projects

Martin Boyce ‘We are shipwrecked and landlocked’ 2008–10

Martin Boyce re-imagines twentieth-century Modernism through his sculptures and installations, which rework and give new life to modernist forms of art, architecture and design. As he stated in a 2005 interview, ‘By and large what you’re looking at is something from the past, but I want to bring it into the now and see what effect time has had’.

We are shipwrecked and landlocked 2008–10 was inspired by a photograph of a group of concrete trees designed by Joël and Jan Martel in 1925. Created for the International Exhibition of Decorative and Industrial Arts, the Martels’ trees were displayed in the Paris garden of influential French architect Robert Mallet-Stevens and destroyed soon after the exhibition. Boyce has commented that the trees ‘represent a perfect collapse of architecture and nature’; they are constructed using industrial materials and based on a form that was, in turn, abstracted from nature.

Boyce has installed versions of the Martels’ trees in a range of environments, including a fifteenth-century Venetian palace, gallery exhibitions in Zurich and Edinburgh, in the square at Melbourne’s Royal Institute of Technology and now at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. Estranged from their original 1925 context, the trees are like characters that the artist casts in different locations, each location suggesting a new narrative.

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