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Trace: Performance and its Documents


Rebecca Horn, Germany b.1944 | White body fan (still) 1972 from Performances II 1973 | 16mm transferred to DVD, 36 minutes, colour, sound, ed. 16/300 | Purchased 2012. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

Dropping a Han dynasty urn

Ai Wei Wei, China b.1957 / Dropping a Han dynasty urn (detail) 1995 / Gelatin silver photograph on paper / Purchased 2006. The Queensland Government's Gallery of Modern Art Acquisitions Fund / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist

One minute sculptures

Erwin Wurm, Austria b.1954 / One minute sculptures (still) 1997 / DVD: 47 minutes, colour, stereo / Purchased 2003. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Grant / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist

22 February - 6 October 2014
Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA)

Opening Hours
Daily: 10.00am – 5.00pm

It seems obvious when talking about performance that ‘you really have to be there’, to get the story right. While the experience of ‘being there’ adds something particular, it is still possible to experience the work at a remove, whether via a screen, photographic documentation, or even a third-hand retelling of the action. ‘Trace’ draws out relationships between performance and its documents, bringing together new commissions with historical and contemporary works from across the Gallery’s Collection. The exhibition includes works by John Baldessari; Brown Council; Rebecca Horn; Bruce Nauman, Mike Parr; Campbell Patterson; Qin Ga; Carolee Schneemann; Sriwhana Spong; Song Dong; Ai Weiwei; Gosia Wlodarczak; Erwin Wurm; Zhang Huan, and more.

Spanning an array of cultural contexts and varying sorts of performativity – feats of endurance, repetitive actions, shamanistic rituals, vaudevillian acts – the works also range wildly in tone: from sublime to icky to out and out funny. Whether images, texts or objects, ‘Trace’ gives presence to the residues that stop performance disappearing altogether. Alongside the works, this testifies to the continuing relevance of discussions around ephemeral work in the Gallery: it appears, disappears, then reappears in various guises.

Read more about 'Trace' on our blog.
Watch interviews and artist performances on QAGOMA TV.

Past Programs and Events
Special Event
International artist talk | Tehching Hsieh in conversation with Russell Storer | 6.00pm Friday 2 May | GOMA Cinema
Join eminent New York-based performance artist Tehching Hsieh at GOMA in conversation with Russell Storer, Curatorial Manager, Asian Art, QAGOMA. Hsieh’s visit coincides with the display of the artist’s seminal One Year Performance 1980 – 1981 (Time Clock Piece) at Carriageworks, Sydney. Hseih will discuss this and other projects at this special event. Free, no bookings required.
Best known for a series of five year-long performances he undertook in New York in the 1980s, Tehching Hsieh makes work about time, life and being. His works are notable for their conceptual purity and physical extremity. Born in 1950 in Taiwan, Hsieh’s contribution to performance art has been widely recognised through major exhibitions at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2013), São Paulo Biennial (2012), Liverpool Biennale (2010), Gwangju Biennale (2010), Guggenheim Museum, New York (2009), and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2009).

Trace Live | Share your experience #TraceLive
Saturday 10 May | GOMA
A day devoted to performance, with a range of events and talks taking place in and around GOMA, featuring Australian artists who explore site-specific, performative and ephemeral practices. All events are free, no bookings required.
10.00am | Artist talk | Seminar Room
Join Agatha Gothe-Snape for an introduction to the history of visual scores, and the intersections between dance and visual art, with particular reference to her work Three Ways to Enter and Exit.
11.00am | Keynote artist talk | Cinema A
Australian artist Mike Parr reflects on his long history of making performance works since the 1970s. Parr will also present an excerpt of a new performance during the event.
1.00pm | Curator’s tour | Exhibition space
Join Bree Richards, Assistant Curator, Contemporary Australian Art, for a discussion of key works and ideas in the 'Trace: Performance and its Documents' exhibition.
1.30pm | Artist talk | Maiwar Green
Hear Kerrie Poliness speak about the large-scale drawing Field Drawing #1.
2.30pm | Artist talk | Exhibition space
Join members of Brown Council as they reflect on the life and work of fictional Australian performance artist Barbara Cleveland.
All day | Kerrie Poliness | Maiwar Green
Over the weekend Kerrie Poliness will use sports field marker to make Field Drawing #1, a large scale drawing on the Maiwar Green outside GOMA.
10.00 – 5.00pm | Michaela Gleave: Waiting For Time (7 Hour Confetti Work) | Cinema B and online
Streamed in real-time from her studio in New York, Michaela Gleave will undertake an endurance action over seven hours entitled Waiting For Time (7 Hour Confetti Work).
3.00pm |Agatha Gothe-Snape | exhibition space
Agatha Gothe-Snape will collaborate with QUT dance students to create a one-off dance piece, Other Ways to Enter and Exit.
Special Event | 3.30pm | Emerging Creatives networking | GOMA Lounge
Are you an emerging arts practitioner? Join us at this exclusive event offering an opportunity to meet ‘Trace Live’ artists in the surrounds of the ‘Trace Live’ pop up cash bar