• Mona Hatoum, Lebanon/United Kingdom b.1952 / Installation view of Hot Spot 2006, ‘Air’ GOMA 2022 / Stainless steel and neon tube / 230 x 223 x 223cm / The David and Indrė Roberts Collection / Courtesy: The Roberts Institute of Art, London / Photograph: M Campbell © QAGOMA

    Mona Hatoum, Lebanon/United Kingdom b.1952 / Installation view of Hot Spot 2006, ‘Air’ GOMA 2022 / Stainless steel and neon tube / 230 x 223 x 223cm / The David and Indrė Roberts Collection / Courtesy: The Roberts Institute of Art, London / Photograph: M Campbell © QAGOMA / View full image

  • Jamie North, Australia b.1971 / Installation view of Portal 2022, ‘Air’ GOMA 2022 / Cement, ash, slag, expanded clay, graphite, organic matter and plants native to Queensland / Two columns: 290.9 x 60cm (each), plus plants / Courtesy: Jamie North and The Renshaws, Brisbane / © Jamie North/Copyright Agency, 2022 / Photograph: M Campbell © QAGOMA

    Jamie North, Australia b.1971 / Installation view of Portal 2022, ‘Air’ GOMA 2022 / Cement, ash, slag, expanded clay, graphite, organic matter and plants native to Queensland / Two columns: 290.9 x 60cm (each), plus plants / Courtesy: Jamie North and The Renshaws, Brisbane / © Jamie North/Copyright Agency, 2022 / Photograph: M Campbell © QAGOMA / View full image

  • Carlos Amorales, Mexico b.1970 / Installation view of Black Cloud 2007/2018, ‘Air’ GOMA 2022 / 30 000 black laser-cut and handfolded paper butterflies (30 different butterfly and moth species in five sizes with a wave wing pattern), ed. 1/3 (+ 1 A.P.) / Purchased 2022 with funds from Tim Fairfax AC through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Carlos Amorales / Photograph: M Campbell © QAGOMA

    Carlos Amorales, Mexico b.1970 / Installation view of Black Cloud 2007/2018, ‘Air’ GOMA 2022 / 30 000 black laser-cut and handfolded paper butterflies (30 different butterfly and moth species in five sizes with a wave wing pattern), ed. 1/3 (+ 1 A.P.) / Purchased 2022 with funds from Tim Fairfax AC through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Carlos Amorales / Photograph: M Campbell © QAGOMA / View full image

  • Jonathan Jones, Artist, Kamilaroi/Wiradjuri people, Australia b.1978; Dr Uncle Stan Grant Sr AM, Cultural advisor and speaker of recorded Wiradjuri, Wiradjuri people, Australia b.1940 / Installation view of untitled (giran) 2018 / Bindu-gaany (freshwater mussel shell), gabudha (rush), gawurra (feathers), marrung dinawan (emu egg), walung (stone), wambuwung dhabal (kangaroo bone), wayu (string), wiiny (wood) on wire pins, 48-channel soundscape, eucalyptus oil / 1742 pieces (comprising 291 Bindu-gaany; 290 Galigal; 292 Bagaay; 291 Dhalany; 280 Bingal; 298 Waybarra) / Purchased 2018 with funds from Tim Fairfax AC through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Jonathan Jones

    Jonathan Jones, Artist, Kamilaroi/Wiradjuri people, Australia b.1978; Dr Uncle Stan Grant Sr AM, Cultural advisor and speaker of recorded Wiradjuri, Wiradjuri people, Australia b.1940 / Installation view of untitled (giran) 2018 / Bindu-gaany (freshwater mussel shell), gabudha (rush), gawurra (feathers), marrung dinawan (emu egg), walung (stone), wambuwung dhabal (kangaroo bone), wayu (string), wiiny (wood) on wire pins, 48-channel soundscape, eucalyptus oil / 1742 pieces (comprising 291 Bindu-gaany; 290 Galigal; 292 Bagaay; 291 Dhalany; 280 Bingal; 298 Waybarra) / Purchased 2018 with funds from Tim Fairfax AC through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Jonathan Jones / View full image

  • Ron Mueck, England b.1958 / Installation view of In bed 2005 / Mixed media / 161.9 x 649.9 x 395cm / Purchased 2008. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Ron Mueck

    Ron Mueck, England b.1958 / Installation view of In bed 2005 / Mixed media / 161.9 x 649.9 x 395cm / Purchased 2008. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Ron Mueck / View full image

  • Anthony McCall, United Kingdom/United States b.1946 / Installation view of Crossing 2016 / Two double video projections (16 minutes), haze machine and sound / Commissioned to mark the tenth anniversary of the opening of the Gallery of Modern Art. Purchased 2016 with funds from Tim Fairfax AC through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Anthony McCall

    Anthony McCall, United Kingdom/United States b.1946 / Installation view of Crossing 2016 / Two double video projections (16 minutes), haze machine and sound / Commissioned to mark the tenth anniversary of the opening of the Gallery of Modern Art. Purchased 2016 with funds from Tim Fairfax AC through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Anthony McCall / View full image

  • Tacita Dean, United Kingdom b.1965 / Chalk Fall 2018 / Chalk on blackboard / Nine panels: 121.9 x 243.8cm (each); 365.8 x 731.5cm (overall) / Purchased 2021. The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Charitable Trust / Collection: The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Charitable Trust, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Tacita Dean / Image courtesy: Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

    Tacita Dean, United Kingdom b.1965 / Chalk Fall 2018 / Chalk on blackboard / Nine panels: 121.9 x 243.8cm (each); 365.8 x 731.5cm (overall) / Purchased 2021. The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Charitable Trust / Collection: The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Charitable Trust, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Tacita Dean / Image courtesy: Marian Goodman Gallery, New York / View full image

  • Dora Budor, Croatia b.1984 / Origin II (Burning of the Houses) 2019 / Custom environmental chamber (reactive electronic system, compressor, valves, 3D printed elements, aluminium, acrylic, LED light, glass, wood, paint), organic and synthetic pigments, diatomaceous earth, FX dust, felt, ed. 3/3 / One of three chambers: 152 x 160 x 86cm (each) / Purchased 2021. Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Dora Budor / Photograph: M Campbell © QAGOMA

    Dora Budor, Croatia b.1984 / Origin II (Burning of the Houses) 2019 / Custom environmental chamber (reactive electronic system, compressor, valves, 3D printed elements, aluminium, acrylic, LED light, glass, wood, paint), organic and synthetic pigments, diatomaceous earth, FX dust, felt, ed. 3/3 / One of three chambers: 152 x 160 x 86cm (each) / Purchased 2021. Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Dora Budor / Photograph: M Campbell © QAGOMA / View full image

Exploring the themes

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Atmosphere

  • Dora Budor, Croatia b.1984 / Origin II (Burning of the Houses) (detail) 2019 / Custom environmental chamber (reactive electronic system, compressor, valves, 3D-printed elements, aluminium, acrylic, LED light, glass, wood, paint), organic and synthetic pigments, diatomaceous earth, FX dust, felt, ed. 3/3 / Three chambers: 152 x 160 x 86cm (each) / Purchased 2021. Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Dora Budor

    Dora Budor, Croatia b.1984 / Origin II (Burning of the Houses) (detail) 2019 / Custom environmental chamber (reactive electronic system, compressor, valves, 3D-printed elements, aluminium, acrylic, LED light, glass, wood, paint), organic and synthetic pigments, diatomaceous earth, FX dust, felt, ed. 3/3 / Three chambers: 152 x 160 x 86cm (each) / Purchased 2021. Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Dora Budor / View full image

Our greenhouse planet spins through space, warmed by the Sun and surrounded by a vital mix of life-supporting gases – our precious atmosphere, the air we breathe. Part transparent and part reflective, the aerosolar spheres of Tomás Saraceno’s installation Drift: A cosmic web of thermodynamic rhythms 2022 catch and refract the light, modelling a new future of flight powered entirely by the energy of the Sun. Air as we know it did not exist when the Earth formed. Dora Budor takes us back to this early history in Origins I–III 2019 (illustrated), where volcano-punctuated landscapes are animated by occasionally erupting clouds of pigment. There is movement but no life, beautiful and unsettling – this is not air you would want to breathe.

Burn

  • Mona Hatoum, Lebanon/United Kingdom b.1952 / Hot Spot 2006 / Stainless steel and neon tube / 230 x 223 x 223cm / The David and Indrė Roberts Collection / Courtesy: The Roberts Institute of Art, London / © Mona Hatoum / Image courtesy: Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin | Paris / Photograph: Jörg von Bruchhausen

    Mona Hatoum, Lebanon/United Kingdom b.1952 / Hot Spot 2006 / Stainless steel and neon tube / 230 x 223 x 223cm / The David and Indrė Roberts Collection / Courtesy: The Roberts Institute of Art, London / © Mona Hatoum / Image courtesy: Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin | Paris / Photograph: Jörg von Bruchhausen / View full image

We are usually unaware of the air we breathe, but might sense it when standing near an air vent. Nancy Holt draws our attention to the movement of air in Ventilation System 1985–1992/2022. COVID-19 alerted us to the capacity of air to convey invisible threats and heightened our awareness of the connected systems we depend on. Iraqi-British artist Jananne Al-Ani traces these relationships in her film Black Powder Peninsula 2016, which links oil and gas storage depots, sewage processing plants and power stations. Charles Page, Max Dupain and Wolfgang Sievers convey a sense of human capacity oscillating between wonder and unease when faced by the scale of mining, construction and industry. Mona Hatoum’s sculpture (illustrated) takes the shape of the Earth, the perimeter of each continent burning in orange-red neon as if predicting the systems we rely on are about to overheat and malfunction. In The Way Things Go (Der Lauf der Dinge) 1987 Peter Fischli and David Weiss set up a domino-like flow of experiments where one movement or process leads to another. Their film models not only aspects of how we got here but also the spirit of experimental play required to engineer a better future.

Shared

  • Jamie North, Australia b.1971 / Portal 2022 / Cement, ash, slag, expanded clay, graphite, organic matter and plants native to Queensland / Two columns: 290.9 x 60cm (each), plus plants / © Jamie North / Courtesy: Jamie North and The Renshaws, Brisbane

    Jamie North, Australia b.1971 / Portal 2022 / Cement, ash, slag, expanded clay, graphite, organic matter and plants native to Queensland / Two columns: 290.9 x 60cm (each), plus plants / © Jamie North / Courtesy: Jamie North and The Renshaws, Brisbane / View full image

We share the air with one another, plants, trees and algae. Life and air have evolved together. Katie Paterson takes us on a journey spanning the ‘first forest’ and the ‘last forest’ to come via two small sticks of incense, the scents will be released daily at 10am outside GOMA, under Lee Mingwei’s Bodhi Tree Project 2006. Jamie North combines industrial ruins and native plant communities in twin columns (illustrated) . Carbon dioxide in, oxygen out. Rosslynd Piggott reveals each measure of air as precious, collecting the air of 65 different moments. Lloyd Rees records the connection between a fig and a small figure sheltering below its canopy. Rei Naito’s links those whose have passed on to all who share the air today in a tender memorial. Arrernte artist Albert Namatjira paints the ghost gums on his traditional Country, animating the landscape in glowing veils of watercolour. d Harding and Hayley Matthew continue Bidjara, Ghungalu and Garingbal traditions by exhaling ochre over objects, creating silhouettes that continue those layered onto ancient rock galleries. Oliver Beer explores the meeting of different cultural inheritances via the intimate sharing of body and breath.

Invisible

  • Ron Mueck, England b.1958 / Installation view of In bed 2005 / Mixed media / 161.9 x 649.9 x 395cm / Purchased 2008. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Ron Mueck

    Ron Mueck, England b.1958 / Installation view of In bed 2005 / Mixed media / 161.9 x 649.9 x 395cm / Purchased 2008. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Ron Mueck / View full image

Sometimes what we cannot see makes us anxious. Ron Mueck’s oversized woman (illustrated) seems frozen mid-lockdown. Is she concerned, fearful or pensive? What is it that she can see but we can’t? The ‘invisible’ can encompass what we have chosen not to see, such as other’s suffering or lack of opportunity. Palawa artist Jemima Wyman builds a picture of global unrest and protest. Rachel Mounsey captures the Black Summer fires that swept through her home in the remote coastal community of Mallacoota on New Year’s Eve 2019. Thu Van Tran recalls the toxic defoliants sprayed over her country of birth, Vietnam. The lack of regard for people on the ground – their invisibility to those holding power – mirrors the First Nations experience of nuclear tests at Maralinga, South Australia, in the 1950s. Kokatha and Nukunu artist Yhonnie Scarce reflects on this legacy and evokes the rising blast of a nuclear explosion. Carlos Amorales brings thousands of butterfly and moth species cut from black paper gather to the gallery, a reminder of the fragility of life.

Change

  • Tacita Dean, United Kingdom b.1965 / Chalk Fall 2018 / Chalk on blackboard / Nine panels: 121.9 x 243.8cm (each); 365.8 x 731.5cm (overall) / Purchased 2021. The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Charitable Trust / Collection: The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Charitable Trust, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Tacita Dean / Image courtesy: Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

    Tacita Dean, United Kingdom b.1965 / Chalk Fall 2018 / Chalk on blackboard / Nine panels: 121.9 x 243.8cm (each); 365.8 x 731.5cm (overall) / Purchased 2021. The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Charitable Trust / Collection: The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Charitable Trust, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Tacita Dean / Image courtesy: Marian Goodman Gallery, New York / View full image

We live in times of great change, ambiguity and uncertainty, as if at the edge of a precipice. Jonathan Jones and Dr Uncle Stan Grant Snr AM ask us to pay attention, breathe deeply and sense the changing winds. Chalk, a humble tool for learning, is one of Tacita Dean’s preferred materials. She used it to create Chalk Fall 2018 (illustrated), here we see a section of cliff crashing into the sea, the land’s edge giving way to air. Ali Kazim paints a surging wall of dust as it sweeps across the ruins of ancient Indus Valley civilisations. Ideas can outlast towers of stone but require care and attention. Patrick Pound uses air, the most intangible of subjects, to ask how we build, hold and share knowledge. Entering Anthony McCall’s installation Crossing 2016, we are encompassed by a slow-shifting architecture of light. Air becomes solid, for a moment, and then what had seemed to exist evaporates.

Special event: Love is in the Air

Don’t let your love go unprofessed this Valentine’s Day! Bring a mate or a date to share an evening of love and creativity in the heart of the ‘Air’ exhibition.

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Become a member & get a free ticket

Members receive a wide range of discounts and access to exclusive events.

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Up Late

Friday 17 & Saturday 18 March 2023 Up Late returns across two nights during ‘Air’. Line-up announced February.

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Events

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QAGOMA Blog

QAGOMA Blog
Katie Paterson’s To Burn, Forest, Fire 2021 / Originally commissioned by IHME Helsinki, 2021 / Photograph: Veikko Somerpuro

Katie Paterson’s To Burn, Forest, Fire 2021 / Originally commissioned by IHME Helsinki, 2021 / Photograph: Veikko Somerpuro / View full image

To Burn, Forest, Fire: Daily Incense Ceremony

Each morning throughout the ‘Air’ exhibition, the incense fragrances of Katie Paterson’s work To Burn, Forest, Fire 2021 are released during a ceremonial offering under Lee Mingwei’s Bodhi Tree Project. If attending this event, please purchase your timed-entry ticket to ‘Air’ for the 10.30am session or later.

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Production still from Anne at 13,000 Ft 2019 / Director: Kazik Radwanski / Image courtesy: Cercamon

Production still from Anne at 13,000 Ft 2019 / Director: Kazik Radwanski / Image courtesy: Cercamon / View full image

Melting into Air: Capturing air on screen

Presented in conjunction with ‘Air' exhibition, the free film program explores cinematic representations of this essential element.

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Jemima Wyman, Pairrebeener people, Australia b.1977 / Plume 4 (detail) 2021 / Hand-cut digital photographs / 142 x 106.5cm / Courtesy: Jemima Wyman, Milani Gallery, Brisbane, and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney / Photograph: Ed Mumford

Jemima Wyman, Pairrebeener people, Australia b.1977 / Plume 4 (detail) 2021 / Hand-cut digital photographs / 142 x 106.5cm / Courtesy: Jemima Wyman, Milani Gallery, Brisbane, and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney / Photograph: Ed Mumford / View full image

Education Resources

Explore artworks in ‘Air’ alongside discussion questions and making activities with resources for both primary and secondary students.

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GOMA Bistro

GOMA Bistro / View full image

Eat and drink

There’s something to delight everyone across our three dining outlets: GOMA Restaurant, GOMA Bistro and QAG Cafe.

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Experience Brisbane

With stunning natural assets and a subtropical alfresco lifestyle, Brisbane is understated and unpretentious, with a welcoming laidback feel that flips the traditional city experience on its head.