From early December, visitors to Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art will come face to frosty face with an incredible, out-of-season snowman.
Far from his Swiss origins and a surprising, almost comically out-of-place sight in subtropical Queensland, audiences to the major ‘Water’ exhibition at GOMA will meet Snowman (1987/2017-19), safely preserved in the glass and metal confines of his industrial freezer.
QAGOMA Director Chris Saines said Snowman was the work of leading contemporary artists and collaborators Peter Fischli and David Weiss and would be showing for the first time in the Southern Hemisphere at GOMA as part of ‘Water’.
‘We are thrilled to have recently acquired this major artwork for the Gallery’s Collection, and to be premiering Snowman in our summer exhibition from 7 December until 26 April, 2020,’ Mr Saines said.
‘Fischli and Weiss’s Snowman has been acquired thanks to the visionary support of Tim Fairfax AC, whose ongoing benefaction has helped build one of the most exceptional collections of international contemporary art in this part of the world.
‘Just as Snowman has recently drawn crowds to The Museum of Modern Art, New York and San Francisco MOMA, we anticipate the sculpture will become a much-loved citizen and visitor favourite here at GOMA,’ Mr Saines said.
Tickets to ‘Water’ are now on sale and can be purchased at www.qagoma.qld.gov.au/water
Geraldine Kirrihi Barlow, Curatorial Manager of International Art at QAGOMA and curator of ‘Water’, said Snowman featured along with many other works by leading international and Australian artists in the major exhibition exploring the cultural, ecological and political significance of one of life’s most vital elements.
‘Contained within his freezer as if he were an endangered species, the expression of Snowman will shift over time as his smile and eyes are re-traced by hand every few days,’ Ms Barlow said.
‘As different fingers trace their mark, his face fluctuates between smiling and happy to more diabolical or even quizzical expressions.’
‘The snowman has a long history, from The Miracle of 1511 — a festival in Brussels where the locals made more than 100 satirical snowmen — to the popular Christmas song ‘Frosty the Snowman’.
‘The anthropoid figure has long captured the public imagination and at GOMA in the context of ‘Water’ Snowman prompts us to think about issues such as global warming and climate change,’ she said.
In addition to Snowman, visitors to ‘Water’ have the opportunity to experience Vestibulia 2019, Vera Möller’s vibrant, coral-like installation evoking the endless invention of nature and the fragility of the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem; Olafur Eliasson’s vast Riverbed landscape featuring more than 110 tonnes of rock; Cai Guo-Qiang’s Heritage, a huge lake surrounded by 45 life-size animals and Wanami 2019, Judy Watson’s painting celebrating long cycles of invention, nurture and sustenance.
‘Water’ will be accompanied by a public program of exhibition tours, artist talks and special events, and a publication featuring contributions from exhibition curator Geraldine Kirrihi Barlow; Indigenous Australian writer, land rights activist and Distinguished Research Fellow at Western Sydney University Alexis Wright; Melbourne Enterprise Professor of Environmentalism and International Board Member of The Climate Reality Project, Professor Don Henry AM and Professor Peter Godfrey-Smith, lecturer in the School of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Sydney, and author of the bestselling 2016 book Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness.
The ‘Water’ exhibition at GOMA is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar, worth $800m to the state’s economy in 2019.