“Fairy Tales” Exhibition Is Now Open At GOMA!

December 4, 2023

Still from 'The Company of Wolves' (1984) Dir. Neil Jordan

SheSociety had the privilege of experiencing the enchanting “Fairy Tales” exhibition at GOMA, and it was nothing short of magical. The curated collection transported us to a realm of wonder, where art and imagination converged to create a truly extraordinary journey. From whimsical installations to thought-provoking interpretations, each piece captivated our senses and sparked a profound appreciation for the fantastical world of fairy tales. This exhibition is a must-see for anyone seeking an immersive and enchanting art experience. Don’t miss the chance to step into the extraordinary at GOMA’s “Fairy Tales” – it’s a visual feast that promises to leave you spellbound and inspired.

Contemporary artists, designers and filmmakers respond to the timeless allure of fairy tales in a major exhibition at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) from 2 December 2023 to 28 April 2024.

QAGOMA Director Chris Saines said ‘Fairy Tales’, presented across GOMA’s ground floor, featured more than 100 works of art encompassing sculpture, installation, painting, photography, printmaking, papercuts, animation, video art, augmented reality, film, props and costumes.

‘While fairy tales have changed form through different eras and societies, their themes have remained universally resonant. This exhibition transports visitors into the faraway land of magical stories that cast an enduring spell on adults and children alike,’ Mr Saines said.

‘Among the enchanting works in ‘Fairy Tales’ are Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira’s new commission Corupira 2023, which envelops visitors in a twisted forest fashioned from tree branches and salvaged timber; costumes and props from Jim Henson’s iconic film Labyrinth 1986; Trulee Hall’s darkly theatrical Witch House (Umbilical Coven) 2023; and Patricia Piccinini’s Enchanted Field 2023, a dramatic canopy of approximately 3000 genetically modified blooms,’ he said.

The opening weekend of ‘Fairy Tales’ includes a screening of the celebrated animated feature The Adventures of Prince Achmed 1926 accompanied by a new live score by Dva (Linsey Pollack and Tunji Beier), alongside free screenings in the film program ‘Fairy Tales Cinema: Truth, Power and Enchantment’; a panel discussion with curator Amanda Slack-Smith and artists Abdul Abdullah, Trulee Hall and Timothy Horn; and drop-in storytelling sessions of classic tales reimagined by members of the Brisbane Fairy Tale Ring.

From 19 to 21 January 2024, the all-ages Fairy Tales Festival will present more than 50 free and ticketed events including storytelling sessions, film screenings, whimsical pop-up performances, hands-on workshops and more. Fairy Tales Up Late will be staged on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 March 2024, with live music by Elizabeth, Maple Glider, Methyl Ethyl, Tjaka and ZZADE.

Amanda Slack-Smith, exhibition curator and Curatorial Manager of QAGOMA’s Australian Cinémathèque, said ‘Fairy Tales’ explored the classic archetypes of powerful witches, magical beasts, and spirited princesses while also looking at ideas of enchantment, transformation and caution.

‘The exhibition features artworks that unravel the visual motifs of the genre, from deep, dark woods to impossible shoes and regal gowns,’ Ms Slack-Smith said.

‘The first chapter of the exhibition, ‘Into the Woods’, explores metamorphosis, unpredictability and danger while the second, ‘Through the Looking Glass’, is filled with puppets, toys, clocks, twirling mushrooms and flying houses that draw on childhood imagination. ‘Ever After’, the final chapter, celebrates the myriad ways that love and relationships play out in fairy tales, with a focus on the tropes of marriage in ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Snow White’.

‘The exhibition also includes Anish Kapoor’s dual concave mirror Red and Black Mist Magenta 2018; Jana Sterbak’s glass coffin Inside 1990/2023; Abdul Abdullah’s haunting photographic series Coming to Terms 2015; Carsten Höller’s interactive sculpture Flying Mushrooms 2015; Eiko Ishioka’s elaborate costumes for the 2012 film Mirror Mirror; and

Timothy Horn’s Mother-load 2008, a sumptuously embellished stagecoach created from crystallised rock sugar,’ Ms Slack Smith said.

The exhibition publication includes contributions from curator Amanda Slack-Smith; Emeritus Professor Jack Zipes, former Director of the Center for German and European Studies, University of Minnesota; Professor Pauline Greenhill, Institute for Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Winnipeg; an excerpt from Dame Marina Warner, Professor of English and Creative Writing, Birkbeck College, University of London; and Dr Sophie Hopmeier, Assistant Curator, Australian Cinémathèque, QAGOMA; plus an original short story by Holly Ringland, novelist and author of The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart and The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said ‘Fairy Tales’ will captivate Queenslanders of all ages, bringing the enchantment of cherished stories to life through visual art and design.

‘QAGOMA’s exhibitions continue to engage, inspire and connect communities by sharing our stories and celebrating our storytellers, a key priority of the Queensland Government’s Creative Together 2020-2030 10-year roadmap for arts, culture and creativity,’ Minister Enoch said.

‘The Queensland Government’s commitment of $4.4 million over two years from 2025–26 and ongoing annual funding of $2.2 million from 2027–28 through the 2023 State Budget will secure a continued pipeline of economy-boosting major exhibitions.

‘Since 2016, blockbuster investment of $24.8 million, together with support from Tourism and Events Queensland for exclusive exhibitions through QAGOMA, has generated more than $140 million in economic impact.

‘Securing and delivering exclusive and significant exhibitions and programming enables QAGOMA to strengthen Queensland’s position as an iconic cultural tourism destination. This is vital as we prepare for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games and embrace the opportunity to share our stories and cultures with the world,’ Minister Enoch said.

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said ‘Fairy Tales’ was a must-see on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.

‘The exclusive-to-Queensland ‘Fairy Tales’ exhibition, will captivate audiences with incredible installations staged across the entire ground floor of GOMA,’ Minister Hinchliffe said.

‘’The exhibition is expected to inject around $10 million into the Queensland visitor economy, providing a welcomed boost for Brisbane’s hotels, restaurant and bars, while supporting good local tourism jobs.

‘’Fairy Tales’ further enhances Queensland’s reputation as a word-class arts and cultural events destination in the lead-up to the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, where our artists, stories and cultures will be showcased to a global audience,’ Minister Hinchliffe said.

For tickets or more information about ‘Fairy Tales’ and the accompanying film program ‘Fairy Tales Cinema: Truth, Power and Enchantment’ visit www.qagoma.qld.gov.au. Timed-entry tickets are available, including Family and Season passes.

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