TURRBAL-JAGERA: The University of Queensland Art Projects 2006

2 — 17 December, 2006

University Art Museum
The James and Mary Emelia Mayne Center
The University of Queensland
St Lucia Brisbane 4072
tel. (07) 3365 3046

Tim Johnson, 'Induction', The University of Queensland, July 1972. Photo courtesy the artist.

Download the printable TURRBAL-JAGERA Guide (400k .pdf)

Abectleader (Brisbane) Paul Bai (Brisbane) Dave Hullfish Bailey (Los Angeles) James Birrell (Brisbane) Peter Bonde (Copenhagen) Stephen Bram (Melbourne) Catherine Brown (Brisbane) Janet Burchill/Jennifer McCamley (Melbourne) Catherine Chevalier (Paris) Edward Colless (Melbourne) A.D.S. Donaldson (Sydney) Donovan Hill (Brisbane) Andreas Exner (Frankfurt) Matthys Gerber (Sydney) Robin Gibson (Brisbane) Jens Haaning (Copenhagen) Leni Hoffmann (Düsseldorf) Tim Johnson (Sydney) Lost Domain (Brisbane) Nevil Matthews (Brisbane) Gerold Miller (Berlin) Archie Moore (Brisbane) Clive Murry-White (Melbourne) Robert Owen (Melbourne) O’Conner + Houle (Melbourne) Anu Pennanen (Helsinki) Scott Redford (Brisbane) Rebecca Ross (Brisbane) Anne Wallace (Brisbane) Jeffrey Wegener (Sydney) Chris Wilder (Los Angeles) Heimo Zobernig (Vienna)

Clive Murray-White, 'Smokebomb Sculpture', The University of Queensland, May 1971
Super 8 film-still courtesy of Brian Hatch

Turrbal-Jagera is a major international open air exhibition designed to engage the public in an exploration of the grounds, precincts and history of The University of Queensland’s St Lucia campus (UQ). Regarded by many as Australia’s most attractive university, it is located a short ferry ride from the city centre on a magnificent 114-hectare site in a bend of the Brisbane River. In addition to expansive landscaped grounds, the campus includes numerous playing fields and important local examples of modern architecture.

In being bounded on three sides by the river, visitors to the exhibition are presented with a relatively contained spatial envelope. Whether on foot or bicycle, the experience appears straightforward enough: with the aid of a pocket map and guide a kind of hide-and-seek game with art is proposed, one that encourages an exploration of both the work and the site together. The encounter is rooted in a process of questioning, one initiated nearly 100 years ago with Marcel Duchamp's ‘readymade,’ an invention that forever changed — and continues to change — the way we think about art. By selecting ordinary mass-produced objects and placing them in an art situation, Duchamp effected a radical shift in the art experience, one that de-emphasised the hand-crafted and retinal in favour of a more conceptual and open-ended approach. Duchamp’s gesture also involved a challenge to the institutional conventions that both make art possible and serve to limit it, so that today the only thing certain is that nothing is certain and fixed.

The legacy of Duchamp’s ‘readymade’ touches almost every aspect of Turrbal-Jagera, from the exhibition’s title acknowledging the local Traditional Owners (the Turrbal and Jagera people), to the nomination of existing locations at UQ as artworks for the purposes of the show. Of course, the early exhibitions of Conceptual Art in the 1960s also often included substantial ‘outdoor’ components and employed titles that sought, like the artworks themselves, to heighten an awareness of time and place. Here, the title not only effects a general awareness of people and place, but also conjures another time and a culture with an ancient dimension.

The concern to bring the past and present into play is also a recurring feature of Turrbal-Jagera. This feature is seen, for example, in the ways that certain existing buildings by James Birrell, Robin Gibson, and Donovan Hill are ‘activated’ as part of the exhibition. Including architecture also squarely raises the question of its status as art, but in addition makes us ask: Is it possible for artists today to work outside art's institutional structures with its network of art museums, galleries, art magazines, etc.? Such issues also concerned early Conceptual Art.

With all of this in mind, it is appropriate that Turrbal-Jagera draw attention to the role of UQ in the realisation of certain important early works of Conceptual Art in Australia. For example, Clive Murray-White’s Smokebomb Sculpture and Tim Johnson’s early performances were both presented at UQ in the early 1970s. These highly abstract and theatrical works confounded the institutional conventions of art, with the role of the viewer challenged as never before. By positioning these now ‘classic’ works within the four walls of the University Art Museum (UAM), and then book-ending them with commissioned works by Heimo Zobernig (Vienna) and Dave Hullfish Bailey (Los Angeles) — each of which also involve substantial 'outdoor' and/or performative components — another layer of reflexivity is added to enliven them critically.

This exhibition is titled Turrbal-Jagera as a gesture of deep respect and cultural sensitivity to the traditional owners and custodians of the country on which The University of Queensland has been built. The included artworks explore and express themes and tensions that are intended to transcend borders and boundaries, and celebrate the higher elements of universal humanity and our interaction with the natural environment. The fact that we are carrying out this activity on Turrbal/Jagera land is in no way intended to make any assumptions about the cultural practice of the Turrbal/Jagera people, or the way in which they celebrate their place in the natural order of life.

ACTIVITIES: venues, locations, artists, displays, interventions, events, etc.
Entry to all venues and events is free.
Download the TURRBAL-JAGERA Guide (1.1MB .pdf)

The James & Mary Emelia Mayne Centre
University Drive
t: (07) 3365 3046 e: artmuseum@uq.edu.au

2—17 December, UAM open 10am–4pm (except Mondays)

Dave Hullfish Bailey (Please note that this project includes a performative element involving the CityCat ferries and local Indigenous people between 10am–4pm on Saturday 2 December), Peter Bonde, Janet Burchill/Jennifer McCamley, Robin Gibson, Tim Johnson, Nevil Matthews, Gerold Miller, Clive Murray-White, Heimo Zobernig.

Jocks Road (off Staff House Road)
tel. 0412 199765 e: dpg@thehub.com.au

2 December, 10am–4pm Project Club open

3 December, 10am–10pm Project Club open
3pm - Leni Hoffmann
4pm - Catherine Chevalier
5pm - Dave Hullfish Bailey + Sam Watson snr.
6pm - Bar-B-Que

9 December, 10am–10pm Project Club open

4pm - Remembering Bill Carr: Architectural Pedagogy and the Art Scene in the Seventies, a discussion involving James Birrell, Edward Colless (Chair), Tim Johnson, Clive Murray-White, Paul Memmott, and John Mainwaring.
7pm - Abjectleader, Lost Domain, Anne Wallace

10 December, 10am–6pm Project Club open

4pm - Nevil Matthews
5pm - Robert Owen

16 December 10am–5pm Project Club open
4pm - Anu Pennanen

17 December, 10am–10pm Project Club open
7pm - Jeffrey Wegener + friends

3. Abjectleader (Brisbane)
Abjectleader are Sally Golding (film, projectors) and Joel Stern (concrete sound). They perform expanded cinema pieces for multiple 16mm projectors, handmade film, feedback systems, incongruous foley noise, sprockets and flicker, trumpet, and cardboard boxes. Selected recent performances include the NowNow Festival (Sydney), OtherFilm Festival (Brisbane), and the Madcat Film Festival (San Francisco). Abjectleader will perform at the Project Club on Saturday 9 December. For further information go to www.abjectleader.org

4. Paul Bai (Brisbane)
Paul Bai grew up in China before migrating to Australia and studying painting at the Queensland College of Art. He works across media with often humorous and unexpected results. In 2002 he had a one-person exhibition at the Institute of Modern Art, and has since then exhibited both interstate and overseas. For Turrbal-Jagera the artist has created a fictitious location known as the James Birrell Lookout. For further information go to www.paulbai.com

5. Dave Hullfish Bailey (Los Angeles)
Dave Hullfish Bailey first travelled to Brisbane in April 2003 to undertake preliminary research for his CityCat project (in co-operation with local Aboriginal people), one of the key works of Turrbal-Jagera. He has since realised several location-specific projects in Europe, including a major solo exhibition at the Secession in Vienna last May. Bailey will return to Brisbane for the realisation of his City Cat project, which includes a 6 hour performance on Saturday 2 December involving the CityCat ferries and local Indigenous people, as well as a joint-presentation with local Aboriginal elder Sam Watson at the Project Club on Sunday 3 December.

6. James Birrell (Brisbane)
In 2006 Brisbane architect James Birrell was awarded the RAIA Gold Medal, the organisation’s highest honour. Birrell’s linear buildings at UQ: Union College (1963) and Agriculture & Entomology Building (1966), reflect an overriding concern to integrate the landscape in line with the principles of Walter Burley Griffin, while his brick 'folly’ for Turrbal-Jagera playfully inverts a recurrent detail of these earlier buildings. Birrell is also notable for having worked closely with artists on aspects of his buildings decades in advance of legislation dictating such collaborations.

7. Peter Bonde (Copenhagen)
Peter Bonde first visited Australia in 1990 to participate in Rene Block’s Biennale of Sydney. Since then he has returned on several occasions for exhibitions in both Sydney and Brisbane. In 1999 Bonde collaborated with Jason Rhoades on the exhibition for the Danish Pavilion at that year’s Venice Biennale. For Turrbal-Jagera the artist will present drawings of an 'impractical' outdoor sculpture in an 'impractical' location within the UAM.

8. Stephen Bram (Melbourne)
Stephen Bram’s work for Turrbal-Jagera is limited to a proposal to be published in the exhibition catalogue. The proposal involves the translation into English of a book on museum design by the late Swiss artist Rémy Zaug, and the graphic/architectural presentation of the text at the UAM. It is hoped that in a future edition of the project this piece might be more fully realised.

9. Catherine Brown (Brisbane)
Catherine Brown was one of the first artists commissioned to create a work for Turrbal-Jagera. She proposed a special flower garden for the Alumni Court, however, due to the severe drought currently affecting Brisbane this work will only be represented in the exhibition catalogue. It is hoped that in a future edition of the project this piece might be more fully realised.

10. Janet Burchill/Jennifer McCamley (Melbourne)
Janet Burchill and Jennifer McCamley have been working collaboratively for over 20 years. Throughout much of the 1990s they lived in Berlin and were active participants in the dynamic art scene that unfolded there in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The work of Burchill/McCamley often involves pithy textual pronouncements, such as their Smoke & Mirrors neon piece for Turrbal-Jagera, which activate meanings specific to art, but which also, importantly, have everyday connotations too.

11. Catherine Chevalier (Paris)
The Paris-based art critic and teacher Catherine Chevalier is currently co-editing a book of translated essays originally published in the German art journal Texte Zur Kunst between 1990–1998. Her recent writings have been published in Frog, Pacemaker and Texte Zur Kunst, on subjects including the Bernadette Corporation, Pierre Huyghe, and Heimo Zobernig. Catherine Chevalier will discuss the complexities of Heimo Zobernig's context-related work from the early 1990s and its critical legacy at the Project Club on Sunday 3 December.

12. Edward Colless (Melbourne)
In the early 1970s Edward Colless studied architecture for several years before moving on to art history at Sydney University where, in the 1980s, he taught art history and film studies at its Power Institute. Since the early 1980s, Colless has regularly written about contemporary art and culture and in 1995 the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane published The Error of My Ways, a book of his selected writings. He has also worked as a filmmaker, a theatre director and currently is head of critical studies in the art school of the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. Colless will chair the discussion at the Project Club on Saturday 9 December, while later that night at the Project Club Anne Wallace will present his his short 16mm film Wet Madeline (1990). He will also participate in the Chris Wilder event on Sunday 10 December.

13. A.D.S. Donaldson (Sydney)
A.D.S. Donaldson is intensely interested in non-canonical histories of art, in those artists who have ‘fallen between the cracks’ or been consigned to what he calls ‘the second division.’ In disconnecting the water to a fountain behind The Great Court, Donaldson appears to be exercising his social responsibility in a drought. However, in drawing attention to what now looks like an anonymous piece of constructivist sculpture, Donaldson plays with Duchamp's most well-known readymade, the urinal which he gave the title Fountain. That the fountain here is actually the uncredited work of former university architect James MacCormick, also underscores an important theme of Turrbal-Jagera: the ambiguity between art and architecture.

14. Donovan Hill (Brisbane)
The work of Brisbane architects Brian Donovan and Timothy Hill has attracted a great deal of attention over the last decade for its innovative approach to site, forms and materials. For Turrbal-Jagera the architect's Collaborative-Laboratory overlooking the big Lake at UQ will be transformed into the Project Club: a kiosk, information centre and convivial site for discussion, screenings and other presentations. For further information go to www.donovanhill.com.au

15. Andreas Exner (Frankfurt)
Andreas Exner is one of a select group of Frankfurt artists promoted by Kasper König during his time as as director of the important Portikus gallery in the 1990s. The artist's work has also been exhibited in Australia on several occasions since his first visit here in 1996. Exner's work continues the incursion of modern painting into the ‘extended field’: where painting can be seen in many shapes, forms and situations, and, critically, in a more concrete relation to everyday-life. For Turrbal-Jagera the artist will exhibit a flag-like piece on one of the flag-poles of the Forgan Smith Tower.

16. Matthys Gerber (Sydney)
Matthys Gerber is an artist who also teaches at the Sydney College of the Arts. In recent years Gerber has been painting brightly coloured geometric designs on timber power-poles. Never quite able to escape their customary function — we always recognise them as power-poles — Gerber's 'erections' may be seen as a playful celebration of male sexuality. They also testify to the increasing influence that contemporary art from remote Aboriginal communities is having on artists in Australia today. For Turrbal-Jagera the artist gives this situation an extra charge.

17. Robin Gibson (Brisbane)
Robin Gibson is one of Brisbane's most important architects. His best-known projects include a cluster of 'corduroy concrete' buildings at UQ in the early 1970s, including the Mayne Hall (now the Mayne Centre and home of the UAM), and the Queensland Cultural Centre at the SouthBank in 1983. Unbeknownst to the architect, test panels from the former project were left standing like a piece of pure minimal sculpture adjacent to the big lake at UQ. Gibson's 'reclaiming' of the panels here is an ambiguous gesture, but one that, finally, can be understood as a plea for architecture to be more broadly recognised — like artworks — for the way it reflects finely tuned considerations of space and a conceptually integrated approach.

18. Jens Haaning (Copenhagen)
Jens Haaning’s art practice evolved out of his earlier work as an activist in the labour movement in Denmark. He therefore stands in contrast to those artists associated with early Conceptual Art who in the 1970s resolved that direct political action should replace cultural production. Nevertheless, Haaning’s work always has an overt political dimension, albeit one that involves quite a pronounced degree of abstraction and often a sly humour. For Turrbal-Jagera the artist has facilitated the free entry for foreigners to the UQ Aquatic Centre. For further information go to www.jenshaaning.com

19. Leni Hoffmann (Düsseldorf)
Since the late 1980s Leni Hoffmann’s architectural interventions in brightly coloured plasticine have been regularly presented by art museums and galleries around the world, including at the Queensland Art Gallery in 1995. For Turrbal-Jagera, Hoffmann will create one of her ‘ground paintings’ with small multi-coloured plasticine balls on the tarmac of Sir Fred Schonell Drive at UQ. The artist will also discuss the history of her road-works at the Project Club on Sunday 3 December.

20. Tim Johnson (Sydney)
In July 1972 Bill Carr, a lecturer in architecture, invited Tim Johnson to participate in Art Experience Week, an initiative of the UQ Department of Architecture. Proceedings commenced with Johnson’s ‘Induction,’ a performance in which participants were directed to attempt to induce an erection “by directing [their] thoughts towards erotic subjects.” Although Johnson's work was clearly directed at making apparent the unbridgeable divide between body, socialised behavior, and psyche, this was not recognised much less accepted in conservative Queensland of the time. Within days the educational validity of Johnson’s activities was questioned in State Parliament, the artist was sacked, Art Experience Week cancelled, and Bill Carr effectively put on trial by the University. The UAM component of Turrbal-Jagera will revisit these events, while the artist will participate in the discussion at the Project Club on Saturday 9 December.

21. The Lost Domain (Brisbane)
The Lost Domain comprises different people at different times, a fluidity of form which translates well into their freely improvised psycho-blues. Since 1990 the core duo of guitarist David MacKinnon and vocalist Simon Ellaby has progressed with what is now an internationally recognised ensemble. Their current stellar incarnation includes Brisbane legend and polymath Eugene Carchesio, casio revisionist Leighton Craig, and Greg Hilliard on guitar and effects. The Lost Domain will perform at the Project Club on Saturday 9 December.

22. Nevil Matthews (Brisbane)
Nevil Matthews is a painter who regularly travelled to Sydney in the early ‘60s to study with Clement Meadmore. In the late ‘60s Matthews tutored in the Department of Architecture at UQ, while from 1969–1972 he was vice-president of the Queensland Branch of the Contemporary Art Society. His coloured glass windows, known as the Joyce windows (after their donor), for Robin Gibson’s Mayne Hall in 1972, is a sympathetic example of what is today legislatively known in Queensland as Art-Built-In. Matthews documented on 8mm film the nine months he spent working on the Joyce windows, and will present the film and other documentation of the work at the Project Club on Sunday 10 December.

23. Gerold Miller (Berlin)
The creation and presentation of posters in gallery and outdoor exhibitions has been a recurring feature of the work of the German artist Gerold Miller. Invariably installed in a grid formation, with the edges combining optically to create an unexpected rhythm, Miller’s poster installations open up a wide cognitive space for the viewer to enter. For Turrbal-Jagera the artist will create a poster installation for the glass entry cube to the UAM.

24. Archie Moore (Brisbane)
In self-consciously referring to ‘60s ‘bubblegum’ cartoon The Archies, Archie Moore’s recent series of prints at Fireworks Gallery playfully stake out a position within a local lineage of urban Indigenous artists who deploy pop-cultural imagery to wryly comment on contemporary Aboriginal identity. For Turrbal-Jagera the artist will create a ‘display’ for the lobby of UQ's Fryer Library, special branch of the main UQ library with special collections of Indigenous material and important holdings of local architectural drawings and archival material.

25. Clive Murray-White (Melbourne)
Clive Murray-White’s Smokebomb Sculpture at UQ in May 1971 is perhaps the single most important work of early Conceptual art in Australia. Photo documentation of the work was widely reproduced at the time — perhaps most significantly by Terry Smith, as a kind of prefix to his curatorial rationale for the important 1971 survey ‘The Situation Now’ — and since, including on the cover of Art & Australia in 1975. Two recently discovered films of Murray-White’s Smokebomb Sculpture have been transferred to DVD and centrally positioned, together with other related documentation from the artist's archive, in the UAM component of Turrbal-Jagera. In addition, the artist will discuss the work at the Project Club on Saturday 9 December.

26. Robert Owen (Melbourne)
Robert Owen is one of the most prominent artists working in public space in Australia. Owen’s ‘sky-needle’ for Expo ‘88 is still the most visible piece of ‘public art’ in Brisbane, yet today it is a far-cry from the artist’s original design and intent. Robert Owen will discuss this fiasco and provide a brief overview of some of his more recent public art commissions at the Project Club on Sunday 10 December.

27. O'Connor + Houle (Melbourne)
The architects Stephen O’Connor and Annick Houle recently saw the completion of their dramatic extensions to the Heide Museum of Modern Art in Melbourne. In 2002 they were commissioned to design a bicycle pavilion for Turrbal-Jagera. Unfortunately, due to funding and other complications, the pavilion was unable to be realised, however, drawings of it will be published in the exhibition catalogue. It is hoped that in a future edition of the project this piece might be realised.

28. Anu Pennanen (Helsinki)
The short films of Anu Pennanen manifest an interest in urban public space and frequently involve collaborations with experimental musicians. The artist will discuss the making of her film A Monument for the Invisible (2003) at the Project Club of Saturday 16 December. This will be followed by a screening of the film on sunset at the Pestorius Sweeney House in Hamilton (cnr. Crescent Road/Eblin Drive; tel. 3262 4870). Persons interested in attending both events are encouraged to travel to the screening by CityCat ferry from the UQ terminal to Bretts Wharf and then walk 5 minutes back along Kingsford-Smith Drive to Crescent Road then up to the house. For further information go to www.anupennanen.com

29. Scott Redford (Brisbane)
Sporting culture has been a recurring aspect of Scott Redford’s work, as have his ‘Photo’ pieces: highly abstract and conceptual installations where the word ‘Photo’ plays a prominent and critical role. For Turrbal-Jagera the artist brings both of these areas of interest together. Assuming the material techniques of stadium advertising, Redford here seems to be asking what is it that we are looking at, how does seeing relate to reading, and where is the correct point of view in relation to any given subject. A survey of Redford's work from the 1990s at the Institute of Modern Art will coincide with this project. For further information go to www.ima.org.au

30. Rebecca Ross (Brisbane)
Much of Rebecca Ross’ recent work has been site-specific in nature. For Turrbal-Jagera the artist takes the UQ campus map as a kind of ‘readymade,’ which she scales-up 1:1 in situ. Ross playfully questions the 'real' and how it is represented by revealing disparities between the official mapping of the Great Court — a highly symbolic location as it represents the 'core' of the University — and what is actually there. For further information go to www.rebeccaross.com

31. Anne Wallace (Brisbane)
Anne Wallace’s paintings often appear like film-stills that record poignant moments just before or after ‘the event,’ while the artist herself has often spoken of how film and music have proved inspirational. For Turrbal-Jagera the artist was to curate a special program of films at the Schonell Cinema. However, its sudden closure following the recent Voluntary Student Unionism legislation effectively spelt the end to this project. Instead, the artist will now present Edward Colless’ short 16mm film Wet Madeline (1990) at the Project Club on Saturday 9 December.

32. Jeffrey Wegener (Sydney)
Having played drums in The Saints, Laughing Clowns and The Birthday Party, Jeffrey Wegener’s punk credentials need little elaboration. In 1994 Wegener also played briefly with Robert Forster, a coming together that provided the impetus for Forster's Warm Nights, the group he formed later that year with Adele Pickvance and Glenn Thompson. Capable of great variation and subtlety, Wegener’s drumming has been described as “somewhere between Gene Krupa, Keith Moon and Elvin Jones.” For Turrbal-Jagera, Wegener and friends will perform at the Project Club on Sunday 17 December. Further details of participants will be announced closer to the event.

33. Chris Wilder (Los Angeles)
Chris Wilder grew up in Southern California in the 1970s, and studied art in both San Francisco and at Cal Arts, which perhaps explains the diverse and seemingly unrelated subjects that inform his work, including critical theory, punk rock, UFO sightings, and romanticism. His lecture/performance piece for Turrbal-Jagera When Worlds Collide will explore the intersection of art criticism, film theory and anthropology. Featuring contributions from anthropologist Sally Babidge (UQ), film-theorist Edward Colless (VCA), and art historian Andrew McNamara (QUT), in advance of screenings of short ethnographic films by Napoleon Chagnon and Timothy Asch, it will take place at the Dutton Park Ferry Shelter (adjacent to the new Eleanor Schonell Bridge), at sunset on Sunday 10 December.

34. Heimo Zobernig (Vienna)
Heimo Zobernig's work is regularly included in the major international surveys of contemporary art, including Documenta 9, 10 and 11. His work was also featured in the 1997 edition of the Sculpture Projects in Münster, the 10 yearly exhibition regarded as the most important showcase of art in public space in the world. For Turrbal-Jagera the artist playfully crosses back and forth between inside and out, signage and sculpture, image and text, form and formlessness. Zobernig's work will also be the subject of a discussion by French art critic Catherine Chevalier at the Project Club on Sunday 3 December.