exhibitions / Installation

Review. Sugar Spin: You, Me, Art and Everything

Like all 10 year old’s birthdays, Sugar Spin is a funhouse designed to engage your senses. The exhibition celebrates the GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane) turning 10 by bringing together over 250 artists, including the return of a number of much-loved installations.

Upon entry you’ll be tempted to stay and watch as participants slide in uniform down mirrored spiral slides, which appear like long robotic arms from the balcony above you. But this fun is waiting for you at the end; instead, follow your curiosity in the neon fur-lined walls around the bend to discover the crayon landscape of Icelandic-born artist Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir a.k.a. Shoplifter. Nervescape is a large multi-coloured installation of synthetic hair covering both sides of the long gallery walls. The overwhelming size of the piece evokes child-like fun by sparking life into your senses. Visitors are invited to touch, and even hug, the bundles of pop colour, an intensified colour pallet of the Icelandic sky during the long summer months of white night.

At the far end of the gallery visitors have another opportunity to lay among the artwork in the comfort of Noon-Nom, a pile of bosom-shaped cushions by Pinaree Sanpitak. Or head upstairs to forget about time as you place yourself in front of the large gallery windows facing the CBD skyline and build your own lego skyline in Olafur Eliasson’s interactive installation The cubic structural evolution project.

If you’re in a reflective mood, head to a side room where Céleste Boursier-Mougenot’s musical installation, from here to ear (v.13), changes the pace of the exhibition. By entering the room visitors will stir the colony of live Australian finches, who land on delicately-hung coat-hangers and harpsichord strings, which are activated as musical instruments. Whilst flying and feeding, resting and making music, these small birds orchestrate a calming, immersive space where audiences can experience the intangible and abstract.

Also in the exhibition are a number of pieces that, although do not allow direct participation from visitors, provide playful opportunities and excite the visual senses with their visual tricks to deceive the eye. Ron Mueck’s oversized and intensely realistic In bed installation, to the seemingly out-of-focus glass ball deer (or can you see deers?) by Kohei Nawa’s Pix-Cell Double Deer#4.

In the neighbouring room, Heard by American sculptor and performance artist Nick Cave fills a room with vibrant sculptural horses, which have been brought to life by dancers in a performance earlier in the exhibition’s run. This video plays in the background as you walk around among the sculptures.

At the end of the exhibition, visitors must decide between two possible paths in Carsten Höller’s Left / Right slide.  The “happiness producing machine”, in the artist’s words, sees two participants set off at the same time but in opposite directions down mirrored spiral slides.

To date, 500,000 visitors have attended the exhibition, which runs for a few more weeks until 17 April 2017. Put on your colourful best and take your young-at-heart friends along for the ride.

Spin Sugar is on at the Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art until April 17.

Also on, Mirror Mirror Free kids craft workshop with synthetic hair, by Icelandic-born artist Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir a.k.a. Shoplifter. Young visitors can create a unique paper hairstyle and help style a wall of hair-like material. Until 17 April 2017.