Skip links and keyboard navigation

    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    James Turrell light commission to transform GOMA

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Thursday, May 04, 2017

    James Turrell light commission to transform GOMA

    A major architectural light installation by internationally renowned artist James Turrell is set to transform Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) and complete the original vision for the structure in its 10th anniversary year.

    Announcing the commission, Premier and Arts Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Turrell installation would be unprecedented in scale, illuminating GOMA’s facade at night and transforming the way the cultural landmark was seen and experienced.

    “James Turrell has an extraordinary international reputation and following, which is well matched to GOMA’s significance as a cultural and architectural landmark,” the Premier said.

    “Turrell’s ambitious and dramatic work is set to illuminate GOMA’s exterior from early December.

    “The permanent installation promises to showcase the building to its full potential and will see GOMA added to the impressive list of ‘destination artworks’ Turrell has created around the world.”

    Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA)Director Chris Saines said the commission would be another milestone for GOMA’s 10th anniversary year.

    “In 2002, after Architectus + Davenport Campbell won the international competition to design the Gallery of Modern Art, lead architects Kerry Clare, Lindsay Clare and James Jones envisaged an artist-illuminated ‘white box’ on the building’s main pedestrian approaches,” Mr Saines said.

    “While GOMA’s vast container for light was built, it has been unlit — until now.

    “Turrell’s architectural light installation will activate the potential of this white box facade and realise the architects’ original design intention for GOMA.”

    The Premier said the activation of the Turrell work would be a fitting bookend to GOMA’s 10th birthday celebrations.

    “The GOMA Turns 10 celebrations have delivered record-breaking numbers, with an astounding 628,000 visitors experiencing the program, including the hugely popular exhibition Sugar Spin: you, me, art and everything,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

    “The illumination of the building with this one-of-a-kind work will further enhance GOMA’s position as a cultural drawcard showcasing the best in contemporary art worldwide.

    “The artwork will be visible from around the Cultural Precinct and across the river, adding substantially to the presence of an already iconic building and giving it new life after dark.”

    Mr Saines said the installation would see GOMA’s eastern and southern facades illuminated from within from dusk with an evolving pattern of light developed by the artist for the location. 

    “Significantly, it will also transform the way in which our local, interstate and international audiences will experience GOMA by night,” Mr Saines said.

    “It has the potential to be a major cultural tourism drawcard, with many of Turrell’s works throughout the world becoming artistic pilgrimage sites for his followers.

    “The Queensland Government has generously contributed funds towards the development of this ambitious commission and QAGOMA has been fortunate to receive a major contribution from Paul and Susan Taylor, and contributions from other generous supporters.

    “In helping realise this extraordinary artwork, we have made it the focus of the QAGOMA Foundation 2017 Appeal and are seeking further support from Foundation members and the broader community to realise this iconic addition to GOMA and Brisbane’s cityscape.”

    Media contact: Kirby Anderson (Premier’s office) 0417 263 791