9 October 2008

It contains moving parts, makes music and has a singularly impressive name, and it opens at the UQ Art Museum tonight.

Madame Illuminata Crack’s Phantasmagorical Armchair Exhibit for Ecologically Sustainable Recreation is the newest work from celebrated Queensland artist Pat Hoffie, and takes up the gallery with its whirring parts, machinery and mood music.

In her collaboration with Stefan Purcell and Dave Sawtell, Hoffie, a Professor from the Queensland College of Art, has assembled items including recycled gym equipment and violins, and set them moving in a light and sound show like none other.

“I’m using the violin and the cello to create a mood, it makes it a deeper sensory experience,” Professor Hoffie said.

“My hunch is that if art affects you through the body first then it’ll stick around in the mind for longer.”

The installation also includes images from Fully Exploited Labour – a series of photographs of South Sea Islander “Kanaka” workers that the artist has been compiling for two decades.

“I’m always interested in history. I think that's one of the things that art does, it makes the invisible visible. It brings out things that you think you know and it lets you see them in another way,” Professor Hoffie said.

“The installation is light-hearted but has quite a sad edge to it to, with the music and the poignancy of some of these images. This is the history of Queensland.”

The work was created at the invitation of museum Director Nick Mitzevich, and is a follow up to a major 2006 Hoffie exhibition, also staged at UQ.

“I hope that it’s a lot of fun, I hope that people see things that they are familiar with and they see them behaving in different ways and it might make them think about a number of things,” Professor Hoffie said.

“It’s never the job of the artist to predict everything.”

Before the official opening of the exhibition, the artist will talk about her work and practice in Gallery A from 5.00pm - 5.45pm.

An accompanying book Fully Exploited Labour Pat Hoffie edited by UQ Senior Lecturer Dr Sally Butler will also be launched as part of the opening at 6pm.

Madame Illuminata Crack’s Phantasmagorical Armchair Exhibit for Ecologically Sustainable Recreation appears at the UQ Art Museum 10am – 4pm daily until November 16.

Media: Gillian Ridsdale at the UQ Art Museum (07 3346 7793, g.ridsdale@uq.edu.au) or Cameron Pegg at UQ Communications (07 3365 2049, c.pegg@uq.edu.au)