For the first time in Australia — and more than four decades after his death — American artist Robert Smithson receives a dedicated exhibition. On display at the UQ Art Museum from March 10 to July 8, Robert Smithson: Time Crystals delves into the work of a figure considered one of the most inventive and influential of his time, particularly in his use as the land as a canvas for his sculptures.
Indeed, his piece Spiral Jetty still exists today: a 460-metre-long coil of mud, salt crystals, and basalt rocks, spiralling from the shore of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. That's not making its way to St Lucia, but plenty of sculptures, photographs, films, drawings and texts are, as borrowed from major Australian and international collections.
Also included are archival and research materials, both from Smithson and others looking into his work, helping to provide visitors with even more detail about his career and artistic practice. "As the most expansive presentation of Smithson's personal papers ever to be publicly exhibited, including a number of important unpublished writings, the exhibition will offer an extraordinary insight into the artist's methods, processes, connections and influences," explains co-curator Dr Amelia Barikin.
Image: Robert Smithson, Yucatan Mirror Displacements (1–9) 1969 (detail), nine chromogenic prints from original 126 format slides. each image 61 x 61 cm. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee and with funds contributed by the International Director's Council and Executive Committee Members: Edythe Broad, Henry Buhl, Elaine Terner Cooper, Linda Fischbach, Ronnie Heyman, Dakis Joannou, Cindy Johnson, Barbara Lane, Linda Macklowe, Brian McIver, Peter Norton Foundation, Willem Peppler, Denise Rich, Rachel Rudin, David Teiger, Ginny Williams and Elliot K. Wolk, 1999. Photo: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation / Art Resource, NY © Holt-Smithson Foundation/VAGA. Licensed by Viscopy, 2017.