Six years in the making


Before I go any further I should explain the Director of the Queensland Art Gallery is also my husband.

The Queensland Art Gallery Foundation’s appeal this year is for Pursuit of Venus [infected] 2015 by New Zealand artist Lisa Reihana.

Chris has known Lisa and her work for decades. He had seen a version of this work in Singapore for an art prize. Then he described this work as the most remarkable chapter in Lisa’s career.

Introducing Lisa’s work to Queensland he said:

The work we are here to celebrate tonight – in Pursuit of Venus [infected] 2015 – could well be Lisa Reihana’s most highly developed and resolved work, her chef-d’oeuvre.

For me, it is already among the most art historically and culturally well-informed multimedia works that I have encountered.

It is a singular work, like no other I know, that manages to be both hauntingly beautiful and endlessly evocative, while at the same moment re-exploring our colonial and post-colonial histories.

For me, it is already among the most art historically and culturally well-informed multimedia works that I have encountered.

I have no doubt that it will stand among the most visually and conceptually sophisticated artworks of its time.

– Chris Saines Director of Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art

And, it was this, the time factor that got my attention. This artwork took her six years to make.

It reminded me of the novel I am reading now, 1Q84, and the incredible layers that are very slowly being unwound. Each new revelation bringing wonder and more questions. It is a complex and remarkable work.

While I don’t know how long it took Murakami to write his novel. I know his writing career spans decades, and while it took Lisa six years to make this work, behind this work is a long career of making art.

This got me thinking about that very act of spending every day making art or writing. Spending years on one image or one novel and the result.

It is a timely reminder that rushing to the finish line is not necessarily a good thing. Taking time on a story could also help me reveal a lot more. I could start unravelling layers and exploring ideas that I am not even aware of just now.

It’s that old moral from the Hare and the Tortoise – slow and steady wins the race.

2 thoughts on “Six years in the making

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