rivane neuenschwander- 21st century, art in the first decade- queensland art gallery, brisbane

18 December 2010
Rivane Neuenschwander's unique and multifaceted practice reflects on language, the natural world and the passing of time. In I wish your wish 2003, hundreds of coloured ribbons printed with wishes, submitted to the artist from visitors to previous exhibitions, hang from a gallery wall. Visitors are invited to select a ribbon, tie it to their wrist and leave a new wish in return. According to a Brazilian tradition, the wish will come true when the ribbon eventually becomes undone and falls away.

Neuenschwander's Mapa-mundi BR (postal) 2007 and Contingent 2008 both present maps of the world. In the latter, the map is rendered in honey, which, over the approximately 10-minute course of the work, is made visible and then slowly consumed by a swarm of ants. The continents of honey are gradually eroded and deformed; the masses become fragmented islands. Recognising that geographies are contingent on the rate of consumption is particularly resonant at a time when the globalisation of industry and climate change has brought to the fore issues of responsibility to the environment and to finite resources.

Mapa-mundi BR (postal) 2007 draws on the artist's interest in language and the legacies of conceptual art traditions. The work's serial presentation and the artist's use of the international mail network to disseminate the work also links to a ‘proto-globalism', which characterised the mail-art networks of Fluxus art in the 1960s and 1970s.