Form follows function in innovative QBI artwork

1 Oct 2008

Standing at a height of four storeys, Out of Mind, the contemporary artwork on display in UQ's Queensland Brain Institute (QBI), is certainly not out of sight.

The Fiona Hall creation has been a permanent fixture at QBI since its new premises were completed in November 2007 and was officially launched by Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield on Wednesday, 1 October.

QBI Director Professor Perry Bartlett said it was a tremendous privilege to house this outstanding work by one of Australia's leading contemporary artists.

“Fortunately for us, Fiona was intensely interested in the structure and function of brains of all creatures from insects to humans so she enthusiastically undertook the project,” Professor Bartlett said.

“She has formed strong interactions with many of the scientists at QBI and is currently an artist-in-residence working on a new piece exploring the brains of small insects and non-mammals.

“Everyone who visits the Institute is delighted by the work and the intellectual rigour she brings to the artform.”

The digital graphic design, incorporated into an internal glass wall, can be viewed from the entry foyer to level six.

The central form is composed of a multi-faceted Drosophila (fruit fly) eye containing an MRI scan of the human brain in each of its myriad “windows”.

Director of the UQ Art Museum Nick Mitzevich said UQ was committed to developing a strong cultural presence on campus.

“This project is a positive statement about the value of partnerships between science and art in nurturing awareness and appreciation,” Mr Mitzevich said.

During an “In Conversation” session at QBI, Ms Hall was joined by Ms Louise Dauth, Government Curator of Art+Place at Arts Queensland, and Mr Ted Chen who currently works with Wilson Architects and assisted with digitally producing the image on the atrium glass wall.

Ms Hall has had a “burgeoning interest” interest in natural forms such as those found in birds’ nests, spiders’ webs, bees and, more recently, the fruit fly.

“I feel like ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’,” she said.

According to Ms Hall, any commissioned artist who brings an artwork to completion within an architectural project has to “be the driver” when it comes to overseeing liaison between architects and engineers.

One of the successes of Out of Mind, she said, was that the work does not stand separately or seem out-of-context.

“It’s just there as part of the building,” she said.

Members of the public are welcome to view the artwork by visiting the Queensland Brain Institute, Monday to Friday, during business hours.


For more information, please contact:
QBI Communications Office
Tel: +61 7 3346 6434

Notes to the Editor
The Queensland Brain Institute was formed in 2003 as part of the Queensland Government’s Smart State Initiative, building on a long history of neuroscience at The University of Queensland. QBI is dedicated to understanding the molecular basis of brain function and applying this knowledge to the development of new therapeutics to treat brain and mental health disorders.