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‘Plastic bags’ 2001–08 | Pascale Marthine Tayou

Pascale Marthine Tayou’s drawings, sculptures, installations, videos and performances address issues of cultural and national identity and borders in an age of global tourism, drawing on his own experiences of frequent travel. Tayou often works with found materials, objects and images emblematic of people’s itinerancy and circulation around the world, such as train and bus tickets, flags and postcards.


The recycling and re-purposing of materials is a strategy for several artists in the ‘21st Century: Art in the First Decade’ exhibition who comment on issues of the global circulation of goods, consumption and waste. Made from thousands of plastic shopping bags, Tayou’s monolithic assemblage ‘Plastic bags’ 2001–08 is an ominous spectacle of consumerism that hangs from the ceiling, as if threatening to spill its junk on the gallery floor. Tayou has compared the plastic bags to people, describing them as both ‘useful and dangerous’, emphasising the underlying contradictions of a world saturated with commodities.


Pascale Marthine Tayou | Cameroon b.1967 | ‘Plastic bag’s 2001–10 | Plastic bags | 600 x 600 x 600cm (variable) | Commissioned for ‘21st Century: Art in the First Decade’ | Courtesy: The artist and Galeria Continua, San Gimignano, Beijing, Le Moulin


‘21st Century: Art in the First Decade’ is at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), Brisbane, Queensland, Australia from 18 December 2010 – 26 April 2011 | Photography: Natasha Harth | © QAG|GoMA 2010


This major exhibition project will occupy the entire GoMA building and focus exclusively on works created and acquired between 2000 and 2010. It will draw on the Gallery’s extensive contemporary collections and also feature outstanding new commissions and a select group of loans from Australian and international lenders. The exhibition will be broad in its geographic and generational scope including over 200 works by more than 140 artists from over 40 countries.


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Taken on December 9, 2010