Visitors to Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) will cross a vast riverbed landscape created from more than 100 tonnes of rock when the major themed exhibition Water opens from 7 December.

Water will feature more than 40 works by international and Australian artists. “It will examine the significance of one of life’s most vital elements,” Minister Leeanne Enoch said. “The artworks featured in Water will connect with many environmental and social challenges faced by the world today.”

Director Chris Saines said internationally acclaimed artist Olafur Eliasson created an ambitious work, Riverbed 2014 that would transform the ground floor gallery spaces. “Evoking a post-apocalyptic landscape, the installation has to be seen to be believed. It’s being presented for the first time in the Southern Hemisphere at GOMA, previously being shown at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark,”

The curator of the exhibition Geraldine Kirrihi Barlow said “Water features a major interactive sculpture titled The Fact of Matter by choreographer and artist William Forsythe,” Barlow said. “As we seek new ways to navigate rising tide lines, Forsythe’s installation asks visitors to consider the weight and strength of their body as they lift themselves above the ground to traverse the space on suspended gymnastic rings.”

Also featured is Cai Guo-Qiang’s memorable installation Heritage. Inspired by the lakes of Queensland’s Stradbroke Island, the work will appear in a new arrangement of more than 40 life-size animals drinking around a waterhole.

Minister Kate Jones said Water is a must-see exhibition for anyone travelling to Queensland this summer. “This exhibition is a one-of-a-kind cultural experience that will demonstrate exactly why we are investing in unique events for Queensland,” Jones said.

Water is exclusive to Queensland and will be accompanied by an Up Late program, artist talks, panel discussions and more.

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