VAULT EXTRA 3rd MARCH 2022
RĪVUS: THE 23rd BIENNALE OF SYDNEY
The 23rd Biennale of Sydney, the largest contemporary art event of its kind in Australia opens to the public on 12 March continuing until 13, June, 2022. Titled rīvus, which means ‘stream’ in Latin, the concept of the Biennale engages thought, dialogue and questions relating to the agency of aqueous beings such as rivers, wetlands and other salt and freshwater ecosystems. This will be extrapolated and articulated through a series of conceptual wetlands and imagined ecosystems populated by artworks, public programs, experiments, research and activisms, following the currents of meandering tributaries that expand into a delta of interrelated ideas. The Artistic Director of the 23rd Biennale of Sydney, José Roca, has been instrumental in rethinking the relational structure behind its development – rather than rely on a singular vision, Roca has engaged a team of five, including himself, known as The Curatorium, who are together responsible for developing and realising the Biennale’s 23rd iteration. Furthermore, those invited to take part in the Biennale are known as ‘participants’ rather than ‘artists’, to better reflect their diverse talents, skills, practices and modes of being which extend beyond the realm of the visual arts.
The Biennale promises audiences will experience large-scale immersive installations, site specific projects and living works. Free to the public, the Biennale spans across multiple sites, namely, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Barangaroo including The Cutaway, Circular Quay, Information + Cultural Exchange, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, National Art School in partnership with Artspace, The Rocks and Pier 2/3 at Walsh Bay Arts Precinct. The sites will host works by international participants including Kiki Smith, Marguerite Humeau, Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe, John Gerrard, Jumana Emil Abboud and Ackroyd & Harvey alongside Australian participants such as Badger Bates, Clare Milledge, Julie Gough and D Harding.
In 2021, VAULT sat down with Biennale participants Ackroyd & Harvey, taking the opportunity to survey key works from their 30-year collaborative career, and consider how their enduring engagement with water will play out in rīvus.
Read more about the artists in Harriet Flavel’s article In Focus: Ackroys & Harvey, published in Issue 35: The Environment.
Image credit:Photograph, from left: José Roca, Artistic Director, 23rd Biennale of Sydney; Anna Davis, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia; Paschal Daantos Berry, Head of Learning and Participation, Art Gallery of New South Wales; Talia Linz, Curator, Artspace; Hannah Donnelly, Producer, First Nations Programs, Information + Cultural Exchange (I.C.E.); Barbara Moore, Chief Executive Officer, Biennale of Sydney. Photo: Joshua Morris. Courtesy the Biennale of Sydney
RECLAIMED AT @14
Louise Saxton’s exhibition, RECLAIMED with Gould Creative is a culmination of the past five years of the artist’s work. Saxton transforms found and gifted domestic materials into two and three-dimensional assemblages of various scale, form and subject by meticulously excising ‘gems’ of embroidery and lace, largely from 20th century domestic linens, pinning them upon membranes of translucent tulle and in many cases combining them with other discarded objects from the home. By reclaiming once treasured materials that over time have become redundant, the artist reframes the life-span and potential of materials, often also elevating their conceptual and material quality by applying them to the rendering details of historical paintings – textile fragments replacing pencil and paint.
RECLAIMED does not shy away from grappling with the subject of death. The artist’s mother died in late 2021 and it is apparent that the notion of death existing alongside life is a central theme. RECLAIMED does not present a morbid sense of death, but rather a celebration of the lives, of mostly women, who are no longer living. Works posit that while they may have left us, the transformative capacity of artworks – across material and conceptual reinvention – carry their memory and therefore their life force.
RECLAIMED: Louise Saxton Fabric Works 2017 – 2021 is on show at Gould Creative, @14, Collingwood, until 5 March 2022.
Image credit: Louise Saxton, Lover’s Eye (after Vermeer c.1665), 2018-19, reclaimed needlework, lace-pins, beading pins, cotton-velvet, nylon tulle on archival mount-board, 73 x 102 cm. Courtesy the artist
THIS LANGUAGE THAT IS EVERY STONE AT IMA
This language that is every stone examines the concept of creolisation, an idea brought to prominence by poet and philosopher Édouard Glissant. Glissant defined creolisation as a constant state of cultural transformation, whereby endless local difference emerges from recurrent contact between people – with one another – as well as the natural world. Co-curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Asad Raza, and Kamilaroi artist Warraba Weatherall, This language that is every stone is the fourth iteration in a series of exhibitions conceived by Obrist and Raza that survey Glissant’s life and work. This This language that is every stone feature artists Vernon Ah Kee, Robert Andrew, Daniel Boyd, Megan Cope, Manthia Diawara, Taloi Havini, Koo Jeong A, Sancintya Mohini Simpson, Phuong Ngo, The Otolith Group, Philippe Parreno, Raqs Media Collective, Khaled Sabsabi, Anri Sala, Yhonnie Scarce, Latai Taumoepeau, and Shireen Taweel. Works together examine the tension within the choice between cultural identity and a global homogeneity through the concept of creolisation.
Accompanying the exhibition are a set of extended public programs as well as online resources including videos, a podcast and education kit that engage the exhibition’s curators and artists. Visit the gallery website for more information.
This This language that is every stone continues until 16 April, 2022.
Image credit: Installation view of Daniel Boyd, Untitled (27°27'34.9"S 153°02'12.4"E), 2022, and Sancintya Mohini Simpson, Kāla, 2022 in This language that is every stone, 2022, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane. Photo: Joe Ruckli
KYNETON CONTEMPORARY ART TRIENNIAL
Originally planned for 2021, the Kyneton Contemporary Art Triennial will launch this month, running from 19 to 27 March, 2022. Taking place over nine days, Kyneton Contemporary is set to deliver on its enduring mission of activating an authentic relationship between contemporary art and the social fabric of the community by presenting new context-sensitive works throughout the town so that site, object and viewer are mutually activated. Titled Holding the Circle, the upcoming iteration of Kyneton Contemporary engages themes, practices and curation hinged upon egalitarian exchange and collaboration. The notion of the circle alludes to a capacity for communities to hold space for diverse perspectives and experiences to be shared in a deep and genuine way. The newly commissioned works by 11 artists from around Australia engage a variety of media, while the curatorial premise unifies them – ultimately, inviting viewers to practice deep listening, as well as learn about or share lived experiences in ways that foster conversation and connection. Participating artists include Steven Rhall, Simone Slee, Sara Morawetz, Ravi Avasti, Michael Candy, Katie West, Hanna Tai, Hannah Brontë, Eugenia Lim, Emily Parsons-Lord and Adam Lee. To accompany the artworks, the Triennial has established a live digital program that involves each of the artists in artist take-overs and digital interviews that are accessible via the Kyneton Contemporary website.
Image credit: Installation view, Hannah Tai Passing (All Through Everything), 2021, appliqué on monofilament mesh three flags; 180 x 90 cm (each) at Kyneton Scout Hall, 2021. Photo: Lucy Foster. Courtesy the artist
MELBOURNE DESIGN WEEK
The 6th iteration of Melbourne Design Week is on the horizon, taking place from 16 to 20 March, 2022. This year’s theme ‘Design the world you want’ is also supported by two pillars – civic good and making good – that are set to provide a focused exploration of the main theme. ‘Civic good’ encourages participants to think beyond the individual to serve the common interest and ‘making good’ exploring the impact of design beyond its functional or aesthetic impact to look at the social and environmental impact on the planet. The theme informs the dynamic program that includes exhibitions, talks, films, tours and workshops, the biennial Australian Furniture Design Award and a program of design showroom activations that will together transform Melbourne and parts of regional Victoria over 11 days.
New to the NGV’s Melbourne Design Week program is the inaugural Melbourne Design Fair. The Fair is a commercial showcase of limited edition, rare and one-of-a kind collectable design by Australia’s leading emerging and established contemporary designers and designer-makers. An initiative of the National Gallery of Victoria in collaboration with the Melbourne Art Foundation, the Fair breaks new ground in the presentation, promotion and sale of collectible contemporary design in Australia and will offer audiences a unique cultural experience with all the design works presented available for purchase. Tickets for the Fair are now on sale. You can register here
Melbourne Design Week’s full program is accessible here.
Image credit: Rive Roshan, Sand In Motion, 2021. Photo: Design & Practice. Courtesy Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert
EUCALYPTUSDOM AT THE POWERHOUSE MUSEUM
Eucalyptusdom presents objects from the Powerhouse Collection at the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences to explore Australia’s iconic hardwoods. Taking its title from a 1930s text by Edward F. Swain, one of Australia’s earliest conservationists, the exhibition aptly reckons with Australia’s cultural history as seen through the lens of the gum tree. It explores the relationship between eucalypts and Indigenous Australians, their significance in the early Federation arts and crafts movement, and the continued human impact on the eucalypt today. Eucalyptusdom includes over 400 objects from the Powerhouse Collections and 17 newly commissioned works by artists such as Nicole Barakat and the Rohingya Women’s Development Organisation, Dean Cross, Julie Gough, First Nations Fashion and Design, Ashley Hay, Vera Hong, Jonathan Jones and Dr Uncle Stan Grant Snr AM. Works are presented in a specially designed format created in collaboration with Australian architect Richard Leplastrier AO, SJB architects, Jack Gillmer and Adam Haddow, and Vania Contreras, with lighting design by Nick Schlieper and accompanying soundscape composed by Jane Sheldon. Eucalyptusdom is at the Powerhouse until 28 August, 2022.
Image credit: Timber Courts at the Technological Museum Sydney in the late nineteenth century. When the Museum opened in 1893, the whole first floor was given over to the vegetable kingdom. Subjects included timber, food, drugs, oil and many others. Courtesy the Powerhouse Museum
RETURNING: CHAPTER 2
Specially commissioned by the Sydney Opera House, Returning is an innovative and thought-provoking digital series that responds to the collective moment in time, in a world that seems perpetually in crisis, to offer succinct meditations on events, experiences and propositions. Following on from Returning: Chapter 1 released exclusively on Stream in 2021, Returning: Chapter 2 builds upon this meditative digital contemporary art project, this time featuring works by four Australian and Taiwanese artists grappling with day-to-day to the shifts in politics, and the existential in between. Returning: Chapter 2 is co-curated with Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab (C-LAB) and supported by the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan. Artists include Angela Goh, Amrita Hepi, Su Yu Hsin, Charwei Tsai and Riverbed Theatre.
Although each commission is distinct, they are unified by their invitation to take time to appreciate their responses to the project’s muses of the body, music, the Opera House and the virtual. At a glance, Su Yu Hsin and Angela Goh’s work Tidal Variations uses the lenses of technology, ecofeminism and the body, to reimagine the House as a speculative data centre drifting upon water where undersea cables converge. Through language, sound, animation, dance and archival footage, their commissioned artwork weaves together a layered portrait of space, time and the virtual. Charwei Tsai’s video titled, Numbers is filmed across Australian natural environments and the Sydney Opera House, evoking a black and white meditation on trauma, grief and discord. Collaborating with musician Stephen O’Malley, Tsai’s soundtrack features five local Opera Singers, each commissioned to sing numbers significant to each artist, recounting days of separation, to ages of loved ones, to rising death tolls. The Riverbed Theatre Company’s The Weight of Things is imagined as a Surrealist dreamscape that transports audiences into the world of suspended belief through a series of striking scenes. Threaded together with a dramatic score, evocative cinematography and suggestive narrative, The Weight of Things stirs deep contemplation and reflection about our current moment. Finally, The Anguilla Pursuit takes inspiration from migration of the freshwater eels, Anguilla Anguilla, who travel over 2,000km from New Caledonia to freshwaters of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney at the age of forty. In this work, Hepi personifies their journey home in a spirited work that traces the artist’s journey through the Sydney Opera House and into the waters that surround the House. Through metaphor and allusion, Hepi’s work explores the physical and psychological dimensions of the journeys we undertake to belong.
You can access the collection of works as they are intended to be viewed, online via Stream.
Access the platform here.
Image credit: Amrita Hepi, The Anguilla Pursuit, 2022, video. Courtesy the artist