21st Sydney Biennale announces title and artists

The longest-running Biennale of the Asia-Pacific region announces its title and 16 additional artists participating in its 2018 edition.

With the likes of Maria Taniguchi, Su-Mei Tse and Samson Young participating in the 21st Biennale of Sydney, Art Radar takes a quick look at the latest edition of Asia-Pacific’s most established art event.

Chen Shaoxiong, 'The Views', 2016, four-channel video installation. Image Courtesy Pékin Fine Arts, Beijing and the Chen Shaoxiong Estate

Chen Shaoxiong, ‘The Views’, 2016, four-channel video installation. Image courtesy Pékin Fine Arts, Beijing and the Chen Shaoxiong Estate.

Speaking from the Australian Embassy in Tokyo on 19 July 2017, Artistic Director of the 21st Biennale of Sydney Mami Kataoka unveiled the title of its 2018 edition as “Superposition: Art of Equilibrium and Engagement”. In addition, Kataoka revealed 16 more artists in the Biennale’s line up, bringing the total number of announced artists to 37.

Elaborating on the choice of “Superposition” as the main theme of the Biennale of Sydney, Kataoka notes

We are surrounded by conflicting ideas across all levels of humanity: different cultures; readings of nature and the universe; political ideologies and systems of government; interpretations of human history, including the history of art and definitions of contemporary art.

Based on the principle of the same name founded in quantum mechanics, “Superposition” functions as a metaphor for some of the key themes that the Biennale hopes to explore in its 2018 edition. Traditionally used to refer to the ability of electrons to occupy multiple states at once, as well as their ability to simultaneously take opposing paths yet end up in different positions, its use as the title of the Biennale, according to Kataoka, aims to “link the notions of equilibrium and engagement and provide us with insights into the world today”.

With an international line-up of artists spanning the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the Americas, the Biennale of Sydney is set to introduce a smorgasbord of contemporary artistic practices and visual languages to its coast. Its recently announced participants include top-tier artists such as Su-Mei Tse (b. 1973, Luxembourg), a Golden Lion recipient who achieved the top Venice Biennale honour in 2003 for her country’s pavilion. Tse will present her video work Gewisse Rahmenbedingungen 3 (A Certain Frame Work 3), which was filmed in front of three well-known historical monuments in Europe: the Altes Museum in Berlin, Villa Farnesina in Rome and Villa Adriana in Tivoli.

Su-Mei Tse, 'Gewisse Rahmenbedingungen 3 (A Certain Frame Work 3)', 2017, video installation, three rear projections (4:27 mins, looped; 3:50 mins, looped; 3 mins, looped). Image courtesy the artist; Ad Gallery, Athens; and Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong. Photograph: Jean-Lou Majerus

Su-Mei Tse, ‘Gewisse Rahmenbedingungen 3 (A Certain Frame Work 3)’, 2017, video installation, three rear projections (4:27 mins, looped; 3:50 mins, looped; 3 mins, looped). Photo: Jean-Lou Majerus. Image courtesy the artist; Ad Gallery, Athens; and Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong.

Speaking about the choice of artists, Kataoka remarks that they were chosen to

…offer a panoramic view of how opposing understandings and interpretations can come together in a state of equilibrium. My hope is that their artworks will serve as a catalyst for thinking about these principles and concerns, and encourage each of us to consider our own position in society as a starting point.

In addition to Su-Mei Tse, other notable artists include Maria Taniguchi (b. 1981, Philippines), winner of the 2015 Hugo Boss Asia Art Award. Known for her imposing brick paintings, sculptures and installations, visitors to the Biennale can expect to be treated to her installation works which explore the combination of colour, form and architectural elements.

Maria Taniguchi, Installation view (2017) of ‘Maria Taniguchi’ at Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo Image courtesy the artist and Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo. Photograph: Kenji Takahashi

Maria Taniguchi, ‘Maria Taniguchi’, 2017, installation view at Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo. Photo: Kenji Takahashi. Image courtesy the artist and Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo.

Another artist of note is Samson Young (b. 1979, Hong Kong), who is currently representing Hong Kong in this year’s edition of the Venice Biennale. The sound artist, who is represented by Edouard Malingue Gallery in Hong Kong, will be presenting one of his newest works, We Are The World As Performed by the Federation of Trade Union Choir (2017), part of his exploration into the cultural and historical circumstances surrounding the phenomena of charity radio singles. Young was also the recipient of the 2015 BMW Art Journey.

Other artists recently announced include Julian Abraham ‘Togar’ (b. 1987, Indonesia), Geng Xue (b. 1983, China), Chen Shaoxiong (b. 1962, China; d. 2016, China), Tanya Goel (b. 1985, India),  Chia-Wei Hsu (b. 1983, Taiwan), Ami Inoue (b. 1991, Japan), Sosa Joseph (b. 1971, India), Prabhavathi Meppayil (b. 1965, India), Tomie Ohtake (b. 1913, Japan;d. 2015, Brazil), Tawatchai Puntusawasdi (b. 1971, Thailand), Sa Sa Art Projects (founded 2010, Cambodia), Svay Sareth (b. 1972, Cambodia), Akira Takayama (b. 1969, Japan).

In addition, the exhibition will also draw on the Biennale’s archives, examining its history in commemoration of its 45th anniversary. First held in 1973, the Biennale of Sydney was originally part of a programme of events celebrating the opening of the Sydney Opera House. The Biennale has since grown to become one of the longest-running exhibitions of its kind, with its focus being on providing international artists with a creative platform. The Biennale has since showcased nearly 1,800 artists from more than a 100 countries, and continues to draw high visitorship rates with a large international audience. The 21st Biennale of Sydney will run from 16 March to 11 June 2018, at multiple venues in Sydney.

Junni Chen

1794

Related topics: Biennales, biennalsevents in Sydney, film, installation, news

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