Artistic Director Stephanie Rosenthal unveils a dynamic artist list and sci-fi-inspired exhibition programme.
71 artists will be exhibiting at seven venues, reimagined as “Embassies of Thought”, across the city of Sydney.
The 20th edition of the Biennale of Sydney is set to open on 18 March 2016. Last week, Stephanie Rosenthal, Artistic Director of the Biennale, unveiled an intriguing exhibition concept as well as the initial list of artists selected for the much-anticipated event.
The future is already here
Running until 5 June, the 2016 Biennale is entitled “The Future is Already Here – it’s Just Not Evenly Distributed” – a line taken from science fiction author William Gibson, according to the press release (PDF download). Rosenthal explains the concept thus:
If each era posits its own view of reality, what is ours? One of the key ideas this Biennale explores is how the common distinction between the virtual and the physical has become ever more elusive.
Choice of venue was a central focus for the 2016 Biennale, which extends beyond the Sydney Harbour and Central Business District towards Sydney’s vibrant inner west. Rosenthal adds that:
A focus on ‘in-between spaces’ is key: in terms of our interaction with the digital world, displacement from and occupation of spaces and land, and the interconnections and overlaps between politics and financial power structures.
Embassies of thought
The various exhibition venues are divided into seven “Embassies of Thought”, situated at Cockatoo Island (Embassy of the Real), the Art Gallery of New South Wales (Embassy of Spirits), Carriageworks (Embassy of Disappearance), Artspace Visual Arts Centre (Embassy of Non-Participation), the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (Embassy of Translation), a bookshop (Embassy of Stanislaw Lem) and the former train station Mortuary Station (Embassy of Transition), respectively. Rosenthal comments:
The embassies are […] inspired by the unique locations and individual histories of each venue; they will provide safe spaces for thinking, convening for the three-month duration of the Biennale.
Ben Strout, CEO of the Biennale, says of the Biennale’s unique curatorial choice of venues:
Stephanie’s programme for the 20th edition of the Biennale of Sydney captures the essence of our vision. We’re working with fantastic artists from around the world, exhibiting inside established cultural organisations while also inhabiting new and surprising sites across the city.
Rosenthal adds that the upcoming Biennale adopts an “artist-centric approach”, “exploring the represented artists’ practice in depth by showing several works by many participants”. In addition, site-specific installations will be set up at various locations throughout inner Sydney, including a work by Bo Christian Larsson at Camperdown Memorial Rest Park. Rosenthal says, quoted in the press release:
I’ve also encouraged artists to make works that are site-specific, and around 70 per cent of artists participating in the 20th Biennale of Sydney are presenting new commissions.
According to the press release, performance is also an integral part of this Biennale. Highlights include works by boychild, Boris Charmatz, Neha Choksi, Mette Edvardsen, Agatha Gothe-Snape, Mella Jaarsma, Lee Mingwei, Adam Linder, and Justene Williams with the Sydney Chamber Opera.
Other Asian artists in the list include, among others:
- Xu Zhen and MadeIn Company (China)
- Lee Bul (South Korea)
- Chiharu Shiota (Japan)
- Charles Lim (Singapore)
- Korakrit Arunanondchai (Thailand)
- Dayanita Singh (India)
- Chen Chieh-jen (Taiwan)
- Heman Chong (Malaysia)
- Charwei Tsai (Taiwan / Vietnam)
- 5 Highlights from the Asian Art Biennial 2015 – October 2015 – the 5th Asian Art Biennial at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (NTMoFA) demonstrates how art can also affect social change
- Asian Art as Global Art: new Asia Society Museum Director Tan Boon Hui – interview – September 2015 – Art Radar speaks to new Asia Society Museum Director Tan Boon Hui
- Emerging Vietnamese-Australian artist James Nguyen’s “Exit Strategies” – interview – September 2015 – Art Radar speaks with James Nguyen about his first major solo exhibition at Sydney’s 4A Centre
- 30 printmakers reinforce ties between Australia and Thailand – in pictures – May 2015 – an exhibition in Sydney extends the ongoing dialogue between Australian and Thai contemporary printmakers
- Sand and sea: Charles Lim and Shabbir Hussain Mustafa on the Singapore Pavilion in Venice – interview – May 2015 – artist Charles Lim and Shabbir Hussain Mustafa, curator of the Singapore Pavilion, reveal the intensive research behind the 2015 project
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