"Living Chasm" (2012) Courtesy of the artist
"Air and Inner" (1996–2012) Courtesy the artist and Galerie Nadja Vilenne, Liège
"Do You Remember When" (2009) Arizona State University Art Museum
"Knock On The Sky Listen To The Sound" (2012) Courtesy of Alex Vitlin
"Knock On The Sky Listen To The Sound" (2012) Courtesy of the artist and China Art Projects, Beijing
"Mespat" (2001) Courtesy of the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, Washington
"Collection of Small Artefacts" (2010) Courtesy of the artist
All Articles
All Articles
CULTURE

The 18th Biennale of Sydney

Contemporary art takes over the Harbor City

by CH Contributor
on 11 July 2012

by Alex Vitlin

Sydney-Biennale-1.jpg

Since 1973 the Biennale of Sydney has presented an exciting three-month program of contemporary visual arts throughout the city. This year's 18th Biennale of Sydney is built around the theme, "All Our Relations," a deliberately rich phrase—does it refer to family? Diplomacy? Proximity of concept?

The Biennale runs through three main venues—the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Gallery of NSW, and Cockatoo Island, as well as at satellite sites in the inner city. More than 100 works are on show, curated by co-artistic directors Gerald McMaster and Catherine de Zegher.

BOS18-Fujiko.jpg

More than 50 works have been installed on Cockatoo Island, a former naval yard, and the artists exhibiting on the island have consciously made use of the leftover buildings and equipment. Fujiko Nakaya's "Living Chasm" fills the space between a former turbine hall and cliff face with fog, creating a 150-foot-high misted abyss.

Sydney-Biennale-2.jpg

Tiffany Singh's work is almost inaudible behind a wall, but stepping through a low opening reveals 1,000 wind chimes playing to the changing character of the wind at the island's westernmost tip.

Sydney-Biennale-Mespat.jpg

NYC-based artist Alan Michelson finds a tangible correspondence between the mire of Newtown Creek, located between Brooklyn and Queens, and the forlorn industrial majesty of Cockatoo Island in "Mespat." Housed in an abandoned crane house,the work comprises a video projected onto stained-white turkey feathers.

Sydney-Biennale-Iris.jpg

Other works are installed in early settlement convict buildings, painted onto the launching slips of the island, and Iris Häussler works within an old residence that still holds the bizarre beeswax sculpting of a wayward city ranger who worked on the island.

Do-You-Remember-When.jpg

Off the island, Postcommodity has installed their work "Do You Remember When" in the Art Gallery of NSW. Previously installed at ASU's Ceramic Art Research Center, the work cuts out a slab of the Art Gallery of NSW's 1874 marble floor to reveal the earth below. Especially in Sydney, where British settlement first occurred in Australia, it is a poignant consideration of the touch points between indigenous Australian and later cultures.

Sydney-Biennale-Tiffany.jpg Sydney-Biennale-HonoredO.jpg

In the former working wharves of Pier 2/3, Tiffany Singh presents more wind chimes, in this case to be taken home, painted and returned to the island. Further into the space Honore d'O's paper forms fill the old wooden space with an organic continuity.

The 18th Biennale of Sydney runs until 16 September 2012. Free ferries to Cockatoo Island run 10am-6pm every day.

Please see the slideshow for photo credit information.

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem
Loading More...