By Libby Gandhi.
The 21st Biennale of Sydney opens to the public today. Encompassing art discussion panels, dedicated exhibitions, and a major event on Cockatoo Island, the event will run across Sydney from 16th March – 11th June.
It is an unmissable treat for art lovers.
The 2018 Biennale brings together 69 artists from 6 continents. Asian artists make up 40% of the line up, while 21% are Australian with half of those being Indigenous artists. Drawing on the global mood of social consciousness, selected artists explore the experiences of communities around the world alongside their own personal histories to localize international themes and investigate their political and cultural relevance within Australia.
Ai WeiWei is the most famous name in the lineup. A celebrated Chinese dissident artist, WeiWei’s latest work addresses mass displacement in China and the Middle East. ‘The Law of the Journey’, a 60-meter-long inflatable, black-rubber lifeboat packed with faceless figures, is housed on Cockatoo Island in conversation with the artist’s Oscar-nominated film ‘Human Flow’.
WeiWei also participated in a sold-out keynote discussion last night with the Biennale Artistic Director, Mami Kataoka.
The theme for the 21st Biennale is ‘SUPERPOSITION: Equilibrium & Engagement’. Drawing on a quantum mechanical term, the theme encourages participants to explore the engagement and equilibrium of dualistic situations such as different climates and cultures, and conceptions of Mother Earth alongside interpretations of land ownership.
Artistic Director, Mami Kataoka, commented: “Taking Sydney in 2018 as a starting point, the 21st Biennale of Sydney SUPERPOSITION: Equilibrium & Engagement promises to be a creative and critical experience for observing the world. The artists in the 21st Biennale of Sydney have been chosen to offer a panoramic view of how opposing interpretations can come together in a state of equilibrium. My hope is that the artworks in this Biennale will serve as a catalyst for thought for all of us.”
7 of Sydney’s most respected galleries, museum and exhibition spaces are hosting the event. These include the Art Gallery of NSW, Artspace, Carriageworks, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, the Sydney Opera House and the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.
Cockatoo Island is the largest participating destination, playing host to 20 artists specifically exploring migration and participation. There are a number of large-scale installation pieces on display including ‘Law of the Journey’ and ‘Icarus Container’ by Japan’s Yukinori Yanagi, an immersive maze-like artwork created with shipping containers that uses mirrors to reflect the light of the sun. Australian-Lebanese artist Khaled Sabsabi presents ‘Bring the Silence’, a five-channel audio visual installation that examines sacred Sufi burial customs, while Melbourne’s Nicholas Mangan scrutinizes the complex dynamic between human action and the state of nature.
The 21st Biennale of Sydney runs until 11th June. More information can be found here.