Wednesday, 12 September 2012

18th Biennale of Sydney: AGNSW & MCA


18th Biennale of Sydney
Art Gallery of New South Wales & Museum of Contemporary Art: June 27- September 16, 2012

Last Saturday Adam Fulton wrote for The Sydney Morning Herald that the 18th Biennale of Sydney has reached its "biggest attendance in its 39-year history". Last weekend alone attendance reached 550,000 beating the 2010 record of 517,000. With the exhibition closing on Sunday I struggle to think waht I could possibly say about it that hasn't already been said - at least a hundred times. So I figure I'll just highlight some of my personal favourites from the Art Gallery of New South Wales & the Museum of Contemporary Art. (For my thoughts of Cockatoo Island check out this post.) 

Judy Watson, burnt vessels, 2009

Guido van der Werve, Number Acht, everything is going to be alright, 2007
The video work of Guido van der Werve at the AGNSW is fascinating. In 2007 the Dutch artist, along with a small team, travelled to the gulf of Bothnia to film van der Werve walking across the ice followed closely behind by a 3,500 tonne icebreaker - the Sampo. Given this technological age we live in it would be easy to assume that such trickery as green screens and computer manipulation are used to create this work, but that is simply not the case. There must have been some element of danger involved in creating this work but the artists desire for authenticity would not see the integrity of the work compromised. 

It's simple yet complex and strangely mesmerising. Check out the ABC Arts piece for some great behind the scenes images and video.   
Hassan Sharif, 2006

Nipan Oranniwesna, City of Ghost, 2007-12 (detail)
City of Ghost is one of the most astounding works I've seen in a long time. The artist Nipan Oranniwesna works extensively with intricate maps and City of Ghost is an extension of this. A combination of intricately cut-out street maps of real metropolises including Bangkok, Tokyo, London, New York, Paris, Rome, San Francisco and Singapore, the large scale work is constructed entirely from baby powder. Given this unusual medium, the detail is exceptional. For his work at the Biennale of Sydney he has incorporated a map of Sydney into the mix. This work really needs to be seen to be believed. Photographs simply do not do it justice.    
Yuken Teruya, Notice-Forest: Six Jewels, 2010

Yuken Teruya, Notice-Forest: Six Jewels, 2010
The clever use of light in Yuken Teruya's work is what makes the work so stunning. The delicately crafted trees constructed from paper bags elevates the ordinary to extraordinary. As the light filters through it creates an other-worldly quality and the way in which they are displayed, so that you need to almost peek inside, gives the impression of glimpsing into a hidden world. It's like looking for the fairies hiding under toad stools- this is where the little people live.  
Yuken Teruya

Pinaree Sanpitak, Anything Can Break (detail) 2011

Pinaree Sanpitak, Anything Can Break, 2011

Liu Zhuoquan, Two-Headed Snake, 2011

Liu Zhuoquan, Two-Headed Snake, 2011
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