Highlights of the Sydney Biennale
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Highlights of the Sydney Biennale

1. Marco Fusinato's​ sound installation Constellations, 2015/2018 invites visitors to pick up a baseball bat and bash what looks like a plain white gallery wall. Inside the Carriageworks' installation are 16 microphones connected to a concert size amplifier that will send 120 decibels reverberating through the space. One strike only per visitor.

2. Ai Weiwei's​ Law of the Journey, 2017, at Cockatoo Island is an imposing installation featuring a 60-metre-long boat crowded with hundreds of anonymous refugees. Both the boat and the figures are inflatable, made from black rubber and fabricated in China in a factory that also manufactures the vessels used by refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

Ai Wei Wei's Law of the Journey.

Ai Wei Wei's Law of the Journey.

Photo: Supplied

3. At the Museum of Contemporary Art, Liza Lou's The Clouds, 2015-18, comprises a panoramic grid of 600 cloths, each hand-woven with glass beads, created in collaboration with a studio team of Zulu artisans.

4. Sydney ceramicist Yasmin Smith will create a forest of ceramic tree branches in a former timber-drying shed on Cockatoo Island, necessitating the operation of a studio with a kiln and its own salt farm.​

6. Inspired by an ancient form of Japanese theatre, Japanese filmmaker Akira Takayama invited Sydneysiders to sing songs to their ancestors at a Sydney Town Hall event in January. The result is The Sydney Kabuki Project, to be screened at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Haymarket.

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7. At Cockatoo Island Ryan Gander's newly commissioned Other Places, 2018 features two rooms, the larger of which contains a snow-covered streetscape, recollecting the artist's childhood in an English housing estate with a wall and a video twist in the middle.

8. In Samson Young's newest video work showcased at the Art Gallery of NSW the Flora Sinfonie Orchester​ in Cologne performs Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony without projecting a single musical note. Instead, video shows the sounds produced by the physical actions of performance – the musicians' focused breath, the turning of pages, or the clicking of the instruments' keys.

9. At Artspace Tiffany Chung's​ large-scale embroidered textile maps the escape routes and migration trajectories of Vietnamese refugees 1975-1996, alongside a series of watercolour paintings featuring scenes of layered archival photographs.

10. Abraham Cruzvillegas' sculptures, Reconstruction I: The Five Enemies, 2018, and Reconstruction II: The Five Enemies, 2018, have been improvised from discarded objects and building materials left over from events and restoration projects on Cockatoo Island and are inspired by the writings of Chinese philosopher and Taoist sage Chuang Tzu.

Linda Morris is an arts and books writer for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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