Australia’s largest contemporary visual arts event started in 1973. The exhibition is held only every two years in leading art venues and public sites, and is renowned for showcasing the freshest and most innovative contemporary art from Australia and around the world.
Last night was the “Opening night” of the 17th Biennale of Sydney, and 1,000 people were invited to Cockatoo Island by ferry to the Gala party.
In the impressive Cockatoo Island Turbine Hall is “Inopportune: Stage One”, a nine-car installation re-enacting a Ford Taurus car somersaulting through the air. Each suspended vehicle represents a moment in time, like stills from a video. Colourful flashing LED lights gave the piece a theatrical tone that added to the experiential element of the work.
Turbine Hall / panorama photos above by Peter Murphy
Bulgari VIP Party
A video work by Cai Guo-Qiang entitled Illusion depicts a car exploding in Times Square, New York.
Contemporary Australian indigenous artist Brook Andrew developed this artwork concept for the Biennale. The 7 metre square inflatable jumping castle is decorated with patterns based on Wiradjuri design, a distinctive feature in Andrew’s extensive body of work. Towering over those who choose to interact with the work, stands a 3 metre tall male figure with arms outstretched.
Born 1970 in Sydney / Lives and works in Melbourne, Australia
In his photographs, screen prints, neon text pieces, videos, sculptures and museum installations, Brook Andrew looks into the causes and effects of the inequalities between Australia’s original inhabitants, and its more recent settlers.
He inserts the culture and motifs of his Wiradjuri heritage into many of his works while incorporating a diversity of references that include the media, politics, popular culture, nationalism, and colonial and anthropological histories.
A contemporary war memorial titled Jumping Castle War Memorial (2010) is a seven-metre-wide ‘bouncy castle’, designed as if it were an attraction for children. But it is presented with a catch: only adults over 16 will be allowed to jump on it.
On closer examination, we see that its plastic enclosed turrets contain skulls that represent those often forgotten peoples who were the victims of genocide worldwide. The diamond black and white pattern references Wiradjuri culture and represents the experience of cultural amnesia and hypnosis.
The question is posed: to jump or not to jump?