Biennale of Sydney imagines new worlds

From 21 March with the opening of the 19th Biennale: You Imagine what you Desire, Sydney will become a playground of ‘happy anarchy’, creative activity and immersive environments. This is art freed from imitation, a conjuring force for imagining new worlds.

So immersive natural landscapes abound. At Cockatoo Island’s Turbine Hall, Eva Koch projects the towering, life-sized slow-motion Icelandic waterfall Gljufrabui accompanied by the roaring soundtrack of plummeting water. Also on Cockatoo, Danish duo ‘Randi and Katrine’ have built a large-scale wooden village that mimics faces and features of humans.

Step into Ying Mei Duan’s dream-like forest at the Art Gallery of NSW with Yingmei Duan, Happy Yingmei. Sounds of wind and water dripping resonate from within the forest glade. Be part of this ongoing performance and sound installation–receive one of the artist’s hand written wishes and dream with Yingmei.

Prepare to be overwhelmed, amused, titillated and enthused when you explore imagined new worlds.

Or perhaps you fancy Mercy Garden Retour Skin by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist’s showing at the Museum Contemporary Art. Lose yourself in four-walls of sensual pleasure created from colour and light, a video aquarium, inspired by alpine and village life.

The Biennale title gets the big treatment from Scottish artist Nathan Coley. George Bernard Shaw coined the phrases “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.” in his The Serpent in Back to Methuselah (1921). Coley underscores their relevance by writing the three phrases in lights on the facades of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of NSW, and on the Eastern ‘Apron’ of Cockatoo Island.

Carriageworks, chooses to affect time as well as space with its Biennale experiences. Gabriel Lester has created a new, large-scale, site-specific installation, Where Spirits Dwell (2014). His work explores film and theatre language by ‘freeze-framing’ a mood-setting moment from cinematic language. Curtains billow, light is transfixed and the passage of time appears to be suspended.

Curator Juliana Engberg has stated categorically she wants a Biennale that all of Sydney can enjoy. If you’ve always found contemporary art inaccessible, this Biennale promises to connect intellectually and emotionally. Prepare to be overwhelmed, amused, titillated and enthused when you explore expanded new worlds.

Biennale have kindly put together time specific trails to navigate through the city experiences:

Time Out has produced an art novice’s guide to the Biennale, suggesting highlights and how to “talk arty” at each installation:

Along with Henna-Riikka Halonen’s three video works and the 59 bronze birds inhabiting the visual arts centre floor, Artspace is running a range of public programs including Q and A with Creative Director, Juliana Engberg:

Access Carriageworks program here:

Find MCA’s Biennale program here:

Find Art Gallery of NSW’s program here:

Previous PostCaring collections: Westmead Hospital art collection
Next PostThe best of Broken Hill