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The 18th Biennale of Sydney: All Our Relations

Jul 5, 2012  ·  2 min read

By Andrew Frost

 

All Biennale’s are based on a big curatorial idea. Under the watch of an appointed curator [or curators] a Biennale lassos together the disparate practices of international contemporary art and, by the particular artists that get selected, the Biennale becomes much more than just an art exhibition: it becomes a big, bold and conceptually rigorous proposition about the state of the planet itself. Well, that’s the idea, anyhow.

The curatorial duo of Catherine de Zegher and Gerald McMaster are the brains trust behind 2012’s Biennale of Sydney [BOS18] and their exhibition All Our Relations presents art that eschews what they call “the fetishisation of the art object” but instead establishes relationships between audiences and artists in real and meaningful ways [and thus the title of BOS18]. “We are moving on from a century in which the radical in the arts largely adopted principles of separation, negativity and disruption as strategies of change,” write the curators. “BOS18 focuses on inclusionary practices of generative thinking, such as collaboration, conversation and compassion, in the face of coercion and destruction.”

Across five venues All Our Relations is broken into sub-groupings. At the Art Gallery of NSW visitors will find In Finite Blue Planet while at the Museum of Contemporary Art there’s Possible Compositions. Over on Cockatoo Island Stories Senses and Spheres sprawls through the buildings, grounds and tunnels. Bereft of subtitles but also on the menu are exhibitions and performances at Walsh Bay’s Pier 2/3 and Carriageworks.  Does it all work? Is it a meaningful experience as promised, or is it just a big group hug? Starting this week, we cover the major venues and in coming weeks we’ll pay a visit to the Art Gallery of NSW, Carriageworks and Pier 2/3 at Walsh Bay, and crunch down on the conceptual granola. Namaste.

Pic: Tiffany Singh, Knock On The Sky Listen To The Sound, 2011. Bamboo wind chimes and mixed media, dimensions variable. Installation view of the 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012) at Cockatoo Island. Courtesy the artist.


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