Biennale of Sydney, MCA

I’ve just returned from my lunch break. Despite deliberately trying to avoid previewing the 18th Biennale of Sydney exhibition at the MCA (I have plans to see it later this week with a friend), I ended up walking through the museum, and then into the exhibition.

I thought perhaps I could provide my avid readers (!) with some quick insights into one of Australia’s biggest art events. I was clearly not the only one. While at the Venice Biennale I first noted with disdain the growing trend of experiencing art second hand – through cameras and videos. No longer are art lovers content to browse art at their leisure, savouring the object and text at that moment in time. Contemporary art lovers rush through exhibitions, photograph everything, including wall texts, without actually stopping to contemplate the image. They record but don’t absorb. [My excuse is that rushed for time and I wanted photos for this post!]

Could this be the fault of information overload, made possible by the internet, smart phones, wifi etc? Or perhaps growing resources for the arts? The Biennale of Sydney is spread over several locations: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Museum of Contemporary Art, Pier 2/3, Cockatoo Island, Carriageworks – not to mention events at City Recital Hall, Kings Cross Hotel, White Rabbit Gallery, and University of Sydney! There are more than 100 artists from over 40 countries. The extended exhibition period (27 June – 16 September) allows viewers time to experience the Biennale at their leisure, but I did feel (as I have at previous Biennales) a sense of anxiety about missing out on the significance of each piece.

Titled all our relations, the Biennale attempts to integrate artists from around the world, demonstrating a shift from the Rich White Male approach to art. At the MCA there were artists (unknown to me) from Thailand, South Korea, South Africa, Ghana, Indigenous Australia, India. The list goes on. Perhaps this also contributes to the information overload- each artwork is by a different artist, from a different country, with a different culture and different story to tell. Typical of all Biennales, the 18th Biennale of Sydney is overflowing with exciting, interactive artworks, providing insights into the lives of ‘all our relations’.

Now for the highlights of my rushed encounter.

Alwar Balasubramaniam, Nothing From My Hands, 2011.

Hard to describe… These sculptures created the effect of someone trying to escape through the wall. Created an extension of the wall and questioned the notion of the ‘art object’.

David Aspden, Zahir, 1971.

El Anatsui, Anonymous Creature, 2009.

Liang Quan, Ancestor’s Sea, 2010. Image courtesy of BOS website.

Yeesookyung, Translated Vase-the-Moon, 2012
More on Biennale of Sydney, Cockatoo Island here

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5 Responses to Biennale of Sydney, MCA

  1. Thanks for reminding me that this is on, I gotta remember to go and see it before it ends in Sept! V cool! 😉

  2. lizjfox says:

    Thanks for visiting my site. I look forward to seeing more of your blog.

  3. foxpudding says:

    You are right that people seem more interested in taking pictures than in actually looking at the exhibit. I wonder if this is so very different from the days when art students sat sketching from the work. Many modern museums are uncomfortable places to sit and sketch, and some have areas in which drawing materials are banned outright for fear of vandalism. I try to tell myself these snappers and filmers are making sure they can get the images home where they can study them and work on them in peace and comfort. I’m not sure I can find an excuse for the ones who insist on taking pictures of their food. Nice blog.

    • juice weleen says:

      thanks!
      yes i hope that people are taking the pictures so they can go home and study them, but i fear in this age of instant gratification, mass consumption of images etc, they are just collecting them out of habit. memories are passe.

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