19th Biennale of Sydney
You Imagine What You Desire
21 March – 9 June 2014
Curator: Juliana Engberg
Announcing the list of more than 90 artists from 31 countries, Engberg commented : ‘At its heart, the 19th Biennale of Sydney celebrates the power of artistic imagination. You Imagine What You Desire is an optimistic biennale that presents an exploration of the world and contemporary aesthetic experience through the inventions and desires of well-known artists, as well as many exhibiting in Sydney for the first time.
‘For me artists are active philosophers who seek to engage the audience and viewer in an exploration of our world through metaphor, narrative and poetry. They do this so that we might find inspiration in the sensations and intensities produced by art, and so that we might, temporarily, step aside from our commonplace experiences and feel something uncanny and unusual.’
Some of the artists include: Eglė Budvytytė, Mircea Cantor, Nathan Coley, Hubert Czerepok, Tacita Dean OBE, Yingmei Duan, Douglas Gordon, Henna-Riikka Halonen, Eva Koch, Gabriel Lester, Mathias Poledna, Randi & Katrine, Pipilotti Rist, Ugo Rondinone, and Maxime Rossi. Read more.
Venues across Sydney
In addition to the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA), venues for the 19th Biennale of Sydney include two heritage-listed locations: Carriageworks, a former rail yard; and Cockatoo Island, a former prison and shipyard in Sydney Harbour. The 19th Biennale will also present works at Artspace and include several performative projects in Sydney’s CBD.
Inspired by the exhibition title You Imagine What You Desire, Scottish artist Nathan Coley is creating a new multi-venue work, with artworks installed at Biennale locations across Sydney. Other areas of Sydney’s CBD will be activated with performative works by artists including Lithuanian artist Eglė Budvytytė and Polish artist Hubert Czerepok.
At the MCA, the 19th Biennale of Sydney will be presented across two floors, with artworks drawing on the elements of air and water, as well as the realms of the imaginative and the surreal. The double-height gallery space will feature a site-specific video installation by renowned Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist, commissioned especially for the 19th Biennale. Elsewhere at the MCA, the Biennale will feature Phantom (2011), by acclaimed Scottish artist Douglas Gordon.
A forest built inside the Art Gallery of NSW will be home to Chinese-born, Germany-based performance artist Yingmei Duan throughout the 12-week exhibition. Also at the Gallery, Romanian artist Mircea Cantor will present his work Sic Transit Gloria Mundi (2012), a short film and installation of wall text created with dynamite. The Gallery will feature works that explore the diversity of human, geo-political and cultural behaviour through metaphor, fable and collective endeavours.
Inspired by a sense of ‘happy anarchy,’ Cockatoo Island will feature numerous new site-specific projects, producing an atmosphere of joyful energy. In the Industrial Precinct, Danish artist duo Randi & Katrine will create an anthropomorphised wonderland in the style of a typical Danish village. Inside the cavernous Turbine Hall, Danish artist Eva Koch will present a towering life-size projection of Gljufrabui, the Icelandic waterfall, accompanied by a roaring soundtrack.
In 2014, the Biennale takes over the newly expanded space at Carriageworks, with works that explore the language, materials and narratives of the theatre and film worlds from which contemporary artists take inspiration for reinvention. Artists at Carriageworks include Austrian artist Mathias Poledna; Israeli-born Yael Bartana; and Dutch artist Gabriel Lester. The Biennale of Sydney and Carriageworks will also co-present the world premiere of a new work by celebrated British artist Tacita Dean OBE.
Photo: Gerda Steiner & Jörg Lenzlinger, Souls, 2011 (detail), collage, 27 x 21 cm. Courtesy the artists