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  • Hyundai Meets_Biennale of Sydney: Review

    Seeing the Future with the Eyes of Art

“The future is already here - it’s just not evenly distributed.” The 20th Biennale of Sydney opens with the famous remark of William Gibson, an American science fiction writer who created the term, “cyber space.” Chief Curator of London’s Hayward Gallery Stephanie Rosenthal, the Artistic Director of the event, stresses that the Biennale of Sydney is focused on how vague the distinction between imagination and reality is becoming.
Rosenthal sets out her opinion, stating that, while many recent biennales were about the future, she thinks that she needs to think about “now” rather than the future, and talk about what art really does in the situation where so many things change so quickly. She also ensures that the works to be presented at the event help us understand how our lives are changing.

As the Major Partner of the successfully closed 20th Biennale of Sydney- the largest and most captivating festival of contemporary art held in Australia-Hyundai Motor Company supported the realization of this important cultural event. Stephanie Rosenthal, artistic director of the 20th Biennale of Sydney, and artists such as Bharti Kher and Dane Mitchell, talk about the role and meaning of art in today’s world.

- What is the role of art in today’s society?
- How does it contribute to people’s life?
- What does art mean to us?
Hyundai Motor hopes to engage with people and contribute to their lives by delivering meaningful moments through art.

At the 20th Biennale of Sydney

Based on science-fictional components such as the virtual space and the physical space, fiction and reality, and body and mind while being composed of works on various factual issues, this Biennale of Sydney features about 200 pieces of artworks by 83 artists from 35 countries; from Korea, Lee Bul and Lim Minouk participate.
Seven major spaces for exhibitions are titled as “Embassies of Thought,” each of which represents a specific trend of art. Unlike the Venice Biennale, in which exhibitions are held in national pavilions, the Biennale of Sydney categorized the exhibition spaces not according to nationality, race, or cultural background of the artist, but according to the inner thoughts that the artists are trying to express.

Meanwhile, Cockatoo Island, one of the elements that represents the event, had been used as a jail for 30 years since 1839. The island contributed to the economic growth of Sydney after housing power plants and shipyards; for safety reasons, all facilities in the island were completely shut down in 1979 and had been long neglected since. As the Sydney government turned the island into a tourism spot, however, it became to newly focused, and has been used for exhibitions of the Biennale of Sydney since 2008. Since the jail and massive industrial facilities installed in the 1800s remain intact, the viewers can have a unique experience of seeing the modern art in a space where the remains of the past century are kept untouched.

The most topical artist whose artwork is installed at the island is definitely Lee Bul. Lee Bul, who also participated in the MMCA Hyundai Motor Series, filled a hall of about 1,640 square meters with enormous sculptures made with industrial materials. Giving a visual shock with the scale of the structure, the work of Lee Bul embodies endless desire for things that are hard to reach, or cannot be reached at all.

On the other hand, Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota turns the place that used to be a prisoner’s barracks into a surreal space by using a bed and black strings.
Carriageworks, which is another exhibition space, was a space for industries in the 19th century, when immigrants flowed into Sydney to activate the local economy. A fright train passed through the area, and blacksmith workshops sprouted up. The facilities are now changed into a cultural complex; the brick buildings as well as the train tracks and platforms remain undamaged in Carriageworks, where artworks by 23 artists are placed. Camperdown Cemetery, which had been an important graveyard of Sydney from 1848 to 1942 is also filled with modern art pieces.
The 20th Biennale of Sydney, which Hyundai Motor supports as a major partner, has also prepared events in nine different places other than the seven major exhibition spaces under the theme of “In-between Spaces,” which presents the pleasure of travelling through the city and finding artworks. ■ with ARTINPOST

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William Forsythe <Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time, no. 2> 2013

Plumb bobs, string, compressed air cylinders, aluminium frames Installed dimensions variable A co-production of The Forsythe Company and Ruhrtriennale International Festival of the Arts Courtesy the artist Photographer: Ben Symons

Xu Zhen (Produced by MadeIn Company) <Eternity - Longxing Temple Buddha Statue Part Three; Tang Dynasty Buddha Statue; Longxing Temple Buddha Statue Part Five; Northern Qi Amitabha Statue; Vairochana; the Cosmic Buddha; Hebei Northern Qi Dynasty Standing Buddha Torso; Parthenon East Pediment> 2013-14

Glass fibre reinforced concrete, artificial stone, steel, mineral pigments 502.4×93×15.2cm (with plinth) Courtesy the artist. Produced by MadeIn Company. Collection of White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney Photographer: Ben Symons

Lauren Brincat <Salt Lines: Play It As It Sounds> 2015-16

Performance Instruments Sail cloth, Dacron, church bell ropes, brass and wood Courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne Created for the 20th Biennale of Sydney Photographer: Ben Symons

Jamie North <Succession> 2016

Cement, steel, steel slag, coal ash, oyster shell, organic matter, various Australian native plants Dimensions variable Installation view of the 20th Biennale of Sydney (2016) Photograph Leila Joy

Sheila Hicks <The Questioning Column> 2016

Acrylic fibres Installed dimensions variable Courtesy the artist; Alison Jacques Gallery, London; and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York Created for the 20th Biennale of Sydney with assistance from Sunbrella, Glen Raven, Mudita and Atelier Sheila Hicks Photographer: Ben Symons

Photograph Lila joy

Noa Eshkol <The Creation> 1995

Cotton, sisal, polyacrylic, polyester, flannel jersey, corduroy, poplin, cotton lawn 480×480cm Courtesy the Noa Eshkol Foundation for Movement Notation, Holon and Neugerriemschneider Gallery, Berlin Photographer: Ben Symons

Nina Beier <Tileables> 2014

Ceramic tiles Installed dimensions variable Courtesy the artist and Laura Bartlett Gallery, London Production supported by Johnson Tiles and the Danish Arts Foundation Photographer: Ben Symons

Charwei Tsai <Spiral Incense - Hundred Syllable Mantra> 2016

Spiral incense made of herbal materials Dimensions variable Courtesy the artist Created for the 20th Biennale of Sydney Photographer: Ben Symons

Chiharu Shiota <Flowing Water> 2009-2016

Beds, thread Dimensions variable Installation view of the 20th Biennale of Sydney (2016) at Cockatoo Island Courtesy the artist This version was created for the 20th Biennale of Sydney (2016) Photographer: Ben Symons

Keg de Souz <We Built This City> 2016

Tents, tarps, hessian sacks, piping, plaid laundry bags, various found and recycled materials, dialogue, tour program Dimensions variable Courtesy the artist Created for the 20th Biennale of Sydney Photographer: Ben Symons

Korakrit Arunanondchai <Painting with history in a room filled with people with funny names 3> 2015-16

HD video, denim, foam, wood 24:55 mins Performance with boychild presented at Cockatoo Island, 18 March 2016 Courtesy the artist; C L E A R I N G, New York and Brussels; and Carlos/Ishikawa, London Photographer: Ben Symons

Lee Bul <Willing To Be Vulnerable> 2015-16

Heavy-duty fabric, metalised film, transparent film, polyurethane ink, fog machine, LED lighting, electronic wiring Dimensions variable Courtesy the artist Created for the 20th Biennale of Sydney Photographer: Ben Symons

Mella Jaarsma <Dogwalk> 2015-16

Textile, leather, iron, stainless steel, stuffed animals Dimensions variable, 12 costumes, approximately 200×100×100cm each Courtesy the artist and ARNDT Fine Art Created for the 20th Biennale of Sydney Photographer: Ben Symons

Taro Shinoda <Abstraction of Confusion> 2016

Clay, pigment, ochre, tatami mats Dimensions variable Courtesy the artist Created for the 20th Biennale of Sydney Photographer: Ben Symons

Biennale of Sydney 2016

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