Biennale of Sydney artist talks
Artists discuss their work in the 18th Biennale of Sydney
Image: Postcommodity Do You Remember When? 2009 (installation view) site-specific intervention & mixed media installation (cut concrete, exposed earth, light, sound), dimensions variable. Courtesy the artists. Photo: Jason Grubb
Alan Michelson is interested in the way physical space is culturally inscribed and contested, often to dire effect. His processes include installation, video, sound, sculpture, painting, photography and glass, often in combination with charged, indigenous materials such as corn husks, beaver skulls and turkey feathers. Michelson also incorporates obsolete technologies such as moving panoramas, which reflect his interests and his Mohawk and European heritage.
Thursday 28 June 2012 1pm – 1:30pm
Iraqi artist Jananne Al-Ani began to explore the medium of photography after being affected by western media imagery of the Gulf War, which she felt presented the Middle East as an unpopulated place without a past or a future. In her most recent video work, Shadow Sites II (2011), Al-Ani fuses the archaeological technique of searching for shadow sites – traces of ancient civilisations observed in outlines of landscape features visible when the sun is low in the sky – with the military’s use of digital and satellite mapping technology.
Thursday 28 June 2012 1:30pm – 2pm
Sarah Vanagt and Katrien Vermeire
Belgian artists Sarah Vanagt and Katrien Vermiere both work with time-based media and are interested in memory, storytelling and archaeology.
Friday 29 June 2012 1pm – 1:30pm
Having lived through the oppressive Uruguayan military dictatorship of the 1970s and 1980s, artist Ricardo Lanzarini is deeply concerned with the imprint of these events. His drawings represent both historic and autobiographical experiences: insanity taking over the houses, characters standing on chairs trying to avoid the situation, others climbing the chairs to be hanged or using the wardrobes to hide in.
Friday 29 June 2012 1:30pm – 2pm
Judy Watson’s work for this year’s Biennale of Sydney, titled Burnt Vessels, derives from an artist residency on Heron Island, where she spent time examining the burnt remains of scientific instruments found after a fire at the previous University of Queensland Marine Research Station. As she writes, these objects are “delicate, resilient survivors of trauma”.
Saturday 30 June 2012 1pm – 1:30pm
Yun-Fei Ji’s practice evokes classical Chinese paintings with a contemporary twist. Using centuries-old techniques and executed on rice paper in ink and watercolour, Ji’s scrolls unfold to reveal surprising subject matter and unexpected narratives. His work is rich with historical sources, including the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the Boxer Rebellion and the Great Leap Forward.
Saturday 30 June 2012 1:30pm – 2pm
Gao Rong’s works are lifelike reconstructions of everyday domestic items and tableaux. The embroidered items that make up the domestic scenes favoured by Gao are depicted so realistically that they appear at first a literal construction of a real scene.
Saturday 30 June 2012 3pm – 3:30pm
In City of Ghost, artist Nipan Oranniwesna explores the fragility of contemporary society. “Using meticulously cut-out maps of more than ten different cities,” he writes, “I then use baby powder to create a sprawling cityscape that is a combination of all the different cities, reflecting the interconnectedness of our society.” The work makes us think about the way in which we experience a city, from above with a map or below on foot.
Saturday 30 June 2012 3:30pm – 4pm
In American artist Phil Hastings’ recent and ongoing film series, he uses the interaction between man and water as a meditation on the human condition. The films were initially inspired by a number of first-hand experiences, including seeing the joy experienced by his young sons as they played in the lake for the first time, and at the other extreme, the devastating flood that wreaked destruction throughout his neighbourhood. For Hastings, water can be intimate or expansive, life-giving or life-destroying.
Sunday 1 July 2012 1pm – 1:30pm
On his first return to Vietnam, artist Binh Danh observed that the tacit memories of the Vietnam-American war’s devastation were internalised in daily life. As a response, Danh made chlorophyll prints of archival images from the war onto tropical leaves. The works share his sensation that the memory of those people and events will reverberate forever through the country’s landscape.
Sunday 1 July 2012 1:30pm – 2pm
John Wolseley’s art is deeply connected to the landscape. His unique process puts drawing and the landscape into direct contact, which he says is a small attempt to let the earth itself say something.
Sunday 1 July 2012 3pm – 3:30pm
For the 18th Biennale of Sydney, the American artist collective Postcommodity have cut a four foot square hole in the Gallery’s floor, exposing the earth beneath the institution. This installation, Do You Remember When?, highlights the devastating impact of dominant worldviews upon Indigenous lands, communities and cultures. Find out more about this project in an interview with the members of Postcommodity: Raven Chacon, Cristobal Martinez, Kade L Twist, Steven Yazzie and Nathan Young.
Sunday 1 July 2012 3:30pm – 4pm