By Rachel Ang
By Rachel Ang
Portending to be the most exciting event on Sydney’s cultural calendar this year, performance artist Marina Abramović will be in residence at Kaldor Public Art Projects. This will be the 30th event of an incredible roster of public art projects dating back to 1971, including some of the most interesting artists of our time, previously presenting Christo and Jeanne-Claude (1971), Gilbert and George (1973), Gregor Schneider (2007), Bill Viola (2010) and Thomas Demand (2012).
For this project, Abramović and her team will occupy Pier 2/3, guiding the public through a series of transformative experiences. Located just beneath the Harbour Bridge and adjacent to the Opera House, Walsh Bay Pier will become a gallery venue for 12 days, from June 24 – July 5. In this project, Abramovic proposes to invert the traditional mode of performance art, in which the artist performs and the audience watches. This will build on 512 Hours, performed at Serpentine Galleries in London last year. As the artist describes it, “…in London, the public were actually the ones performing and I just blended in.”
For Sydney-siders, she promises a completely engaged, albeit unpredictable experience: “In Residence, I will be like a conductor in the exhibition space, but it will be the public who will take the physical and emotional journey. We constantly like to be entertained, to get things from outside… My function in this new kind of performance situation is to show you, through the Abramovic Method, what you can do for yourself. I wanted to make this big change because I understood that actually you can’t get any experience by me doing it for you…”
Shaun Gladwell has returned to Sydney for a major exhibition, spread across the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation and UNSW Galleries (formerly COFA), on now until April 25. SCAF will be hosting The Lacrima Chair, a new installation work inspired by the act of crying on planes. It comprises projected video works, and an airplane chair installed underneath a mini shower, calling on the strange semi-private, yet shared space of an in-transit plane seat. As the artist explains: “This, for me, is really interesting – when people give themselves permission to cry or do something really intimate on a plane, when they’re fully surrounded by other people. Sometimes it’s because you’re leaving your family or going to see your family, or perhaps it’s the altitude, or some people drink too much – and you give yourself permission to cry, perhaps at a rom-com or a tragic film. It’s a very beautiful thing – I don’t think we do it enough in society; there’s this face that we put on.”
At UNSW Galleries in Paddington is Collection+, a mid-career survey of more than 40 works spanning Gladwell’s career and practice. This will include everything from paintings made during his time as one of Australia’s Official War Artists in Afghanistan, to his recent multi-channel video installations.
This month, and on show until April 25, David Noonan presents a new series of silk-screen linen collages at Roslyn Oxley Gallery in Paddington. Noonan brings his interest in composition and layering of images to this sensitive new body of work, which borrows from the tradition of Japanese theatre and Furoshiki textiles, to engage in ideas of self-projection, performance and construction of identity. I’ve been a fan of Noonan’s work for a long time, and these works are some of this best – delicate but powerful, creating haunting illusions replete with echoes of complex histories and traditions.
The second exhibition installment of MASS GROUP INCIDENT, a major five-month multi-stage project by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Tell Me My Truth brings together artists from Australia, Asia and further afield to form a provocative, political and pertinent show addressing the status quo, and the often contentious relationships of the individual and the group.
In this exhibition, artists Simon Fujiwara, Helen Grace, Amala Groom, Fx Harsono, He Xiang Yu, James Newitt, Tony Schwensen and John Von Sturmer ask what we are to make of personal responsibility, privacy and truth, in the contemporary, surveillance age. It’s on until May 16.
Opening with what is certain to be a spectacular event on May 22, Vivid Sydney is a described as a unique festival of “light, music and ideas.” For 18 days each year, Sydney puts on her brightest lights and most glorious garb, hosting daily light installations across the landmarks such as the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, Museum of Sydney, University of Sydney and Martin Place, as well as specially designed temporary pavilions in the Rocks, Campbell’s Cove, and Circular Quay – to name a few! Plus performances from international and local musicians including young man of the moment, Flume. Beyond the fun and games, there is a serious line up of speakers, making up the ‘ideas’ angle of the Vivid triangle – including graphic designer and icon, Stefan Sagmeister, television producer, writer and all-round wizard, Matthew Weiner, and Archibald Prize winner, Ben Quilty. Phew! This year the festival sprawls across 13 districts – to catch the best sights and sounds, plan accordingly.
Coming up 10-13 September is Sydney Contemporary, the city’s newest international art fair, held at Carriageworks, the distinctive nineteenth century Eveleigh Rail Yards on Wilson Street. Now in its second edition, the biennial fair will include five days of public programs, including guided tours, educational workshops and guest speakers, designed for both the art novice and serious aficionado. In its 2013 outing, Sydney Contemporary showcased over 80 galleries hailing from 12 countries and four continents, and attracted over 28,000 visitors. This year’s is set to be a huge four days of exciting work from local and international, emerging and established artists.
This July the Art Gallery of New South Wales will exhibit the work of Rosemary Laing, one of the most influential artists of her generation. Laing’s work, Transportation explores her sustained interest in the nature of place and landscape, and the relationship between technology, labour, time and speed, the exhibition will be running from the 11th of July to the 20th of September.
From October 24, the Art Gallery of New South Wales will host The Greats, “the most important collection of European old master paintings ever to be seen in Australia,” a touring exhibition from the National Galleries of Scotland. This is a truly grand tour of the history of Western painting, spanning five centuries from the Renaissance to Impressionism. The exhibition will include 40 paintings and 33 drawings from the likes of Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Veronese, El Greco, Velázquez, Poussin, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Watteau, Constable, Turner, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Ramsay, Raeburn, Sargent, Monet, Degas, Gauguin, Seurat and Cézanne. The best part? You’ve got several months to school yourself in Art History first – it closes on February 8 2016.
Kaldor Public Art Projects, Sydney College of the Arts,
Building 13, Balmain Road, (entry opposite Cecily Street),
Lilyfield NSW 2040, +61 (0)2 93511180
Roslyn Oxley Gallery
8 Soudan Lane, Paddington NSW 2021, Australia, +61 2 9331 1919
4a Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
181-187 Hay Street, Haymarket NSW 2000, Australia, +61 2 9212 0380
T +61 2 9931 1111
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia, +61 2 9225 1700