Exhibition : Romance was Born and Rebecca Baumann: Reflected Glory

Sydney

On April 9, Sydney-based fashion label Romance Was Born unveiled their first exhibition in collaboration with Perth-based visual artist Rebecca Baumann. Showcasing the fashion duo’s latest collection, this large-scale installation at Carriageworks combine's Baumann’s brilliant use of colour and light with the signature style of Romance Was Born. 

Don't miss them in conversation at Carriageworks this Saturday at 3pm! Bookings are recommended: www.carriageworks.com.au 

News: You Imagine What You Desire : 19th Biennale of Sydney

Sydney

 John Stezaker , Mask XCV, 2010 , collage , 25.4 x 19.7 cm . Courtesy the artist and The Approach, London.

John Stezaker , Mask XCV, 2010 , collage , 25.4 x 19.7 cm . Courtesy the artist and The Approach, London.

An interview with Juliana Engberg, artistic director of this year’s edition of the Sydney Biennale (March 21 – June 9, 2014). 

 LR: The title is taken from a quote by George Bernard Shaw: “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will".

JE: I think this is the fundamental basis of art. Artists imagine what they desire. Depending on the kind of artist, they will either imagine a social principle or idea, or a world they want to see, or they might go to an imaginary place. I don’t believe art should be dry; even something more politically shaped can have elements of poetry in it, elements of seduction. I think when people come across art they actually want to feel something — that something has physically changed in your body. 

 John Stezaker ,  Mask XCV , 2010 , collage , 25.4 x 19.7 cm . Courtesy the artist and The Approach, London.

John Stezaker , Mask XCV, 2010 , collage , 25.4 x 19.7 cm . Courtesy the artist and The Approach, London.

LR: You have said you are a spatial curator. Tell me about your treatment of the venues.

JE: I think of art and space in simultaneous movement. It’s not about going to find art that you like and then retrofitting it to the space. Each of the venues will have a character: the AGNSW is a hunkered down, low and dark space — I feel it has an earth/fire element to it. I am using works that speak more to social politics, an interrelationship between culture as a history and culture as a future. The MCA is a lighter space near the water; especially with the new renovations it now has cleaner lines. It is an air/water space. It goes more to the psychological, surreal, luminal qualities — flightiness and an evocative character that is a little bit intangible. 

 Yael Bartana, inferno, 2013, photo montage, Courtesy the artist. Cockatoo Island. 

Yael Bartana, inferno, 2013, photo montage, Courtesy the artist. Cockatoo Island. 

LR: And what about Cockatoo Island

JE: I want it to be like a happy anarchy. Being a former shipyard, it has this history of labor and hardship. It will be boisterous. It’s so huge that it requires quite a bit of art for it to make sense and for it to be enough of an experience for the audience. But there is only so much you can do — you can’t put precious museum works out there. It’s raw, rough, and the scale can be daunting. I want people to have a real adventure, going out on boat, and to give some narrative around the context of an island — which can be a utopia or a dystopia. I want to use those ready metaphors. 

 David Claerbout,  The Quiet Shore , 2011 , single-channel black and white, silent video projection, 36:32 minutes  Courtesy the artist; Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, London and New York; Yvon Lambert, Paris; and Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Belgium   © David Claerbout 

David Claerbout, The Quiet Shore, 2011 , single-channel black and white, silent video projection, 36:32 minutes Courtesy the artist; Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, London and New York; Yvon Lambert, Paris; and Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Belgium © David Claerbout 

LR: How does your knowledge of the Australian art scene work for you? 

JE: I don’t know if it’s detrimental or not but it does mean it’s slightly easier for me to activate something quickly, especially considering the biennale is now set for March instead of June 2014. I have an intimate knowledge of the venues, partners and sponsors. When curators come from overseas they tend be captivated by the place and want the opportunity to travel to the center and come to grips with indigenous artists, and that’s good, but I think it has been to the detriment of other local contemporary practices in urban areas. It’s a bit sad that some generations of Australian contemporary artists haven’t been present. 

 Douglas Gordon , Phantom, 2011  stage, screen, a black Steinway piano, a burned Steinway piano, one monitor, dimensions variable. Courtesy Studio lost but found and Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris.  Rufus Wainwright, ALL DAYS ARE NIGHTS: SONGS FOR LULU used courtesy Decca Label Group. Photograph: Studio lost but found and Katharina Kiebacker, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn 

Douglas Gordon , Phantom, 2011  stage, screen, a black Steinway piano, a burned Steinway piano, one monitor, dimensions variable. Courtesy Studio lost but found and Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris.  Rufus Wainwright, ALL DAYS ARE NIGHTS: SONGS FOR LULU used courtesy Decca Label Group. Photograph: Studio lost but found and Katharina Kiebacker, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn 

LR: Is there a curator or biennale model that speaks to you? 

JE: It would be Harald Szeemann’s Venice Biennales in 1999 and 2001. I think he was a very generous curator who loved artists and people. He was a romantic at heart, even though some of the work he admired during his career was more conceptual. I think Harald’s approach is similar to my own. 

 Krisztina Erdei ,  Antiglamour series 64 , 2011 , photograph, 50 x 70 cm. Courtesy the artist and Godot Galéria, Budapest

Krisztina Erdei , Antiglamour series 64, 2011 , photograph, 50 x 70 cm. Courtesy the artist and Godot Galéria, Budapest

Juliana Engberg is a curator, writer, publisher and designer, and is currently the Artistic Director of ACCA (Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne). 

Juliana has been travelling the world researching and meeting with artists. You can read her blog about the experience here

The Biennale of Sydney runs from 21 March - 19 June, 2014 at the following locations:

Museum of Contemporary Art

Art Gallery of NSW

Cockatoo Island

Artspace

Carriageworks

Around the City

Exhibition : Erwin Wurm's Crap Head

An exhibition at Anna Schwartz Gallery 

Erwin Wurm (b. 1954) lives and works in Vienna and in Limberg/Lower Austria

Known for his uniquely humorous approach to formalism, Erwin Wurm first attracted attention during the 1990s with his "One-Minute Sculptures". Visitors would themselves become the sculptures by following the artist's written and partly pictorial instructions, taking up absurd poses often involving everyday objects.

In his three-dimensional works he uses wood, styrofoam, resin, paint, ceramics and textiles. Humour permeates, yet his practice is also underpinned by a fierce critique of consumer society and contemporary culture.

The artist’s recent exhibitions include The Artist Who Swallowed the World, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland (2008); Narrow Mist, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2010); Liquid Reality, Kunstmuseum Bonn (2010); Wear Me Out, Middleheimmuseum, Antwerpen, Belgium (2011); Beauty Business, Bass Museum of Art, Miami (2011), Dallas Contemporary, Texas (2012); Am I A House, CAC Malaga, Spain (2012); and Erwin Wurm- Good Boy, Museum of Contemporary Art, Krakow, Poland (2013). In 2011, Erwin Wurm’s “Narrow House” was installed at the Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti as part of Glasstress 2011, a collateral event of the 54th Venice Biennale. 

Crap Head runs at Anna Schwarz Gallery, Carriageworks from 22 February until 17 May 2014.

My work is about the drama of the pettiness of existence, whether one approaches it through philosophy or through a diet. In the end we always draw the short straw
— Erwin Wurm
    Crap Head, 2010 Bronze, gold-plated 63 x 30 x 35 cm

 

Crap Head, 2010
Bronze, gold-plated
63 x 30 x 35 cm

Untitled, 2008
Acrylic, wood, wool
190 x 41 x 28 cm

Jeans pink, 2011
Bronze, paint
155 x 50 x 57 cm

    Untitled (Desperate Philosophers), 2009 Acrylic, cloth, paint 60 x 29 x 14 cm

 

Untitled (Desperate Philosophers), 2009
Acrylic, cloth, paint
60 x 29 x 14 cm

    Jogging trouser, 2011 Aluminium, paint 105 x 74 x 40 cm

 

Jogging trouser, 2011
Aluminium, paint
105 x 74 x 40 cm

Exhibition : Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth

QAGOMA, Brisbane

 Heritage, 2013. 99 life-sized replicas of animals, water, sand, drip mechanism. Dimensions variable. Photo: Lucy Rees 

Heritage, 2013. 99 life-sized replicas of animals, water, sand, drip mechanism. Dimensions variable. Photo: Lucy Rees 

 Installation view of the exhibition. Photo: Lucy Rees

Installation view of the exhibition. Photo: Lucy Rees

 Head On, 2006. 

Head On, 2006. 

 Cai Guo-Qiang. Photo: Lucy Rees 

Cai Guo-Qiang. Photo: Lucy Rees 

The title "Falling Back to Earth", was inspired by fourth-century poet Tao Yuanming's prose poem, Ah, Homeward Bound I Go! 

The exhibition is made up of three major installations. The concept for Heritage, 2013  was conceived during a research trip to Stradbroke Island in 2011. The artwork, which has been purchased by the museum, features 99 life-size animals drinking by a lake. The animals were created at a studio in Fujian Province under the guidance of Cai. To create the watering hole,  the museum excavated hundreds of cubic metres of concrete, steel and soil from the building's foundations. 

In 2011 Cai also visited the Lamington National Park in South East Queensland. The work in the main gallery, Eucalyptus, 2013 consists of a 30-metre long spotted gum tree suspended in mid air. 

Head On, 2006, features 99 wolves running into a glass pane. Commissioned for the Deutsche Bank Collection the work references the tumultuous history of Berlin. The work was in part inspired by Cai's thinking about the Berlin Wall and his view that barriers still existed within Berlin despite German reunification in 1990. We are told that the glass pane is the same height as the Berlin Wall. 

Cai has a long association with the Queensland Art Gallery, creating works for its second and third Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in 1996 and 1999. 

I was in awe of all the stunning natural scenery. Only later I realised that it was as if Queensland was one of the last paradises on earth. It implied the earth was in deep trouble
— Cai Guo-Qiang

Over the past 25 years, Cai Guo-Qiang has held solo exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in New York. Following recent exhibitions in Qatar, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Rio de Janeiro and Venice,  ‘Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth’ at the QAGOMA is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Australia. 

The exhibition runs from 23 November 2013 – 11 May 2014. 

Exhibition : Yoko Ono: War is Over! (if you want it)

MCA, Sydney

  Doors and Sky Puddles , 2011. Photo: Lucy Rees  “These are the doors that we opened and closed to go through life,” Ono explained. “There were many doors that blocked us. But we opened them, and we went through. This is the journey to uncurse yourself.” 

Doors and Sky Puddles, 2011. Photo: Lucy Rees

“These are the doors that we opened and closed to go through life,” Ono explained. “There were many doors that blocked us. But we opened them, and we went through. This is the journey to uncurse yourself.” 

Described by her late husband John Lennon as 'the world's most famous unknown artist', Yoko Ono is not so unknown anymore.

Once defined by her relationship to Lennon she is now recognised as an important artist in her own right. 

There have been retrospectives of her work in New York in 1989, in Germany in 2001, the UK in 2008, and in Frankfurt, Krems, Austria, and Bilbao in 2013. She received a Golden Lion Award for lifetime achievement from the Venice Biennale in 2009 and the 2012 Oskar Kokoschka Prize, Austria's highest award for applied contemporary art.

She is a leading figure of Fluxus (a group of international artists who sought to integrate art and everyday life, in the 1960s - 1970s), an explorer of conceptual art and performance art, and an experimental filmmaker and musician. 

Her first Australian retrospective is currently on the MCA Sydney is curated by Rachel Kent. Spanning five decades from the early 1960s to the present, it encompasses her language and instruction texts, sculptures and installations, and films and performances. Many of her works require audience participation from mending and arranging broken crockery, to stamping world maps with 'imagine peace' stamps, to writing personal messages of love to your mother. 

The title of the exhibition references a 1969 campaign by Ono and Lennon who rented public billboards in major cities over the Christmas of 1969 to spread their message of peace and hope. 

IMG_1807.JPG
  MORNING BEAMS , 1996 and  Cleaning Piece - Riverbed , 1996. Photo: Lucy Rees. 

MORNING BEAMS, 1996 and Cleaning Piece - Riverbed, 1996. Photo: Lucy Rees. 

"People think that I'm doing something shocking and ask me if I'm trying to shock people. The most shocking thing to me is that people have war, fight with each other and moreover take it for granted. The kind of thing I'm doing is almost too simple. I'm not interested in being unique or different. Everyone is different. No two persons have the same mouth shape for example, and so without making any effort we're all different. The problem is not how to become different or unique, but how to share an experience, how to be the same almost, how to communicate.

The concept is my work. In the art world, work is shown in a museum and a lot of people or a few people will see it, then if it’s bought by someone, that’s the end of it, or it comes back every once in a while."

 - Yoko Ono 

yoko ono lucy rees art.JPG

 

Yoko Ono was born in 1933, Tokyo, Japan. She currently lives and works in New York. 

Yoko Ono: War is Over! (if you want it) runs until 23 February 2014. Tickets are available at mca.com.au

Exhibition : 13 Rooms

Sydney

DSCN0492.JPG

Curated by Klaus Biesenbach and Hans Ulrich Obrist, “13 Rooms” opened in Sydney on April 11.

The first two iterations, “11 Rooms” and “12 Rooms,” took place in Manchester (2011) and Essen (2012). Brought to Australia by Kaldor Public Art Projects (KPAP), it is the first time the project stands alone rather than as an annex to a larger festival. Entering Pier 2/3 in Walsh Bay, visitors are invited to open the door and enter the thirteen purpose-built rooms and experience living, breathing artists.

Hans Ulrich Obrist says: “The exhibition is like a sculpture gallery where all the sculptures go home at night.” Klaus Biesenbach explained the rules of the game at a press conference in Sydney: “You enter a room. There’s a sculpture. They are living people. But they are not the artists.” He adds, “It’s a simple rule and it seems easy, but it was actually very difficult. To come up with a rule like this meant that we needed to eliminate many others. Hans Ulrich and I had a conversation every day for 200 days.”

Twelve major international artists have created rooms: Marina Abramović, John Baldessari, Joan Jonas, Damien Hirst, Tino Sehgal, artist duo Allora and Calzadilla, Simon Fujiwara, Xavier Le Roy, Laura Lima, Roman Ondák, Santiago Sierra and Xu Zhen. Australian artist duo Clark Beaumont have created the thirteenth room and will be the only artists to personally perform their work, entitled Coexisting. More than 140 local Australian performers will participate in “13 Rooms.”

Kaldor Public Art Projects presents major public artworks by acclaimed international artists in sites across Australia. Art patron John Kaldor says: “We work with important artists who work in museums all the time. Working in a public space provides a challenge to them. It also connects the artists to Australia, which is part of our mission. We don’t just pick up a show and plonk it down. Allora and Calzadilla’s revolving door, for example, is completely different from what they showed in Manchester.” Obrist adds: “Yes, it’s not a fly-in-fly-out mentality.”

“For us it’s been hard to limit ourselves to only thirteen rooms and thirteen artists. John had to hold us back; if it wasn’t for John we probably would’ve had seventy or eighty rooms... But that said, we don’t want to encourage artists to take on this sort of work if it’s not already present. We don’t want to be instrumentalizing practice. Obviously there are many artists who could potentially work in this way, but we want to find those already involved. Curating always comes after the art — we follow the artists.” - Hans Ulrich Obrist 

So where will it be next year? Hans Ulrich Obrist says there is talk of Switzerland for 2014, and then maybe Asia in 2016.

The project runs for eleven days, from April 11 through 21, 2013, at Pier 2/3, Walsh Bay, Sydney.

Exhibition : 7th Asia Pacific Triennial

Brisbane, Australia

Asia Pacific Triennial lucy rees

The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT) is the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art’s flagship contemporary art event. It is the only major exhibition series to focus exclusively on the contemporary art of Asia, the Pacific and Australia.

APT7 in 2012-13 celebrates the 20th anniversary of the first APT held in 1993. 

The APT is distinguished from other international art biennales and triennales by its extensive acquisition program and focus on commissioning the artists to produce new works. For this edition, 51 artworks were commissioned, and 24 of those are now in the collection, including Huang Yong Ping’s Ressort (2012) and Atul Dodiya’s Somersault in sandalwood sky (2012).

We have really been pushing hard for commissions since the late ’90s, which is a very unusual thing for museums to do, as it’s risky.
— Suhanya Raffel, acting director

Over the years they have commissioned major pieces such as Cai Guo-Qiang’s gunpowder drawings in 1996, Yayoi Kusama’s Soul under the moon (2002), Ai Weiwei’s Boomerang (2006) and Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian’s Lightning for Neda (2009). 

This year sees two co-curated projects that explore specific focuses. Works from Papua New Guinea include a group of performance masks and painted and carved structures from New Britain and the Sepik, co-curated by architect Martin Fowler. '0 – Now: Traversing West Asia' displays work by seven artists and collectives from the Middle East and Central Asia, and is co-curated by Istanbul-based November Paynter. 

Runs from 8 December 2012 —  14 April 2013 at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) and Queensland Art Gallery (QAG).