Biennale of Sydney Archive

John Coburn holding the inaugural Biennale of Sydney (1973) poster

John Coburn holding the inaugural Biennale of Sydney (1973) poster

The Biennale of Sydney Archive has been gifted to the Art Gallery of New South Wales as part of Gallery’s new National Art Archive initiative.

The gifting of the Biennale of Sydney Archive will bring a strong international contemporary art focus to the National Art Archive. The two organisations have had a continuous association since 1976 when the second Biennale was staged exclusively at the Gallery. The Art Gallery of New South Wales will now work with the Biennale on an historic project delving into more than 1000 boxes that make up the physical archive of the Biennale of Sydney. The Biennale of Sydney Archive includes rich artists’ files, images, correspondence, media clippings and photographic and video documentation that stretch back to the organisation’s inception in 1973, reflecting the key historical, political, social and cultural aspects of the Biennale.

The Biennale Archive is the most comprehensive collection of national and international contemporary art activity in Australia and includes records from nineteen editions of the event. The first Biennale of Sydney was held as part of the opening celebrations of the Sydney Opera House in 1973. It was the first biennial established in the Asia-Pacific region Nearly1800 artists from more than 100 countries have participated in the twenty subsequent editions of the Biennale. The Biennale has since grown to become one of the great cultural events hosted in Australia.

The Biennale of Sydney Archive project will be undertaken over the coming years with materials being digitised and key moments and narratives explored. Significant materials in the Archive will be made available to the public through the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Biennale of Sydney websites. The addition of the Biennale of Sydney Archive to the National Art Archive provides tremendous research opportunities for artists, students and academics.

Founding Governor, Franco Belgiorno-Nettis AC CBE with Amina Belgiorno-Nettis at the opening proceedings of the Inaugural Biennale of Sydney.

Founding Governor, Franco Belgiorno-Nettis AC CBE with Amina Belgiorno-Nettis at the opening proceedings of the Inaugural Biennale of Sydney.

The Biennale of Sydney proudly recognises Transfield Holdings as our founding partner and applauds the role the company played in the Biennale’s history and in the creation of the Biennale of Sydney Archive. We celebrate the vision of Franco Belgiorno-Nettis in establishing the Biennale of Sydney, and in recognition of 40 years of previous support, the Biennale of Sydney will continue to acknowledge Transfield Holdings and the Belgiorno-Nettis family as Founding Patrons.

Learn more about the Biennale’s rich history and cultural contributions from Paula Latos-Valier through her retrospective series on the Biennale of Sydney.