Flashback Friday: Big art at the 17th Biennale of Sydney

Posted on 20 September 2013 in Flashback Friday, News
Cai Guo-Qiang, Inopportune: Stage One

Large-scale works were the order of David Elliot’s 2010 exhibition. On Cockatoo Island, we had Cai Guo-Qiang suspending nine exploding cars in arrested animation from the ceiling of the Turbine Hall; Brook Andrew presenting a seven-metre-wide, adults only, ‘bouncy castle’ and AES+F presenting a panoramic video installation composed of 75,000 animated photographs.

Meanwhile Kader Attia installed a 350-square-metre patchwork of corrugated iron, satellite dishes and scrap metal to create a shantytown audiences could walk on; Peter Hennessey debuted My Hubble (The universe turned in on itself) (2012) as a life-sized re-enactment of the Hubble Space Telescope; and at Pier 2/3, Paul McCarthy premiered Ship of Fools, Ship Adrift 2 (2012), with its looped and out-of-sync soundtrack of Michael Jackson’s We Are The World.

Among these memorable giants, 70 artists (out of 167 total) debuted new works including:

Hiroshi Sugimoto

For the 17th Biennale, Hiroshi presented an installation comprised of prints from the artist’s ‘Lightning Fields’ series, mounted on stage-like platforms that ascend towards a thirteenth-century Japanese sculpture of Raijin, the Japanese God of Thunder. It was the result of Sugimoto’s experiments of photographically imaging electricity on large-format film, exploring the relationship between light, energy, power, and the dawn of life.

Shen Shaomin

Famous for making odd creatures out of skeletons, for the 2010 exhibition Shaomin tortured bonsais to be displayed throughout the halls of the MCA. While his eerily poignant figures in Summit (2012)  a hypothetical meeting of the world’s most significant communist leaders with their life-sized corpses displayed inside crystal coffins – disturbed adults and children alike on Cockatoo Island.

 Choi Jeong Hwa

The Seoul-based artist and designer transformed part of the Sydney Opera House’s iconic silhouette with his brightly-coloured colanders. After weeks of heavy rain and gale-force winds, the work was removed and reconfigured on Cockatoo Island.

17 Biennale of Sydney highlights gallery

Image: Cai Guo-Qiang, Inopportune: Stage One, (2004), nine cars and sequenced multi-channel light tubes, dimensions variable. Installation view of the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010) at Cockatoo Island. Gift of Robert M. Arnold, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, 2006.1 (Exhibition Copy). The presentation of this project was made possible with assistance from Shiseido. Photograph: Ben Symons

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