If the 9th Biennale was all about never before seen artists the 8th Biennale of Sydney (1990) focused on big names, bigger venues and spectacular events. Artistic Director René Block saw the Biennale as a great opportunity for artists from different countries to come together and connect with the work and ideas of other artists.
Working within a concept titled The Readymade Boomerang: Certain Relations in 20th Century Art, he used three influential artists – Duchamp, Man Ray and Picabia – as the first reference point for the exhibition. From these three historical figures, Block incorporated the works of already well known artists including Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, Jeff Koons, Robert Gober and Bill Henson to stand alongside new, young artists.
148 artists from 28 different countries participated in the exhibition and the enormous, historic Bond Store at Walsh Bay was used as a venue for the first time.
Full of memorable moments, the image of pianist Carle Santos playing while being pulled on a barge under the Sydney Harbour Bridge still resonates 23 years later.
Images from 9th Biennale of Sydney (1990)
Image: Carle Santos, Piano Performance, 1990. Installation view of the 8th Biennale of Sydney (1990) at Sydney Harbour. Photograph: Heidrun Lohr