From The Sublime…

Uncategorized May 22, 2006 No Comments

The art world is swirling miasma of disinformation. There are always wild rumours circulating through its flyways and byways. For example – is it really true that Shaun Gladwell is about to be announced as Australia’s artist for the 2007 Venice Biennale? [And, if true, how do we really feel about that?] Or is it true that Artspace, the gallery in Woolloomooloo sitting on potentially the second most expensive piece of real estate in Sydney [after those lovely sandstone precincts around Taylor Square], is to be moved lock stock and two smoking barrels over to Redfern to join the Performance Space, the Sydney Dance Company and Mr. Gaspo Balloon Co. in a new precinct du art? [And, if true, how do we really feel about that?] Yes, these are the two big rumours of the week, but neither are wilder, more surprising or shocking than the final revelation of who it is who writes The Art Life. Yes, it can now finally be revealed that this blog is written by The Esteemed Critic, John McDonald. That’s at least according to the publications CV of one Clinton Nain, the article Surface Tension was written by Macca. [Thanks to Sublime-ation for the tip].

Transformative, a Peloton Project at Blindside, Melbourne:
Eleanor Avery > James Avery > Matthys Gerber>
Lisa Jones
> Giles Ryder > Koji Ryui
Curated by Giles Ryder. Opening Thursday 25 May 2006 25 May – 10 June. Nicholas Building Level 7 Room 14, 37 Swanston St. Melbourne 3000Opening Hours: 12-6pm Thurs-Sat Ph. +613 9650 0093

One of the artist blogs we link to is the ongoing project 1001 Nights Cast in which artist Barbara Campbell is attempting to stage a different performance piece every day of the year streamed live from wherever she is in the world. The performances are based on stories submitted by writers to the web site and from which Campbell then draws her inspiration. We thought that trying to do 1001 performances back to back was one of those ‘crazy’ ideas that’d fall over in the first couple of months but knowing that Campbell had once spent an entire Los Angeles studio residency typing out Josef Conrad’s Heart of Darkness several times over [in tribute to the efforts of Eleanor Coppolla’s work on Apocalypse Now], we knew that if there was a performance artist who could pull of such a feat, it would be Campbell. She is now a third of the way through with 333rd performance based on a story by Victoria Spence last netcast week. Campbell is calling for writers who’d like to contribute to visit her site. She writes:

Thank you everyone – writers, audiences and technical support team – for helping me to this point. My special thanks to Mr. Snow and Zina Kaye of the House of Laudanum and Russell Emerson and Matthew Geier at the University of Sydney for keeping me on air. And my humble gratitude to the more than 100 writers who have contributed to date. 1001 nights cast travels back to the northern hemisphere on June 11. I’ll be based in Madrid, Granada and London for three months, making a special effort to coax both old and new European writers into the pool. Be aware that writing deadlines and performance times will therefore change in relation to wherever you are and my new, later, sunset times. I will miss my Australian audiences who probably won’t feel like getting out of their winter beds at 4am to tune in, but I fully expect them all to keep writing. We might have to say farewell to the west coast of north and South America for that period. Don’t worry, they’ll be back…


Reconfigured: Fixations of the Body. In this exhibition, six emerging artists respond to the figurative. The contemporaniety of their interpretations are rooted in the extension of traditional approaches to representation of the human body through media and formal qualities, making them often confronting and humorous in nature. The diversity of the work addresses a number of concepts and issues including sexuality, social conformity, notions of beauty, gender & conflict, pathology, growth and death. The underlying focus is this fascination of our ‘flawed being’ with strong allusions to social constructs and psychological responses to stimuli. Exhibitors include: Keith Chidzey, Stuart Currie, Erin Muir, Tom Polo, Michael Thornell & Grace Tsai. Opens: 6-8pm Tuesday, May 23, 2006 Dates: May 24 – June 3, 2006.


Terminus Projects, under the directorship of Clare Lewis and Sarah Rawlings, are getting ready to launch their next series of site specific art events for 2006. Curated by Lewis, the new works are by David Haines, James Lynch, Michelle Outram, Caroline Rothwell and Jay Ryves. According to the organisations spanking new web site [designed by Emoh], “Terminus Projects is an independent organisation that initiates site-specific projects of artistic and cultural relevance. We provide a platform that encourages dialogue with diverse audiences through projects that are critically engaged, innovative and stimulating.” These new culturally relevant sites will include the new Coles supermarket complex under World Square on George Street. Yeah!



For your reading pleasure we maintain a list of international art blogs, some good, some not so good, but all worthy of your attention. One of the best international blogs is Simpleposie which is, to our own dyslexic minds, ‘angelpoise’ and that’s a design classic. The Canadian blog is a little bit like the Art Life, but more concerned with the big issues of the universe. Each day Simpleposie author Jennifer McMackon asks readers to respond to a question, to wit:

Simpleposie question for the day #989: Simpleposie wants to know:

What would you say is the most egregious artworld sin?

So in a spirit of give and take, we ask Art Life readers to engage in a exchange with Simpleposie and provide an answer in the comments below.


: SafARI

What the Fringe Festival is to Edinburgh, and Liste is to Basel, SafARI will be to Sydney during the first few weeks of the 2006 Biennale of Sydney. SafARI will exhibit works by emerging and unrepresented Australian artists across six ARIs (artist-run initiatives), five in Sydney and one in ‘the gong’, from 3 – 25 June 2006. SafARI will include works in diverse media including sound, photography, jewellery, ceramics and painting.

The timing of SafARI capitalises on the national and international focus on the visual arts in Sydney during the BoS in order to provide opportunities to the artists, arts-workers and arts-spaces involved. While SafARI unabashedly seeks to ride the Biennale slipstream, there is no official or authorised linkage. SafARI brings focus to Sydney’s ARIs and the vital, formative and experimental role they play in Sydney’s visual arts scene.

In an inversion of the usual dynamic between capital and regional cities, the Wollongong ARI Project Contemporary Art Space will present work by all SafARI artists at a single venue. The five Sydney ARIs involved – China Heights, Gallery fourtyfour, ‘medium, rare’, MOP Projects and Pelt – will each showcase work by 3 to 6 of the artists. The Sydney ARIs are all within walking distance of each other, and the curators will lead a tour of these galleries on Sunday 18 June, from 12-4pm.

Other events associated with SafARI include a talk by Mike Parr, co-founder of ARI’s Inhibodress and Yellow House in 1970, artists’ talks, and opening and closing parties…


International artists are heading your way, very soon…


What would an 8 metre long 3-D map of the world look like?

How many generators are needed to power a 5 metre high chandelier?

How much space is required to house 180,000 terracotta figures from China?

If you could control the outcome of a war, what choices would you make?

Have you ever had the feeling that you are being followed?

Find out answers to these questions and a thousand others when you experience Zones of Contact, the 2006 Biennale of Sydney, 8 June – 27 August.

85 artists from 44 countries will present the most innovative and bold art being made in the world today. Some of the world’s most exciting artists have arrived in Sydney to put the finishing touches to their work. Over half the works have never been seen before and will premiere at the 2006 Biennale of Sydney. Australians and visitors will be the first to see fresh and ground-breaking new art when the exhibition opens at 16 venues across Sydney, from Campbelltown to Circular Quay.

Geography homework? Come and marvel at World Map an 8 metre long 3-D map of the world at the Art Gallery of New South Wales created by eminent Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, one of the architects of the Beijing Olympic Stadium and one of the most talked about artists working in China today.

Albanian-born Adrian Paci has begun constructing a stunning 5 metre tall chandelier that will light up Pier 2/3 at Walsh Bay, a principal Biennale venue. Powered by 10 petrol generators, the huge luminous chandelier, Noise of Light, comments on the high cost of the luxurious and energy-hungry lifestyles of western societies.

Renowned British artist, Antony Gormley, exhibits 180,000 terracotta figures on the top floor of the 140 metre long Pier 2/3. Made by the people of Xiangshan village in south China, the figures form a sea of tiny faces that gaze up at the viewer – a spectacular, silent crowd that’s both ghostly and magical.

If you could control the outcome of a war through an interactive video, could you live with the decisions you made? In Shilpa Gupta’s Untitled at Performance Space, you must decide what to do as you navigate the battle that is taking place around you at Dal Lake, Srinagar, the capital city of Kashmir.

Feel like you are being followed? You are. Look above as you walk through the entrance court of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s interactive installation uses a surveillance tracking system to detect the movement of people below. 72 fluorescent tubes positioned on the ceiling rotate as they follow people walking through the space.

Dr Charles Merewether, the Artistic Director & Curator of the 2006 Biennale of Sydney says that he is delighted to see the finished works as the show comes together. “Since 2004 I have researched Australia and the world to select artists whose work I could bring to Sydney and show to the people of Australia. Many of these works were created in response to this year’s exhibition concept Zones of Contact. It is great to see the works being realised and to see all the artists’ hard work pay off.”

Paula Latos-Valier, Managing Director of the Biennale of Sydney, says “The 15th Biennale of Sydney is going to reach more people than ever before. Expanded programs all across Sydney mean people will be able to enjoy a wide range of free events including artist talks, performances and tours. Thanks to the generous support of our government and private sector partners, the Biennale of Sydney is again presented free to the public and online programs and information will make the Biennale of Sydney more accessible than ever before.”

About Zones of Contact – 2006 Biennale of Sydney: The upcoming 15th Biennale of Sydney, directed and curated by Dr Charles Merewether, runs from Thursday 8 June to Sunday 27 August. Zones of Contact features the work of 85 artists and collaborations from 44 countries in 16 venues. Exhibition and events are suitable for all ages. The diversity of art forms, cultures and ideas that are represented in the exhibition and public programs will ensure that there is something that appeals to everyone.

Since 1973, the Biennale of Sydney has engaged Australian and international audiences with bold and innovative contemporary art from Australia and around the world. Visitors to this year’s Biennale can expect to see a wide range of work including painting, photography, fabric, sound and voice, light and projected works, drawing, video, film, performance, sculpture and installation. Site-specific works will be exhibited in various locations in and around Sydney, including the spectacular heritage-listed Pier 2/3, Walsh Bay.

Zones of Contact deals with events, ideas and concerns that shape our lives today, as well as our sense of both past and future. It is about the zones people live in and move between, and the merging and separation of public areas and private territories, places where people make contact with one another. Many works in this exhibition explore the influence and impact of different cultures upon each other, as well as upon the land we share. Other works presented by artists in Zones of Contact explore the experience of living in an increasingly cosmopolitan and globalised world, or alternatively, of existing within societies where impoverishment and survival shape everyday life.

The artists exhibiting in Zones of Contact present a powerful reflection upon the experiences of today’s world, the memories that haunt us, and the societies in which we live. The works reveal anxieties and aspirations, losses and hopes, as well as the imprint and trace of history, along with the possibilities of imagined other lives and dreams. To experience a work of art is to pause in time. In so doing, art offers a different way of seeing who we are and a new zone of contact.


The Art Life

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