The 20th Sydney Biennale is the largest contemporary visual arts event in Australia. With the over-arching idea, ‘Embassies of Thought’ it is showing at 5 venues across Sydney. Art Gallery of NSW is one of the more engaging collections, although Cockatoo Island is a rare experience. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) is serving as the Embassy of Translation, bringing together “a selection of works that contextualise historical positions, concepts and artefacts, alongside contemporary concerns and working methods. While relying on a range of different strategies, each work considers history as one material among others, restaging and reimagining it as part of the process”.
The work of three artists’ gives an idea of what the Biennale is about this year. The work of Dayanita Singh and her self-named mobile museums, is an intriguing insight into Indian rituals and culture.
From Cairns, North Queensland, Daniel Boyd, opens up a dialogue between colonialisation and its programmed narrative that has conditioned so much of white Australian history. Using the familiar dot pattern, he expands on it by using acrylic glue on a large scale.
British artist, Helen Marten, combines an eclectic collection of elements with high precision screen printing on leather. Much of her work is very in your face; she combines details of pea pods and mapping overlays with other very precise ephemera into a cohesively intriguing piece.
At the Art Gallery of NSW there are more artists represented in the Biennale.