Near record crowds flock to 20th Biennale of Sydney

The Biennale of Sydney has announced that visitation to the 20th Biennale of Sydney: The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed, was the second highest on record. Curated by Artistic Director Dr. Stephanie Rosenthal, the 20th Biennale, which ran from 18 March – 5 June 2016, featured more than 200 works by 83 artists hailing from 35 countries, of which 70% were new commissions.

“I conceived ‘embassies of thought’ for the 20th Biennale as temporary settings without borders. The embassy themes were inspired by the individual histories of each venue, while the ‘in between’ [explored] virtual and physical worlds.” said Stephanie Rosenthal. “It was a tremendous pleasure to work with so many outstanding artists and to show so many new and specially realised works”.

Performance featured strongly in the 20th Biennale of Sydney, with highlights including the Australian premiere of manger (2014) by Boris Charmatz following his keynote address at Carriageworks on 19 March 2016. Agatha Gothe-Snape developed a series of performances with dancer and choreographer Brooke Stamp, taking place along a pathway extending from Speakers’ Corner in the Domain to Wemyss Lane, Surry Hills.

The 20th Biennale of Sydney also featured significant contributions from Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists including Nyapanyapa Yunupingu at the Art Gallery of NSW and Daniel Boyd, whose work, What Remains (2016), was a large-scale installation featuring thousands of mirrored disks arranged on a building in Redfern.

Former convict settlement and shipyard Cockatoo Island hosted the Embassy of the Real, where artists explored how we perceive reality in our increasingly digitised era and the spaces between the virtual and physical.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Carriageworks and Artspace in Woolloomooloo were also amongst the list of curated venues to host other Embassies. As a Biennale first, Mortuary Station in Chippendale was reimagined as the Embassy of Transition. The Embassy of Stanislaw Lem however was the most interesting non-location as it took the form of a roving bookstall that appeared at different sites throughout the exhibition.

Biennale of Sydney CEO Ben Strout added: “We are proud to have attracted so many visitors to experience and engage with the 20th Biennale of Sydney and we’re thankful for the support of our Exhibition Partners in helping us achieve this.”.

The 20th Biennale continues with the Not Evenly Distributed blog. The blog acts as an extension to the project, beyond the exhibition and catalogue, which will conclude on 30 June 2016.


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