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A year away: The Beauty of Distance

In exhibition on 5 June 2009 at 1:41 pm
Biennale1Cai Guo-Qiang

 

The exhibition concept for next year’s Sydney Biennale was announced today: “The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age”.

Artistic director David Elliot explains: “Distance allows us to be ourselves despite the many capacities we share. We are all the same, yet different, and it is our differences that make us – according to the circumstances – beautiful, terrifying, attractive, boring, sexy, unsettling, fascinating, challenging, funny, stimulating, horrific or even many of these at once. The idea of distance also expresses the condition of art itself. Art is of life, runs parallel to life and is sometimes about life. But for art to be art a medium of numinous, sometimes symbolic power), it must maintain a distance from life. Without distance, art has no authority and is no longer special.”

In a brochure being handed out at the Venice Biennale, Elliot outlines some of the exhibition’s themes:

• First Peoples and Fourth Worlds The work of both first and diasporic peoples who have survived suppression and marginalisation.

• From the Panopticon to the Wunderkammer Explores the chasm between ideas of “modern” (a universal view to encompass everything within set categories) and “contemporary” (the more fluid Cabinet of Curiosities, which brought together disparate items from different origins as objects of delight and wonderment).

• Of Gods and Ghosts Continuities of human experience through time are examined – not within a hidebound framework of ‘tradition’, but in terms of how they have evolved to be expressed in contemporary life.

• A Hard Rain Works of a documentary nature, which examine or reflect the current state of the world.

• The Trickster By using the tactics of masquerade, feint and the absurd, the Trickster subversively inserts himself under the skin of pretension to assert the power of art and make a serious point.

The 17th Biennale of Sydney will run from 12 May to 1 August 2010.

 

Photo: Cai Guo-Qiang, Inopportune: Stage One 2004 (nine cars and sequenced multichannel light tubes, dimensions variable). Collection of Seattle Art Museum, Gift of Robert M. Arnold, in honour of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, 2006. Installation view at Shawinigan Space, National Gallery of Canada, 2006. Courtesy Cai Studio. Photo by Kazuo Ono.

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  1. Yet more grand themes, whipped up into a frenzied froth, but often failing to deliver once cooked.

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