Column—Art to see in Sydney this Summer
This season, Sydney is playing host to Rembrandt and a set of his Dutch peers, Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist, iconic New York City photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, and Danish-Icelandic master of colour and light Olafur Eliasson – in the form of contemporary ballet.
Though, once you’ve visited the blockbuster touring exhibitions – Rist’s enchanted Pixel Forest at the MCA, Dutch masters and Mapplethorpe at Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Tree of Codes at the ICC in Darling Harbour – there is still more art on show across the city to see and breathe in.
Here are four more exhibitions not to miss in January.
The Horse Trotted Another Couple Of Metres, Then It Stopped
Possibly one of the most thrilling installations to be unveiled this January will be Katharina Grosse’s first major Australian commission at Carriageworks. Installers have already begun setting the framework for the piece: Carriageworks’ cavernous industrial foyer has been draped in swathes of stitched calico, which will shortly become Grosse’s sprawling canvas.
She’ll set her spray gun over the 8,250 square metres of suspended fabric, creating a vivid rainbow of colour, which you’ll then be able to navigate as a sort of immersive, tunnel-like structure. “The fabric will function as a folded, soft space, a bit like an inverted tent or a sack,” Grosse wrote of the piece on her website. “The painting will sit on top of the folds. Visitors will be able to enter.”
From January 6 to April 8 at Carriageworks as part of the Sydney Festival.
NSW Visual Arts Fellowship Exhibition
The annual NSW Visual Arts Fellowship award is offered via a partnership between Artbank and Create NSW. The award’s accompanying exhibition of work from the winning artist and runners up is a brilliant showcase of some of the state’s best mid-career, semi-established artists.
The winner of the 2018 prize is Jonathan Jones, who you may remember for barrangal dyara (skin and bones), an enormous installation involving 15,000 brilliant white broad shields on the grass of the Royal Botanic Garden in 2016 for Kaldor Public Art Projects. Alongside Jones and his shields, shortlisted artists on show include Zanny Begg, Claire Healy & Sean Cordeiro, Eugenia Raskopoulos, Keg de Souza and Justene Williams.
Until February 16 at Artbank.
White Rabbit Gallery’s summer exhibition, and its second hanging for 2017, reveals the relevance of religion, spirituality and the supernatural in the modern world, specifically from within a modern China. The show features the work of 21 artists, each plucked from art philanthropist and gallery founder Judith Neilson’sunmatched personal collection of contemporary or ‘post-millennial’ Chinese art.
If you’re a regular to White Rabbit’s ever-dazzling curated hangings, you might recognise Xu Zhen’s floating black leather bondage church, Play 201301, which has featured in previous exhibitions and was a highlight at Art Basel in Hong Kong in 2013. Also featuring is Tianzhuo Chen’s video Ishvara – a two-hour neon pink opera, in which old Chinese gods and gilded pop culture idols play out individual accounts of divinity. Ritual Spirit is another reminder tour neighbouring China is one of the world’s most exciting art centres right now.
Until 28 January at White Rabbit Gallery.
The Curtain Breathed Deeply
If we needed more of a reason to roll down to the NSW South Coast over the summer, there’s now also Justene Williams’s sensory overload, The Curtain Breathed Deeply, on show at the Bega Valley Regional Galley. The exhibition first appeared at Artspace in 2014, and is Williams’s most ambitious installation to date.
It invites you to travel through a series of theatrical environments – video installations crafted as backyard vignettes, torn from Williams’s memory of her father’s wrecking yard. Her choreographed video pieces play on screens behind a roller door, in the tray of an ’80s-era Ford Falcon ute, on the edges of an above ground pool, and surrounded by coloured electric tape and fluorescent tubes.
Until February at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery.
This piece was published for Broadsheet Sydney, on 19 December 2017.
Image, video still from Cheng Ran, Joss, 2013.