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Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber Ocula Report Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber 15 Mar 2019 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

In Meiro Koizumi's three-channel video installation, The Angels of Testimony (2019), the central frame features an interview with Hajime Kondo about his time as a solider of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The conversation centres on war crimes perpetrated in China, including the beheading of Chinese prisoners for...

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Diana Campbell Betancourt Ocula Conversation Diana Campbell Betancourt

Diana Campbell Betancourt is a curator working predominantly across South and Southeast Asia. Since 2013 she has been the founding artistic director of the Samdani Art Foundation and chief curator of the Dhaka Art Summit in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a transnational art event that has grown in size and scale ever since its first edition in 2012. Backed by...

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Chinternet Ugly at Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art Ocula Report Chinternet Ugly at Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art 7 Mar 2019 : Mike Pinnington for Ocula

China, home to 802 million internet users, is subject to sophisticated online censorship. This shrouded state of affairs, unsurprisingly perhaps, serves to reinforce stereotypes around conformity elsewhere. Any realm, digital or otherwise, subject to such strict scrutiny must necessarily be bland and uncritical, right? I was mulling over such...

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Current Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Grace Wright, HEARTFELT at Gallery 9, Sydney
27 February–23 March 2019 Grace Wright HEARTFELT Gallery 9, Sydney
Contemporary art exhibition, Evan Woodruffe, COBALT FLOAT at Gallery 9, Sydney
27 February–23 March 2019 Evan Woodruffe COBALT FLOAT Gallery 9, Sydney
Contemporary art exhibition, Reece King, SILVER at Gallery 9, Sydney
27 February–23 March 2019 Reece King SILVER Gallery 9, Sydney
Contemporary art exhibition, Lucas Grogan, GROUNDBREAKINGFLORAKS at Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney
7–31 March 2019 Lucas Grogan GROUNDBREAKINGFLORAKS Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney

Galleries In Sydney

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Art Museums / Spaces

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Xiao Lu Ocula Conversation
In partnership with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
Xiao Lu

In the hot heat of the moment, history is sometimes only recorded in snippets. In the flurry to understand, information is conflated, building a historical account that never quite captures the reality of the moment. In 1989, Chinese artist Xiao Lu fired a handgun into her installation Dialogue displayed in the China/Avant-Garde exhibition, the...

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Sydney Contemporary: Bridging the Gap Ocula Report Sydney Contemporary: Bridging the Gap 20 Sep 2018 : Anna Dickie for Ocula

As far as art fair venues go, Sydney Contemporary (13–16 September 2018) has nailed it with Carriageworks, where the fair was once again staged. Formerly a rail yard and now a cultural centre, the space has retained its distinctive 19th-century industrial details, and it offered a striking light-filled backdrop to the fair's crisp white booths, the...

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Sydney Contemporary 2018 Ocula Photolog Sydney Contemporary 2018 14 September 2018

'With a thriving contemporary art scene, Sydney is a dynamic cultural destination with an international reputation for presenting the very best in visual art through its leading commercial galleries, public institutions, private museums, festivals and Biennale. Defined by the vibrancy of its host city, Sydney Contemporary provides collectors,...

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Sydney Exhibitions to See: The Lowdown Ocula Report Sydney Exhibitions to See: The Lowdown 7 Sep 2018 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

Sydney Contemporary returns to Carriageworks for its fourth edition between 13 and 16 September 2018 with 87 local and international galleries and a full programme of performances, talks, large-scale curated installations and tours. Beyond the fair, Sydney is abundant with standout shows that challenge perceptions around identity, the body, and...

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NS Harsha and Tiffany Chung Ocula Conversation NS Harsha and Tiffany Chung Artists

On the occasion of the 21st Biennale of Sydney, SUPERPOSITION: Equilibrium & Engagement (16 March–11 June 2018), the Victorian College of the Arts and University of Melbourne partnered with the Biennale to facilitate the visit of artists Tiffany Chung, NS Harsha and curator David Elliott to Melbourne. The following discussion is an edited...

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Biennale of Sydney: Equilibrium & Engagement Ocula Report Biennale of Sydney: Equilibrium & Engagement 25 May 2018 : Tess Maunder for Ocula

SUPERPOSITION: Equilibrium & Engagement marks the twenty-first edition of the Biennale of Sydney (16 March–11 June 2018). Curated by Mami Kataoka, it brings together over 70 artists and artist collectives from 35 different countries exhibiting at 7 venues, including the Sydney Opera House, and marks the first time an Asian-born curator has been...

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Anya Gallaccio Ocula Conversation
in partnership with the 21st Biennale of Sydney
Anya Gallaccio Artist

Anya Gallaccio's practice is characterised by the twin notions of control and transition and, in particular, how each can be implemented and represented. Her approach often involves setting in motion a process and then letting go. Her use of materials that innately decay, melt, rot and transform, speak to the mutability of material and place. The...

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Rayyane Tabet Ocula Conversation
in partnership with the 21st Biennale of Sydney
Rayyane Tabet Artist

Beirut-based artist Rayyane Tabet's practice exists at the intersection of storytelling, sculpture and architecture. Here, the physical material—be it found architectural objects or material drawn from personal archives—is revealed to contain unresolved histories or buried narratives that are then exposed through the act of...

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Xiao Lu retrospective goes beyond the myth Related Press Xiao Lu retrospective goes beyond the myth art guide Australia : 30 January 2019

Thirty years ago in Beijing, on the eve of Chinese New Year, contemporary Chinese artist Xiao Lu made her artistic debut by firing a shotgun at her installation Dialogue. Ever since, these famous shots have reverberated on multiple political levels, often noted as an important feminist moment in contemporary Chinese art, and as the first shots of...

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Justene Williams: Project Dead Empathy Related Press Justene Williams: Project Dead Empathy art guide Australia : 15 November 2018

Justene Williams was on the road to Sydney when we first spoke ahead of her solo exhibition, Project Dead Empathy, at Sarah Cottier Gallery. The back of the car was full with the stuff that comprises her anarchic installations, and I imagined over-long mannequin arms stretching around headrests as we spoke.

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Archibald winner Ben Quilty critiques Santa and straight white men at Sydney Contemporary art fair Related Press Archibald winner Ben Quilty critiques Santa and straight white men at Sydney Contemporary art fair ABC News : 15 September 2018

An art fair is not the natural habitat of political statements; a temporary assembly of galleries hawking their wares primarily to cashed-up collectors, it's a parade of beauty and taste (good, bad, indifferent) that will, generally speaking, fit in the lounge room and impress the guests.

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The fourth, and now annual, Sydney Contemporary 2018 officially opened last night and seems to have firmly cemented itself as Australia's pre-eminent art fair following the scale down of Melbourne's Art Fair which has been running since the late 1980s.

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Review: Sydney Contemporary 2018 Related Press Review: Sydney Contemporary 2018 The Sydney Morning Herald : 14 September 2018

This weekend is the high point of the year for the Sydney – and Australian – contemporary art scene. There may be some disagreement from folk in Melbourne, or from those who believe the Sydney Biennale remains the premier contemporary art event in this country. It's clear though, the Sydney Contemporary art fair at Carriageworks has the numbers on...

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2018 Sydney Contemporary Art Fair: five artists to watch Related Press 2018 Sydney Contemporary Art Fair: five artists to watch The Australian Financial Review : 13 September 2018

The Sydney Contemporary Art Fair has gone from baby to behemoth in just three editions, generating $40 million in sales and attracting 75,000 local and international visitors since it launched (initially as a biennale) in 2013. "It's a tremendous shot in the arm for artists and galleries," says its director, Barry Keldoulis.

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'I didn't eat for a week': The passion and pain of collecting art Related Press 'I didn't eat for a week': The passion and pain of collecting art The Sydney Morning Herald : 8 September 2018

On the eve of Sydney Contemporary art fair, five leading artists, collectors and philanthropists share their passion and tips for collecting art.Ben Quilty, artistBen Quilty, artist Ben Quilty never met the renowned Indigenous artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye, but he is the proud owner of one of her works, thanks to a heartfelt letter he wrote to a...

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An art fair is more than just selling art Related Press An art fair is more than just selling art Visual Arts Hub : 4 September 2018

There are in excess of 250 art fairs internationally. That's great for artists and art enthusiasts who are exposed to an ever-expanding smorgasbord of new art, but how do art fairs connect with the average culture-loving punter, and steer away from being just another look-alike trade fair?

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Recent Events

About Sydney

Sydney is host to a wide-range of vibrant and diverse museums and galleries, alongside non-profit organisations and artist-run-initiatives. The Art Gallery of New South Wales boasts one of the largest collections in Australia and, since its establishment in 1871, has been fundamental to Sydney's cultural landscape. With the development of its 'Sydney Modern Project', the Art Gallery of New South Wales will double its exhibition and education spaces by 2021 with a new building design by internationally acclaimed architects SANAA.

Claiming space along Sydney's iconic harbour, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia is dedicated to living Australian artists. It also hosts exhibitions by national and international contemporary artists such as Yayoi Kusama, Pipilotti Rist, Anish Kapoor, and Fiona Hall. Carriageworks, another key institution, is a multi-arts centre held inside the historic Eveleigh Rail Complex Yards. This enormous and unique industrial site lends itself to large-scale immersive programmes and international commissions.

Artspace is one of Australia's foremost non-profit contemporary art space and supports the production and presentation of new work, hosting an ambitious national and international program of exhibitions, residencies, and public programs that position art and ideas within a critical context. 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, another leading institution, is dedicated to facilitating dialogue between Australia and Asia through exhibitions, research, and collaboration. Working with artists from across the Asia-Pacific region, it plays a critical role in advocating for an expanded view of global contemporary art.

Alongside public institutions are different models of private initiatives. Kaldor Public Art Projects, for example, has been commissioning artists for over 50 years—among them Christo and Jean-Claude, Anri Sala, and Marina Abramović —to create public interventions across Sydney. A more recent example is White Rabbit Gallery, which opened in Chippendale in 2009, to showcase extraordinary works of over 500 contemporary Chinese and Taiwanese artists from philanthropist Judith Nielson's collection.

The Biennale of Sydney is arguably the pinnacle of Sydney's cultural calendar. Held biannually since 1973, the Biennale is one of the world's longest running biennales and occupies multiple venues including Cockatoo Island, listed under the UNESCO World-Heritage.

While Melbourne is known for its laneways filled with street art and graffiti, Sydney has a growing reputation for its public art spaces. For the 2004 Biennale of Sydney, Berlin-based American artist Jimmie Durham crushed a Ford Fiesta with a two-tonne quartz boulder (On Reason and Emotion [2004]). Originally displayed in the Sydney Opera House forecourt, the work is now permanently installed in the middle of a roundabout in Walsh Bay.

The City of Sydney also commissions a wide range of public art that encompasses fountains, monuments, sculptures, installations, street art and murals. Notable projects to date include Jenny Holzer's I STAY (Ngaya ngalawa) (2014), a 24-hour installation of text in English and First Nations languages; Chris Fox's impressive Interloop (2017) that reuses the old wooden escalators into a mind-bending installation at Wynyard station; and Tracey Emin's The Distance of your Heart (2018), made up of 67 tiny bronze birds perched on building window sills.

The city is also home to a variety of experimental and artist-run-initiatives that support emerging practitioners. Firstdraft, an artist-led organisation and the oldest of its kind in Sydney, has been the foundation of hundreds of artist's careers. More underground is Frontyard in Marrickville, a flexible community-run space that occupies the former Australia Council Research Library. Cement Fondu, one of Sydney's newest contemporary spaces, is situated in the old Stills Gallery space in Paddington. It runs an interesting program that brings together rising local artists with renowned international artists to build new relationships.

If looking to escape the city centre, there are many important galleries that can visited across Greater Sydney such as Campbelltown Art Centre, Blacktown Arts Centre and Casula Powerhouse.

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