The 24th Biennale of Sydney (in its 50th year) which will open next March is all about excess. Ten Thousand Suns is its name, reflecting “a multiplicity of perspectives, cosmologies and ways of life” according to its two Artistic Directors, Cosmin Costinas and Inti Guerrero. 88 artists and collectives from 47 countries will make the journey here – with a significant number crossing the Pacific from the two AD’s South America. And the Indigenous of the world will be well represented thanks to the Fondation Cartier pour lárt Contemporain in Paris – which has commission works from 14 of them.
It’s also employed Australia’s busiest First Nations artist, Tony Albert to nurture their works into existence as their Curatorial Fellow. In Australia, he’ll be working with Martu woman Doreen Chapman, Murri Megan Cope, Yankunytjatjara’s Kaylene Whiskey, Tiwi+ Yangamini, TSI’s Dylan Mooney and Bardi man Darrell Sibisado. From South America he has Christina Flores Pescoran, Freddy Mamani and Orchideas Barrileteras. From Aotearoa there are John Pule and a team lead by Nikau Hindin; and from India there’s Baiga woman Mangala Bai Maravi. The Navajo artist Eric-Paul Riege completes the picture. But the 14th – so far unannounced but revealed by Albert – will be TSI’s Gail Mabo with her star-map works somehow transported on to the Opera House roofs.
Quite a handful for one man – though it has to be recalled that Albert started his career as a trainee curator at the Queensland Art Gallery with special reference to its relationship with its artists. “I didn’t choose the artists in the Biennale, of course”, Albert told me, “but they can all turn to me when any trouble-shooting’s required. And part of my job is to make sure their works live on – hopefully going on to the Fondation in Paris, maybe re-commissioning them, involving international travel for the artists. There’s a new Fondation museum launching next year”.
As the Fondation is involved in a four-year partnership with the BOS, this all sounds eminently possible. In fact, they were also involved in the 2022 Biennale in that they toured the Great Animal Orchestra electronic tent show into that. Then they took a mighty Sally Gabori show to Paris and Milan (and it still has en excellent catalogue online). And they’ve connected a number of times with Aussie expat sculptor, Ron Mueck, touring shows in 2005 and ‘13 and again this year, when a monograph comes out.
In fact the Fondation Cartier, founded in 1984, has been touring art since 1988, including such names as Herb Ritts, Andy Warhol, Issy Miyake, Damien Hirst and Aussie designer Marc Newsom. They’ve also displayed both an environmental and an architectural bent, featuring their own museum’s architect Jean Nouvel.
Outside the Fondation commissions, other Australian Indigenous artists involved in BOS24 include the late Rover Thomas and Robert Campbelll Jnr; the old man of Meriam Mer, Segar Passi; fellow Torresian James Eseli, the Yolngu nation’s Dhopiya Yunupingu, Waanyi’s Gordon Hookey, Noongar man Christopher Pease, Melbourne’s Destiny Deacon and Wiradjuri man Joel Sherwood. I make that a solid 15 plus Tracey Moffatt.
Big things are expected – for the official launch was in the newly restored White Bay Power Station which used to belch out CO2 to run the trams out to Parramatta. Now its grimy 38 metre walls, retained boilers and steam turbines with stunningly erect chimneys will attempt not to dwarf the art of Dylan Mooney and Darrell Sibisado amongst others, while also reflecting a new side of the BOS for next year – regular music and dance performances.
It’ll be party time in Sydney, March to June next year.
Artist: Tony Albert, Doreen Chapman, Megan Cope, Kaylene Whiskey, Yangamini, Dylan Mooney, Darrell Sibisado, Gail Mabo, Sally Gabori, Rover Thomas, Robert Campbelll Jnr, Segar Passi, James Eseli, Dhopiya Yunupingu, Gordon Hookey, Christopher Pease, Destiny Deacon, Joel Sherwood,
Tags: Biennale of Sydney , christopher pease , Cosmin Costinaș , Darrell Sibisado , destiny deacon , Dhopiya Yunupingu , Doreen Chapman , Dylan Mooney , Fondation Cartier , Gail Mabo , gordon hookey , Inti Guerrero , James Eseli , Jeremy Eccles , Joel Sherwood , Kaylene Whiskey , Megan Cope , Robert Campbelll Jnr , rover thomas , sally gabori , Segar Passi , tony albert , Yangamini ,