The country’s longest-standing survey of contemporary Australian Art.
Titled Divided Worlds, the 2018 Adelaide Biennial presents an allegory of human society, one that meditates on the drama of the cosmos and evolution; on the past and the future; and on beauty and the environment.
2018 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art curator, Erica Green, says, ‘Divided Worlds, recognises that we live in troubled times. However, rather than foretelling conflict, my focus has been on assembling an exhibition that celebrates the enduring role of art and culture. Divided Worlds offers an opportunity to experience an alternative dimension – one where “difference” is the natural order of things, and a strength to be celebrated.’
Erica Green, Director, Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art
Lisa Adams, Vernon Ah Kee, Roy Ananda, Daniel Boyd, Kristian Burford, Maria Fernanda Cardoso, Barbara Cleveland, Kirsten Coelho, Sean Cordeiro + Claire Healy, Tamara Dean, Tim Edwards, Emily Floyd, Hayden Fowler, Julie Gough, Ghostpatrol David Booth, Amos Gebhardt, Timothy Horn, Louise Hearman, Ken Sisters, Lindy Lee, Khai Liew, Angelica Mesiti, Patricia Piccinini, Pip + Pop, Patrick Pound, Khaled Sabsabi, Nike Savvas, Christian Thompson, John R Walker and Douglas Watkin.
Presented in partnership with the Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, UniSA, in association with the Adelaide Festival, and with generous support received from the Art Gallery of South Australia Biennial Ambassadors Program and Principal Donor The Balnaves Foundation.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding body and by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.
Lisa Adams’s paintings are rich imaginary constructions, full of theatrical devices and props, which are essential to the dramatic finale.
Vernon Ah Kee
With his incisive text-based art, Vernon fills gaping holes in the arts and the body politic, both of which are presently bereft of critical discourse.
Ananda’s ‘Thin walls between dimensions’ celebrates the iconic role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons – purpose-designed as the basement entry to the Gallery’s sprawling Adelaide Biennial.
In ‘History is Made at Night’, it’s easy to imagine a young Daniel Boyd spending hours star gazing at the billions of moons from the beach esplanade and tidal flats of Giangurra.
Burford’s work ‘Cell’ comprises a group of three female beings, each around two-and-a-half metres high. Their formation presents a ritual of resurrection.
Maria Fernanda Cardoso
In 'Naked Flora', Cardoso’s exploration of the reproductive morphology of flowering plants treats sex and reproduction not as taboo topics but purely as the facts of the science of nature.
'Bodies in Time' attends to the blind spots and biases that haunt art history and suggests the possibilities for ‘doing history’ differently, using performance as both material and method.
Kirsten Coelho’s ceramic vessels are almost hyper-real in their stillness and serenity.
Sean Cordeiro and Claire Healy
In ‘We Hunt Mammoth’, the entirety of a Honda car has been broken down to 121 individual components, each part tied in jute and bamboo, a traditional Japanese method of packaging.
Intrigued by the natural cycles of life and death, nature and spirituality, and the role ritual plays in our lives, Tamara Dean creates works of art that investigate the world around her.
Edwards draws incessantly, filling notebooks with observations of objects, and shapes and patterns in nature, but also with possible glass vessels, drawn in lead pencil or black pen.
'Icelandic Puffins' draws attention to the case of Iceland, a country whose citizens experienced the Global Financial Crisis of 2008−09 as a very real catastrophe.
‘Eel Song’ makes explicit reference to the threatened extinction of animals – in this case the once-abundant eels of New Zealand’s rivers and creeks.
Julie Gough’s investigations into history observe and expose the arbitrary distinctions made between art, anthropology and their institutions.
Ghostpatrol David Booth
Through drawings, paintings and sculpture, Booth has posited a fictional space occupied by characters and scenes from across history, fantasy, nature and his own lived experience.
In ‘Divided Worlds’, Gebhardt immerses the viewer in a square room with four large projects, each holding a familiar Australian landscape.
Timothy Horn’s virtuosity recalls those baroque artisans and collectors who, in their folly, sought to disfigure and exceed nature.
The power of Hearman’s pictures lies in the way they move us emotionally: while we may never comprehend exactly what we are seeing, we can feel their impact in our body and mind.
The Ken sisters form part of the desert art tradition, a distinct lineage formed initially by women, under the name of Minymaku Arts just twenty years ago in the APY Lands.
Visible by day and night, Lee’s six-metre sculpture 'The Life of Stars' appears both to contain and radiate light.
In Liew’s work for 'Divided Worlds', the traditional measure of furniture’s ‘usefulness’ becomes a matter of abstraction.
'Mother Tongue' creates a new kind of ensemble for Denmark, one comprised of ancient and contemporary rhythms, traditional and unconventional songs, and personal feats.
Distinct from her sculptures in the round, Patricia Piccinini’s ‘paintings’ featuring silicone and hair grow directly from her drawings and as such are the most immediate of her works.
Pip & Pop
For Divided Worlds, Pip & Pop – who typically creates immersive large-scale installations – inhabits a cave-like void, positioned in a narrow gap between two exhibition spaces.
In a diverse range of portraits and figure paintings, Pound found commonality in the simple gesture of ‘pointing’.
‘99 Names’ is the culmination of a series created by Sabsabi over a decade, documenting the horrific consequences of armed conflict.
Moments are fragmented and reflected by each of the thousands of perspex mirrors, strung to create a tremendous tinsel curtain that sparkles as a result of light and location.
An artist of Bidjara heritage, Thompson incorporates his father’s officially ‘endangered’ language into his soundscape and film works.
John R Walker
Walker’s profound engagement with landscape has been a key to his artistic practice since he moved from Sydney to Braidwood in country New South Wales in December 2002.