The country’s longest-standing survey of contemporary Australian Art.

In 2020, the Adelaide Biennial celebrates a 30-year milestone as the nation’s longest-running curated survey of contemporary Australian art. Since 1990, the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art has created career-defining opportunities for more than 350 artists and presented to close to one million visitors .

Titled Monster Theatres, the 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art invites artists to make visible the monsters of our time. Curator Leigh Robb says ‘Monsters ask us to interrogate our relationships with each other, the environment and technology. They force us to question our empathy towards difference across race, gender, sexuality and spirituality'.

The term ‘monster’ comes from Latin monere, to warn, and monstrare, to show or make visible. The exhibition title hints at a double narrative which also resonates through the multiple meanings of ‘theatre’. An operating theatre is a room in which to examine, dissect as well as heal; it is also a theatre of war, a site of conflict where clashes between nations and ideologies play out all too frequently, but a theatre is also an arena – an active social space.

Curator Leigh Robb says 'Monster Theatres proposes an arena of speculation, a circus of the unorthodox and the absurd, a shadow play between truth and fiction. The title is inspired by a group of provocative Australian artists. Their urgent works of art are warnings made manifest. These theatres are theirs.’

Curator

Leigh Robb, Curator of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of South Australia

Artists

Abdul Abdullah, APHIDS, Mike Bianco, Polly Borland, Michael Candy, Megan Cope, Erin Coates and Anna Nazzari, Julian Day, Karla Dickens, Mikala Dwyer, Brent Harris, Aldo Iacobelli, Pierre Mukeba, David Noonan, Mike Parr, Julia Robinson, Yhonnie Scarce, Stelarc, Garry Stewart and Australian Dance Theatre, Kynan Tan, Mark Valenzuela, Willoh S. Weiland and Judith Wright

Presented 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 and advisory body and by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

Principal Donor
  • The Balnaves Foundation
  • Australia Council for the Arts
  • Adelaide Festival
  • City of Adelaide
  • EY
  • Lipman Karas Logo

Reclining Stickman is undergoing regular scheduled maintenance and may be offline over the next 24 hours.

Photo By Jen Dainer, Industrial Arc

Claire G. Coleman, I, Monster

Read Claire G. Coleman's essay for Monster Theatres.

Abdul Abdullah with his work Understudy, 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; photo: Saul Steed.

Abdul Abdullah

performance still: APHIDS, Australia, est. 1994, Howl (Jason Wing, Australia was Stolen by Armed Robbery), 2018, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Perth; © the artists/APHIDS, photo: Bryony Jackson.

Mike Bianco with his work Anthrocomb, 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres; photo: Saul Steed.

Mike Bianco

installation view: 2020 Adelaide Biennial of a Australian Art: Monster Theatres featuring Morph by Polly Borland, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; photo: Saul Steed.

Polly Borland

Michael Candy with his work Big Dipper, 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres; photo: Saul Steed.

Michael Candy

Erin Coates, Australia, born 1977 and Anna Nazzari, Australia, born 1976, Internal Interior, 2019, Perth, silicon, ceramic, hair, sperm whale tooth, wood, paper; © Erin Coates/Anna Nazzari

Erin Coates and Anna Nazzari

installation view: 2020 Adelaide Biennial of a Australian Art: Monster Theatres featuring Untitled (Death Song) by Megan Cope , Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; photo: Saul Steed.

Megan Cope

still: Julian Day, Australia, Hill & Son Organ, 2020 Barossa Regional Gallery; courtesy the Barossa Council South Australia, © Julian Day, photo: Nathaniel Mason.

Julian Day

Karla Dickens with her work A Dickensian Circus: Clown Nation, 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres; photo: Saul Steed.

Karla Dickens

Photo: Saul Steed.

Mikala Dwyer

installation view: 2020 Adelaide Biennial of a Australian Art: Monster Theatres featuring works by Brent Harris, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; photo: Saul Steed.

Brent Harris

Aldo Iacobelli; photo: Saul Steed.

Aldo Iacobelli

installation view: 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres featuring Kitenge (Part 1) & (Part 2) by Pierre Mukeba, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; photo: Saul Steed.

Pierre Mukeba

photo: Saul Steed.

David Noonan

performance still: Mike Parr, Australia, born 1945, Reading for the end of time, 2020, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; © Mike Parr/Anna Schwartz Gallery, photo: Nicholas Muecke.

Mike Parr

installation view: 2020 Adelaide Biennial of a Australian Art: Monster Theatres featuring Beatrice by Julia Robinson, Santos Museum of Economic Botany; photo: Saul Steed.

Julia Robinson

Yhonnie Scarce with her work In the Dead House, 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres; photo: Saul Steed.

Yhonnie Scarce

Stelarc with his work Reclining Stickman, 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres; photo: Saul Steed.

Stelarc

performance still: Garry Stewart and Australian Dance Theatre, Australia, est. 1965, Supernature, first development, dancer Christopher Mills; © Garry Stewart/Australian Dance Theatre, Adelaide

Garry Stewart and Australian Dance Theatre

installation view: 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres featuring Computer Learns Automation (Ride Share, Drone Strike and Robot Arm) by Kynan Tan, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide;, photo: Saul Steed.

Kynan Tan

installation view: 2020 Adelaide Biennial of a Australian Art: Monster Theatres featuring Once bitten, twice shy by Mark Valenzuela, Art Gallery of South Australia; photo: Saul Steed.

Mark Valenzuela

photo: Saul Steed.

Willoh S. Weiland

Judith Wright with her work Tales of Enchantment, 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres; photo: Saul Steed.

Judith Wright

Art Gallery of South Australia

North Terrace, Adelaide

Grand Lodge Of Freemasons SA & NT

North Terrace, Adelaide

Adelaide Botanic Garden

Adelaide Botanic Gardens

North Terrace, Adelaide

Installation view: 2018 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Divided Worlds featuring works by Tamara Dean, Museum of Economic Botany, Adelaide Botanic Gardens, Adelaide.

Museum of Economic Botany

Adelaide Botanic Garden, North Terrace, Adelaide

Vernissage Weekend
28 Feb - 1 Mar 2020

still: Julian Day, Australia, Hill & Son Organ, 2020 Barossa Regional Gallery; courtesy the Barossa Council South Australia, © Julian Day, photo: Nathaniel Mason.