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.'


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


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

Claire G. Coleman, I, Monster

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

Abdul Abdullah

Mike Bianco

Polly Borland

Michael Candy

Erin Coates and Anna Nazzari

Megan Cope

Julian Day

Karla Dickens

Mikala Dwyer

Brent Harris

Aldo Iacobelli

Pierre Mukeba

David Noonan

Mike Parr

Julia Robinson

Yhonnie Scarce


Garry Stewart and Australian Dance Theatre

Kynan Tan

Mark Valenzuela

Willoh S. Weiland

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

Museum of Economic Botany

Adelaide Botanic Garden, North Terrace, Adelaide

Vernissage Weekend
28 Feb - 1 Mar 2020