Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Sydney Art Biennale 2010 - Cockatoo Island

The unrelenting autumn rain paused long enough for Maniac Two and me to take a trip to the Sydney Art Biennale. The intention was to do the whole Artwalk from Cockatoo Island to Artspace but the combination of our toddler walking pace and the immensity of the exhibition meant we spent the day at Cockatoo Island. Having never visited the island the experience was much like an art treasure hunt where art merges with non-art. I even caught myself marvelling at the rows upon rows of tents pondering its commentary on the military or identity. Later I was told by an official this is a permanent feature of the island where people come to... wait for it... camp. Apparently I was not the first to ask her if it was part of the show. This former imperial prison, industrial school, reformatory, gaol and shipyard makes a perfect setting for contemporary art. The ferry ride to the island created a sense of escapism which was elevated by the juxtaposition of historical relics and art. There were many memorizing exhibits but the one I was most taken with was 'The Feast of Trimalchio' by the Russian art group AES+F. It is a circular video installation in a warehouse at the furthest end of Cockatoo Island. I felt transported into another world of plastic decadence which left me pondering consumerism and tourism. Below is a taste of the exhibit.

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