Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Art Gallery of New South Wales

by Stephenie Cahalan

After the modern, casual and relaxed vibe of the MCA, then the gritty reinvention of Cockatoo Island, day three of our Sydney Biennale binge took us to the Art Gallery of New South Wales. It is a classical gallery, complete with stately facade and a charming, uniformed man in the cloakroom. It is orderly, earnest and heavy with the gravitas of an institution groaning under the weight of art of every era and provenance.

Here the Biennale does not take centre stage but shares the space with other visiting and permanent exhibitions. So does it suffer for being crammed in amongst many other outstanding and ferociously famous displays? I don't think so. The Biennale as found here at the AGNSW continues to offer an exciting journey into contemporary art, in so many thoughtful, creative, imaginative and downright clever forms.

Baby powder, embroidery, burnt microscopes, organic matter, rubber thongs, maps, more maps, digital imagery, sound and movement. Oceans, water, trees, migratory paths, ice, cities, river plains and dammed gorges. There is so much going on and I recall no piece of work that I walked away from without feeling a sense of profound respect for the artist.

Everything is going to be alright by Guido van der Werwe
So now that I have described three of the major Biennale venues, I feel like I can go back and revisit the details of the works. Where to begin…

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