Deutsche Bank Is Now Major Partner of the
Sydney Biennale

Once again, the current edition of the Sydney Biennale shows why the exhibition is considered the most important platform for contemporary art in the Asian Pacific region. Curator Mami Kataoka invited 70 artists and collectives from 35 countries to work on ideas for the present based on the motto “Superposition.” The result is a show about the world we live in that’s both discursive and sensual. Kataoka, head curator at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo since 2003, borrowed the term “superposition” from quantum physics; it designates a layering of forces and waves. Kataoka is interested both in the layering of various cultures and in their different ways of regarding nature, the world, and the cosmos, all of which can coexist equally. Their exhibition is on view at seven locations around the city, and admission is free. Deutsche Bank has been committed to the Sydney Biennale since 2008; this year, it supports it as Major Partner. With Haegue Yang, Miriam Cahn, Wong Hoy Cheong, and Michaël Borremans, important positions in the Deutsche Bank Collection are also represented in the exhibition.  

The spectrum of Biennale works extends from  Eija-Liisa Ahtila's interactive video installation Potentiality for Love, in which the Finnish artist calls for more love and empathy, to the printing workshop Ciara Phillips set up in the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. The Canadian artist works with a wide range of social groups here—from school classes and traumatized Afghan women to the staff of  Jessie Street National Women’s Library. In the process, Phillips is not merely interested in the social aspect of her project, but in questions of authorship and the artist’s role. The work of the Japanese artist Akira Takayama presents itself as an homage to multicultural Sydney. Takayama filmed the city’s inhabitants singing a song each in the language of their ancestors—from Gadigal, a language of the Australian aborigines, to Yiddish, Arabic, and Dutch. The songs merge to form a moving panorama of cultures and emotions.

The highlight of the Sydney Biennale, however, is Ai Weiwei's Law of the Journey, an approximately 70-meter-long black inflatable dinghy in which over 250 larger-than-life-sized black figures are seated. These are people fleeing, in search for a safe place for themselves and their families. Before it embarked on its journey to Sydney, the boat was on view in the Czech National Gallery in Prague, the capital of a country that refuses to admit any refugees whatsoever. Law of the Journey is a monument to humanity, which is once again at stake—in Europe as well as in Australia, which is also increasingly closing its doors to refugees.

Sydney Biennale
through 6/11/2018