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Dreams and Utopias - Deutsche Bank a Partner of the 19th Biennale of Sydney


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Dreams and Utopias
Deutsche Bank a Partner of the 19th Biennale of Sydney

The 19th Biennale of Sydney presents itself as a celebration of artistic imagination. Juliana Engberg, artistic director of the 12-week-long show, promises an optimistic biennale free from easily consumable spectacle or end time visions. Indeed, the curator has called upon international artists to daydream—and to conjure up their very own utopias. Consequently, the exhibition’s programmatic title is You Imagine What You Desire. Engberg is keen to “inspire younger generations to feel they have some power over the way their environment is shaped (…), that they can be forces for positive change.” Deutsche Bank was also convinced by Engberg’s concept and decided to once again support, as a “major partner,” what is probably the most important art event in the Asian Pacific. Deutsche Bank has been supporting contemporary art in Sydney for over ten years and has been co-funding the Biennale there since 2010. Founded in 1973, the show is the first biennale worldwide to depart from the concept of the national pavilion and to establish itself as a platform for individual artists. And it’s been a huge success—in 2012, the Biennale of Sydney attracted more than 665,000 visitors, all of whom were able to enjoy the exhibition free of charge.

For this year’s show, Engberg invited more than 90 artists from 31 nations to the Australian metropolis. The focus is on performance works that take place in public space. For his work Let’s Change It All, the Polish artist Hubert Czerepok has children demonstrating with positive slogans, while Lithuanian artist Eglé Budvytytė caricatures stereotypical gender roles right in the middle of the Central Business District: sixteen men jog through the streets, and at certain intervals they assume the seductive poses ordinarily reserved in the media for women. The Canadian artist duo Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller have created a commissioned work for the Biennale: at twilight, they send visitors on a Video Walk through the historical harbor district “The Rock.” Via smart phone app or a media player, they navigate visitors through the labyrinth of cobblestoned streets—sending them on an excursion in which reality and fiction are superimposed.

As part of the program, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia offers a selection of film works. Along with Douglas Gordon’s video installation Phantom, which the Briton created in collaboration with the singer Rufus Wainwright, another commissioned work can also be seen here: Pipilotti Rist’s Mercy Garden Retour Skin. While Gordon uses elegiac black and white images to conjure up an atmosphere of grief and loss, Rist creates the exact opposite: a feel-good world made up of light and bright colors.

In June, at the conclusion of the Biennale, things will get very emotional once more:  the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and a women’s choir will accompany a screening of The End, Henrik Håkansson’s 35mm film about the life and death of a house fly. As absurd as that might at first sound—Håkansson succeeds in turning it into a deeply moving experience.

19th Biennale of Sydney
3/21 – 6/9/2014

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