Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Inner Sanctum

In response to the pandemic isolation of recent years, the 18th Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, on view at the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, from 1 March to 2 June 2024, offers a survey of contemporary art across the country that is introspective, reflective, and hopeful. Curated by Jose Da Silva, this year’s biennial edition, titled Inner Sanctum, focuses on artists and poets who explore the complexities of the human condition. The notion of the inner sanctum conjures up private or sacred spaces that we create and the faculty of the imagination that gives us the capacity to view culture and society differently.

Khaled Sabsabi, Knowing Beyond, 2024, ground coffee and synthetic polymer paint on canvas, ten parts: eight canvases 200 × 170cm and two canvases 170 × 155cm, one-channel UHD video, stereo, infinite loop © the artist. Photograph: Anna Kučera. Courtesy the artist, Milani Gallery, Meanjin/Brisbane and Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, South Australia

Artists include Clara Adolphs, James Barth, Christopher Bassi, Seth Birchall, Kaye Brown, Jacobus Capone, George Cooley, Ali Cobby Eckermann, Lawrence English, Ruha Fifita, Teelah George, Paul Knight, Kate Llewellyn x Adelaide Chamber Singers, Jessica Loughlin, Peter Maloney, Lillian O’Neil, Nik Pantazopoulos, Khaled Sabsabi, Marikit Santiago, Vivienne Shark LeWitt, Tina Stefanou, Heather B Swann, and Jasmine Togo-Brisby.

Highlights: George’s ongoing project, Sky piece, which maps the colour of the sky through large-scale embroideries; Sabsabi’s installation Knowing Beyond, 2024, comprising double-sided paintings made using coffee grounds which he describes as “a residue of memory”; Stefanou’s video installation Hym(e)nals, 2022, featuring young women and their retired horses communicating through non-verbal sounds and gestures; Capone’s video installation Forewarning (Act 1), 2023, showing the artist dragging a hunting knife across the face of a glacier in a tense and alarming acknowledgment of climate change and humanity’s imprint on nature; and Knight’s Naked Souls, 2023, assessing the limitations of artificial intelligence to comprehend human love by revealing an AI-generated conversation between two lovers.

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