The Perth Festival returns this summer, celebrating 66 years with a diverse program of theatre, circus, music, dance, film, literature and the visual arts – including seven Australian exclusives, nine world premieres, five Australian season premieres and nine new commissions – from 8 February to 3 March 2019.
The 2019 Visual Arts program highlights include: ‘Alchemic’, the first Australian exhibition by acclaimed Canadian transgender artist Cassils at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts featuring a series of bodies transformed by strict physical training regimes. Cassils’ artworks offer shared experiences for contemplating histories of violence, representation, struggle, and survival. Also on show at the gallery, ‘Lower Power’ by post-conceptual artist and experimental musician Marco Fusinato. The exhibition features new works from his Infinitive series of media images, in which a protagonist is brandishing a rock in the decisive moment of a riot. Fusinato will also present an improvised durational performance for guitar and mass amplification.
Ramesh Mario Ninthiyendran and Renee So delve into gender and power in ‘Idols’ at Fremantle Arts Centre. This exhibition explores idolatry and mythological archetypes in the ceramics and wall works of two artists of different backgrounds. South African video artist Candice Breitz uses Hollywood film stars Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin to expose our conflicted responses to the refugee crisis in ‘Refuge’ at John Curtin Gallery alongside Angelica Mesiti’s work Mother Tongue which reveals a very different but equally intimate portrayal of the refugee experience.
In ‘Love, Displaced’ at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, international and Australian video artists including the Russian collective AES+F, Jeremy Deller, Celia Bengolea, Richard Lewer, Christian Thompson, Jacobus Capone, Tracey Moffatt and Gary Hillberg explore modes of emotional engagement in a media-driven 21st century – empathy, connection to others and engagement with shared concerns are filtered through subjective social media platforms and 24-hour news cycles. Works in the exhibition dismantle fabricated, media-driven façades that inhibit empathy to foster an emotional engagement with insight into displacement caused by familial breakdown, racial or political oppression, and the loss of traditional culture.
To culminate the Art Gallery of WA’s six-year Kimberley visual arts project ‘Desert River Sea’, Perth Festival celebrates the rich Indigenous culture of the vast north of Western Australia, and the region’s diverse Indigenous peoples, who identify as desert people, river people or saltwater people.
Fremantle Arts Centre presents ‘A Dark and Quiet Place’ by London-based artist David Noonan – an immersive installation that invites viewers into an atmospheric ‘dark and quiet place’. Bringing together major new works rendered in film and tapestry, Noonan’s strangely cinematic and poetic world offers a meditative space of wonder and intrigue.
At Gallery Central, New Zealand artist Kate McIntosh invites us to join her ‘Worktable’, a live-art installation for one person at a time where we provide you with safety glasses and a hammer – and you do the rest. Inspired by Christchurch residents after the 2011 earthquake, ‘Worktable’ takes its cues from what you decide about how objects come apart and how they fit together.