The Sydney Festival has transformed the city with a diverse program of music, cabaret, circus, dance, theatre and visual art and although it draws to a close this Sunday 27 January a few exhibitions have recently opened and will continue well into coming months.
‘Just not Australian’ at Artspace until Sunday 31 March explores the origins and implications of Australian identity and national mythology through the frames of immigration, satire, larrikinism and resistance. The works in the exhibition engage critically with this moment in Australian history and the politically-loaded public discourse around what it means to be ‘unAustralian’. Artists include: Abdul Abdullah, Hoda Afshar, Tony Albert, Cigdem Aydemir, Liam Benson, Eric Bridgeman, Jon Campbell, Karla Dickens, Fiona Foley, Gordon Hookey, Richard Lewer, Archie Moore, Vincent Namatjira, Nell, Raquel Ormella, Ryan Presley, Joan Ross, Soda_Jerk and Tony Schwensen.
360-degree video projections morph and change in response to live performances of classical and electronic music in ‘Immerse’ at the University of Technology Sydney, from 23 to 25 January. Each musical work, performed by Thomas Rann, James Wannan, Robert Sazdov, and Felicity Wilcox, prompts projections of distinct visual worlds that increase in complexity and intensity, created by interaction designers Matt Hughes, Adam Bursill and Jaime Garcia. The visuals change in response to the sound and performance, culminating in full immersion into a unique world of sound, music and colour.
‘T5 Tank Sound Project’ comprises four new site-specific artworks – by renowned Sydney-based sound artists Chris Caines and Gail Priest, and experimental, multi-disciplinary artists David Haines and Joyce Hinterding – at a massive decommissioned military fuel tank hidden in Mosman from 23 to 27 January. Now restored, the T5 Tank provides artists with a unique canvas and extraordinary acoustic possibilities for a site-specific sound and performance project that immerses the listener in a moving, sometimes overwhelming, sonic response to this extraordinary site, its dark history and its myriad possibilities.
‘Xiao Lu: Impossible Dialogue 肖鲁:语嘿’ at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art until Sunday 24 March, examines Xiao Lu’s creative interest in deep emotion, extreme action, and chance. Spanning a period of 30 years, the exhibition presents significant performance works by Xiao Lu including a new commission that explores the artist’s ongoing connection to Australia.
Step up to artist Ryan Presley’s ‘Blood Money Currency Exchange Terminal’, where you can swap your Australian dollars for ‘Blood Money’ (AKA limited edition prints) at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) from 21 to 28 January – the latest in a series of works exploring contemporary Australian history through the lens of important Aboriginal figures, with valuable lessons to teach on the legacies of dispossession and oppression.
‘The Ropes: Amrita Hepi X Adrian Piper’ at Cement Fondu until Sunday 24 February explores cultural resilience and continuity through dance, gesture, video and performance. Audiences are invited into a deeply affecting and visceral engagement with Blak and Pacific experience as Hepi evokes how rhythm, rhyme and the body carry self-expression and cultural celebration as well as political and social turbulence. Presented alongside Hepi’s works is a selection of videos by American conceptual artist and philosopher Adrian Piper, whose influential practice has over decades revisited how art and dance can together bridge cultural, social and racial divides.
For a complete list of exhibitions, as well as other events, please visit sydneyfestival.org.au