Xlll Bienal de Cuenca: Mutable Art in a materialistic society – Impermanencia

Janet Laurence in the studio

The ‘Bienal de Cuenca’ presented at the Salon del Pueblo in Ecuador is one of the oldest visual art events across the Americas. For the first time, the Bienal will include a satellite exhibition featuring four Australian artists; Reko Rennie, Maria Fernanda Cardoso, Janet Laurence, and Caroline Rothwell, alongside Latin American and European artists.

This is an important development between Australian and Latin American artists to encourage future cross-cultural exchange, to place Australian artists on the Ecuadorian map and introduce them to curators, collectors, and media from the United States, Latin America, Canada and Europe.

‘Frágil’ curator Natalia Bradshaw, says, “There is an overall elegance consistent in the four installations in ‘Frágil’; I chose the artists specifically based on how they work and what they work with, as well as their relevance to the Bienal’s overall theme of ‘Impermanence’.”

Rennie presents the centrepiece for the Australian Pavilion with his suspended banner. Amid colourful geometric and camouflage patterning his powerful words, ‘I was always here’, will evoke a deep understanding with Ecuador’s own Indigenous peoples. Cardosa, inspired by the animal kingdom will premiere new video works of tiny male spiders performing dance rituals to woo a female mate. Incorporating sound and vibration, this work will be experienced from a purpose-built viewing platform.

Rothwell showcases sculptures, and large photographic prints on sheer voile that cascade from ceiling to floor, and Laurence presents a collection of medicinal plants from Ecuador’s local environment alongside various laboratory apparatus, layed out on long tables veiled under shear white fabric.

“The works will resonate exceptionally in the beautiful Salon del Pueblo, one of Cuenca’s special colonial buildings”, says Bradshaw.

Salon del Pueblo
22 October to 31 December, 2016

Janet Laurence in the studio
Photograph: Fabian Jensch
Courtesy the artist