Luise Guest

From this Author

What the Birds Knew

Ken and Julia Yonetani, ‘Crystal Palace: The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nuclear Nations (USA), 2012 , 2.1 X 1.6 metres, Chandelier frames, UV lights, electric components and uranium glass beads  Courtesy of the artists, Artereal Gallery, Sydney and GV Art, London  Photography: Zan Wimberley

In Kurosawa’s 1955 movie ‘I Live in Fear’ Toshiro Mifune plays an aging industrialist so frightened of a nuclear attack on Japan that he tries to move his entire family to Brazil, far away from radioactive fallout. If the birds knew what was coming, he says, they would fly away in terror. His children have him committed to a psychiatric institution. The alternative title for[.....]

18th Biennale of Sydney Part II: Cockatoo Island and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

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  Disembarking visitors to the 18th Biennale of Sydney at Cockatoo Island first encounter fog rising from a crevice between sandstone cliffs and the island’s abandoned buildings. A site-specific work by Fujiko Nakaya, it exemplifies the intentions of the artistic directors  - to open our senses to water, wind, and earth. Jonathan Jones, of the Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi nations, created a midden of oyster shells and porcelain teacups,  a poignant reference[.....]

18th Biennale of Sydney Part I: ‘all our relations’

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Initially I suspected the title of the 18th Biennale of Sydney, the trendily lower case ‘all our relations’, might be one of those curatorial conceits that work better as an intellectual device in the abstract than in the physical reality of the exhibition. I was wrong.  Joint artistic directors Catherine de Zegher and Gerald McMaster have successfully created a coherent and evocative series of narratives[.....]

Marking Time at the MCA

The revamped Museum of Contemporary Art Australia opened its doors with Marking Time, an exhibition exploring time, duration and mortality. Jim Campbell’s ‘Last Day in the Beginning of March 2003’, a reimagining of the last 24 hours in his brother’s life, is a transfixing experience. One enters the dark space into the sound of rain.  Pools of flickering light illuminate wall texts identifying single moments such as[.....]

Alchemy in Reverse: He Xiangyu’s ‘Cola Project’

Cola Project, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art,He Xiangyu

There are numerous contemporary works in which the artists’ choice of physical ‘matter’ contains within it their intended meaning. Xu Bing’s poignant ‘Where the Dust Itself Collects’ made from dust collected in the streets of Manhattan after the destruction of the twin towers falls into this category, as does Marc Quinn’s self-portrait made of 9 pints of the artist’s own frozen blood. Sydney artist Shoufay Derz[.....]

Down the Rabbit Hole

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Down the Rabbit Hole, the current exhibition in Sydney’s White Rabbit Gallery, explores familiar themes, such as the disjunction between appearance and reality, or between the real and the fake. Layers of the past and present, preoccupying so many artists, provide insights into the psychological whirlwind resulting from the pace of change in today’s China. Ideas about materialism, globalisation, wealth and power, corruption, and identity[.....]