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With less than two weeks before the 19th Biennale of Sydney commences, and the promise of a ‘greater’ and more ‘visually sublime’ curation, there is no limitation to feelings of excited anticipation!

The MCA will be among one of several hosts to showcase over 90 artists from the contemporary art world, encompassing this year’s theme and conception: ‘You Imagine What You Desire.’ The theme itself supports the notion of contemporary art’s tendency to linger between a gradient of idea and imagination over aesthetic. So what are we to expect and look forward to during this year’s Biennale? A mis en-scène of how absence is staged in a gallery context? Or perhaps a more sensual, haunting experience which puts into question our perceptions and ideas in an investigative manner?


The MCA along with the AGNSW, Artspace, Carriageworks and Cockatoo Island will house sculptures, visual mixed media and installations such as the work of Swiss artist Pipilotto Rist. Rist’s Mercy Garden Retour Skin (2014) will lead viewer’s into a carnal realm of perception-challenging technicolour light and vivid spectacles of colour. Large scale installations and sculptures which promise a meditative introspection will also allow audiences to create a cognitive dialogue between artwork and judgement.


Curator and artistic director, Juliana Engberg’s extensive blog project, Engberg On The Road chronicles her journey in cataloguing and developing the exhibition. It draws insight into her artistic inspirations and the process behind finding the right artists to communicate the challenge between art’s cultural modicum and issues of human consciousness. Giving a secretive glimpse into global art progression in regions such as Beijing, Vienna, Belfast and Hong Kong, Engberg’s collection of art gems aims to deliver and activate in audiences, a more creative trajectory response. A recent post in Engberg On The Road outlines a preview of some artists involved and includes the likes of Douglas Gordon, Tacita Dean, Eva Koch and Ross Manning. The list of names alone should have you contemporary art lovers feeling aglow with high-spirited delight!

With its attention on the imaginative, the 19th Biennale of Sydney promises to deliver a contemporary aesthetic experience which formulates its basis in poesis and a metaphoric visual language. It will engage with viewers and draw questions into why artists today must keep pushing the artistic pathway onto a passage of psychological and cognitive relevance. Perhaps its most important dialogue is that relevant art should never be disunited from a cultural conscience, and in its universality should create a futuristic vision - a poignant reminder that all future visions do in fact begin in the realm of imagination.

The 19th Biennale of Sydney: You Imagine What You Desire will be open to the public from the 21st of March and will end on the 9th of June 2014.

For more information visit:


the 19th biennale of sydney

BY ADWENA SHEmon - march 9 2014

Mircea Cantor, Sic Transit Gloria Mundi, 2012 (video still), HD video, 4 mins. Courtesy the artist; Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris; Dvir Gallery, Tel Aviv; and Magazzino, Rome.
Sound: Semantron of Putna Monastery.

Deborah Kelly, The Magdalenes (Praise), 2012, archival print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag paper with collage, 206.5 x 112 cm. Courtesy the artist and Gallery Barry Keldoulis, Sydney.
Photograph: Alex Wisser

Douglas Gordon, Phantom, 2011 (video still), stage, screen, a black Steinway piano, a burned Steinway piano and monitor, dimensions variable. Courtesy lost but found; Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris; and Rufus Wainwright, ‘All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu’ used courtesy Decca Label Group. Copyright © lost but found; Rufus Wainwright; and VG Bild-Kunst, Germany (2013)

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