2020 Adelaide Biennial artists announced in 30-year milestone exhibition

AGSA David Noonan, A Dark & Quiet Place, 2017The Art Gallery of South Australia has announced the artist line-up and the curatorial theme for the 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres.

Abdul Abdullah (NSW), Mike Bianco (WA), Polly Borland (VIC), Michael Candy (QLD), Megan Cope (VIC), Erin Coates and Anna Nazzari (WA), Julian Day (NSW), Karla Dickens (NSW), Mikala Dwyer (VIC), Brent Harris (VIC), Aldo Iacobelli (SA), Pierre Mukeba (SA), David Noonan (VIC), Mike Parr (NSW), Julia Robinson (SA), Yhonnie Scarce (SA/VIC), Garry Stewart and Australian Dance Theatre (SA), Stelarc (VIC), Kynan Tan (NSW), Mark Valenzuela (SA), Willoh S. Weiland (TAS), and Judith Wright (QLD).

The artists will create works across a wealth of mediums and disciplines including installation, painting, photography, sculpture, textiles, film, video and sound art, as well as performance and live art. In response to the curatorial premise, artists are invited to make visible the monsters of now.

“Monsters ask us to interrogate our relationships with each other, the environment and technology,” says Curator Leigh Robb. “They force us to question our empathy towards difference across race, gender, sexuality and spirituality. The term ‘monster’ comes from Latin monere, to warn, and monstrare, to make visible.”

“The exhibition title hints at a double narrative which also resonates through the multiple meanings of ‘theatre’. An operating ‘theatre’ is a room in which to examine as well as heal; it is also a ‘theatre’ of war, a site of conflict where clashes between nations and ideologies play out all too frequently, but a theatre is also an arena – a social space in which to observe and be observed. Monsters are always of their time,” added Robb.

There is a monster that hides at the conjunction of technology and humans,” says Artist Kynan Tan. “The movement of data is monstrous – an enormous, unseen spectre, dark and ominous.”

In 2020, the Adelaide Biennial celebrates a 30-year milestone as the nation’s longest-running curated survey of contemporary Australian art. Since 1990, as part of the Adelaide Festival, the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art has created career-defining opportunities for more than 460 artists, presented to close to one million visitors.

“The Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art has had an extraordinary impact over its 30 years in existence,” said AGSA Director Rhana Devenport ONZM. “The breadth of artistic practice as well as urgency and complexity of ideas explored through this exhibition play a crucial role in the national and international visual art conversation.”

“Being an artist, it’s a pretty solitary existence, and it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been at it, doubts are always present and so is the feeling of fragility,” said Artist Aldo Iacobelli. ” To be invited to participate in the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art is the most rewarding recognition and acknowledgement that my practice is contributing to the artistic discourse and preoccupations of Australian contemporary art.”

Presented throughout the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA), as well as partner venue Adelaide Botanic Gardens and its Museum of Economic Botany, the 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres will be presented from 29 February to 8 June as the key visual art offering of the Adelaide Festival. For more information, visit: www.agsa.sa.gov.au for details.

Image: David Noonan, A Dark & Quiet Place, 2017, London. High Definition Video, 28 mins – courtesy the artist and Roslyn Oxley9, Sydney, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne and Modern Art, London