TarraWarra Biennial: Endless Circulation

Vincent Namatjira Queen Elizabeth and Captain Cook, 2015Inaugurated in 2006 as a platform for identifying new trends in contemporary Australian art through an experimental curatorial platform, the 5th TarraWarra Biennial is currently on display until 6 November 2016.

The starting point for the 5th Biennial at TarraWarra Museum of Art is a curatorial collaboration between the biennial and an art journal. Director Victoria Lynn, is working with Helen Hughes and the Melbourne based Discipline journal to create an exhibition that will consider the structural principles of the edition, circulation, dispersion and continuity.

Entitled Endless Circulation, the biennial and Discipline will be presented as intertwined platforms, bringing together a range of works that explore continuity by bringing their past and future into the same frame, as well as projects that are predicated on their centrifugal circulation outside the parameters of traditional art spaces.

“Both biennials and journals take the form of an edition,” says Lynn and Hughes. “They are continuous, one edition after another, but punctuated by pauses. As well as being additive or iterative, biennials and journals produce contrasting modes of circulation.”

“Where biennials typically bring artists and artworks from all around the world to one place for a designated period of time (a centripetal movement), journals disperse – they move away from their site of origin through postal systems, emails and downloads (a centrifugal movement).”

Many works featured in the exhibition use these methods to unveil aspects of Australia’s colonial history and its persistence in the present; others reveal the social, economic and political histories of their own making, or attempt to anticipate their future trajectories – travelling through the marketplace, gradually adapting to new contexts, or degrading over time.

The participating artists include: 3-Ply with Centre for Style; Vernon Ah Kee; Robert Andrew; Burchill/McCamley; Susan Cohn; Sarah crowEST; Saskia Doherty; Debris Facility; Alicia Frankovich; Brian Fuata; Agatha Gothe-Snape; Newell Harry; Bianca Hester; Christopher LG Hill; Biljana Jancic; Helen Johnson; Julia McInerney; Vincent Namatjira; Ryan Presley; Eugenia Raskopolous; Masato Takasaka; James Tylor; and Wukun Wanambi.

Exhibition Highlights include: Christopher LG Hill’s artist-facilitated biennial (commenced in 2008), and the annual publication Endless Lonely Planet (commenced in 2012). Hill’s artist-facilitated biennials are independent, DIY variations on the popular international phenomenon of biennial culture. Wukun Wanambi will present Nhina, Nhäma, Ga Ngäma (Sit, Look, And, Listen), a film collage comprising six vertical poles each of which depicts Yolngu ceremonies on country from the 1920s up until today. It is a temporally complex document of one the oldest continuous cultures on earth.

Julia McInerney melts down metal objects, such as brass bells and anchors, then turns them into new sculptural objects whose poetic resonances are contingent on holding in tension the memory of their past form within their current form, while Masato Takasaka recycles previous artworks and objects from his studio—reassembling them to create new works and thereby creating a weird and hermetic circularity between past, present and future.

The publishing project 3-ply and the fashion project Centre for Style are collaborating for the first time to launch a new magazine titled HEROES, which will explore the notion of Fanfiction in its inaugural issue, conflating economies of speed, visceral self-design, and personal canonisation. The issue will also include a feature Heroes collection, commissioned from Jessie Kiely and presented by Monica’s Gallery, with debut catwalk performance at the opening of Endless Circulation.

Utilising nineteenth-century photographic techniques, such as daguerreotype and tin-type, to image processes of colonisation, James Tylor’s series, DeCookalisation appropriates images found on the internet that document places in the Moananui a Kiwa (Pacific Ocean) region that have been named after Captain James Cook.

Terra Botanica explores the legacy of the English botanist Sir Joseph Banks, who decided which areas of Aotearoa and Australia would be the most suitable for colonisation. The vivid reflective qualities of the metal leave the viewer half-staring at the image, and half-staring at themselves – implicating them in the process of surveying that is strongly associated with that of colonisation.

The 5th TarraWarra Biennial: Endless Circulation is on display until 6 November 2016. For more information, visit: www.twma.com.au for details.

Image: Vincent Namatjira, Queen Elizabeth and Captain Cook, 2015 (detail). Acrylic on canvas, 91 x 122 cm, courtesy of the artist and THIS IS NO FANTASY + dianne tanzer gallery