Pre­view: Tar­raWarra Bi­en­nial

Artist Profile - - CONTENTS - OWEN CRAVEN

THE TAR­RAWARRA BI­EN­NIAL 2014, en­ti­tled Whis­per in My Mask is cu­rated by Natalie King and Djon Mun­dine and marks the fourth it­er­a­tion of a sig­na­ture event on the na­tional ex­hi­bi­tion cal­en­dar for the pri­vate mu­seum in ru­ral Vic­to­ria. This it­er­a­tion is the first time that the Tar­raWarra Bi­en­nial has been cu­rated by a col­lab­o­ra­tive duo, which is com­prised of both an In­dige­nous and non-In­dige­nous cu­ra­tor. King and Mun­dine have worked to­gether pre­vi­ous and, fol­low­ing on from the suc­cess­ful tour of their 2012/13 Asialink ex­hi­bi­tion Shad­owlife to Tai­wan, Sin­ga­pore, Bangkok and Bendigo, the pair have joined forces to pull to­gether this im­pres­sive and di­verse ar­ray of con­tem­po­rary art. In­au­gu­rated in 2006 to iden­tify new de­vel­op­ments in con­tem­po­rary art prac­tice, the Bi­en­nial al­lows artists to present new work at the unique Tar­raWarra Mu­seum of Art, high­light­ing piv­otal as­pects of Aus­tralian prac­tice un­der an ex­per­i­men­tal cu­ra­to­rial plat­form. Tar­raWarra Mu­seum of Art Direc­tor, Vic­to­ria Lynn, says, “The Tar­raWarra Bi­en­nial, one of only two bi­en­ni­als of Aus­tralian art held in this coun­try, is ded­i­cated to show­cas­ing con­tem­po­rary and in­no­va­tive works by Aus­tralian artists. The fourth Tar­raWarra Bi­en­nial pro­vides vis­i­tors with the op­por­tu­nity to wit­ness a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of In­dige­nous artists along­side their non-In­dige­nous con­tem­po­raries”. Tak­ing a line from the evoca­tive song ‘Art Groupie’ (1984) by singer, ac­tress and model Grace Jones, the ti­tle of this year’s Bi­en­nial, Whis­per in my Mask, sig­nals an ex­plo­ration of mask­ing, se­crets and hid­den nar­ra­tives as psy­cho­log­i­cal states: Touch Me in a Pic­ture, Wrap Me in a Cast, Kiss Me in a Sculp­ture, Whis­per in My Mask (Art Groupie, Grace Jones, 1984) The mask in its mul­ti­far­i­ous forms and func­tions can both re­veal and con­ceal per­sonas: it can pro­tect, beau­tify, frighten or pacify, uni­ver­salise or eter­nalise, in­ten­si­fy­ing and am­pli­fy­ing ex­pres­sion. In a se­lec­tion of works that elicit an emo­tional and sen­sory re­sponse, the Bi­en­nial re­turns us to hu­man senses and the Abo­rig­i­nal Djam­bar­rpuyngu peo­ple’s palate, ex­pe­ri­enced on a scale from ‘monuk’ (salt) to rap­ine (sweet). More­over, mask­ing sug­gests al­tered states of reverie and oth­er­world­li­ness in­ter­twined with hid­den nar­ra­tives, lo­cal mys­ter­ies and para­psy­chol­ogy. The idea of dis­guise is also ex­plored and man­i­fests it­self through the no­tions of trac­ing, in­scrip­tion, era­sure, se­crets, cam­ou­flage, whis­per­ings, dream­ings and sub­terfuge. Each of these ideas are in­te­gral themes that the Bi­en­nial uses as trig­ger points – in­cor­po­rat­ing a range of art­works made in a va­ri­ety of me­dia in­clud­ing sound, video, per­for­mance and par­tic­i­pa­tory in­stal­la­tion by cross-gen­er­a­tional Abo­rig­i­nal and non­A­bo­rig­i­nal artists. The cu­ra­tors have un­der­taken ex­ten­sive re­search and field­work to cities and re­mote com­mu­ni­ties in order to se­lect Abo­rig­i­nal and non-in­dige­nous artists work­ing across di­verse me­dia. To­gether, their col­lab­o­ra­tive cu­ra­to­rial method­ol­ogy in­ter­ro­gates the work of lesser known artists along­side more es­tab­lished artists. Hav­ing worked at Ramingin­ing and Man­ingrida, Djon Mun­dine has ex­ten­sive net­works in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties as well as af­fil­i­a­tions with emerg­ing and es­tab­lished artists in var­i­ous cities. This wealth of on the ground knowl­edge and re­la­tion­ships with artists com­bined with Natalie King’s ex­per­tise in pho­tog­ra­phy and mov­ing image sees these two cu­ra­tors merge their vi­sion and present a both a vis­ually stim­u­lat­ing and thought-pro­vok­ing Bi­en­nial. Par­tic­i­pat­ing artists for the Tar­raWarra Bi­en­nial 2014 in­clud­ing: boat-peo­ple* (NSW), Daniel Boyd (NSW), Søren Dahl­gaard (VIC), Des­tiny Dea­con & Vir­ginia Fraser (VIC), Karla Dick­ens (NSW), Fiona Fo­ley (QLD), Tony Gar­i­falakis (VIC), San­dra Hill (WA), Gabriella Mangano and Sil­vana Mangano (VIC), Ro­maine More­ton (VIC), Nasim Nasr (SA), Polix­eni Pa­pa­petrou (VIC), El­iz­a­beth Pedler (WA), Sangeeta San­drasegar (VIC), The Telepa­thy Project (Veronica Kent and Sean Peo­ples) (VIC) and The Tjanpi Desert Weavers Project with Fiona Hall (SA/NT/ WA). The Bi­en­nale will host a se­ries of pub­lic pro­grams and spe­cial events to ac­com­pany the ex­hi­bi­tion. A day of live per­for­mances, artists’ talks, cu­ra­tors’ talks and spe­cial dis­cus­sions will co­in­cide with the Mel­bourne Art Fair and also the Mel­bourne Fes­ti­val through a spe­cial part­ner­ship with each of these or­gan­i­sa­tions. EX­HI­BI­TION Whis­per in my Mask 16 Au­gust to 16 Novem­ber, 2014 Tar­raWarra Mu­seum of Art

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