The Weekend Australian - Review - - Essay - Tim Dou­glas

I had the plea­sure this week of spend­ing time with hy­per-re­al­ist artist Pa­tri­cia Pic­cinini ahead of the an­nounce­ment of her first Aus­tralian block­buster show, at Bris­bane’s Queens­land Art Gallery and Gallery of Mod­ern Art. The artist — best known for her con­tro­ver­sial Sky­whale in 2013 — said some­thing that struck me: the an­nounce­ment of the ex­hi­bi­tion next year was the big­gest mo­ment of her ca­reer. Pic­cinini, of course, is no up-and-comer; she is one of this coun­try’s most suc­cess­ful visual artists. She rep­re­sented Aus­tralia at the Venice Bi­en­nale in 2003 and in 2016 was re­spon­si­ble for the most vis­ited con­tem­po­rary art ex­hi­bi­tion in the world (yes, the world). About 1.4 mil­lion peo­ple streamed through the doors of her ex­hi­bi­tion Con­scious­ness in Brazil. And yet her Bris­bane ret­ro­spec­tive, slated for March, will be the pin­na­cle of her ca­reer. What does that say about the lot of artists in Aus­tralia? Do we show too many big-ticket in­ter­na­tional ex­hi­bi­tions at the ex­pense of lo­cal artists? Are we still vic­tims of the dreaded cul­tural cringe? What­ever the case, Pic­cinini’s Cu­ri­ous Af­fec­tion — which will mark the first time the en­tire lower floor of GOMA has been handed over to an Aus­tralian artist — is a coup, and a show for the di­ary. To­day, film writer Philippa Hawker speaks to di­rec­tor De­nis Vil­leneuve, who ev­i­dently loves a chal­lenge: he is mak­ing a se­quel to Ri­d­ley Scott’s Blade Run­ner. The new film builds on the dystopian sci-fi themes of the 1992 cult clas­sic, which it­self was based on Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel Do An­droids Dream of Elec­tric Sheep? The tim­ing for a story on a dystopian Earth could hardly be more ap­po­site. Ac­cord­ing to con­spir­acy the­o­rists, mys­te­ri­ous orb Planet X is due to smash into Earth some time to­day. Be sure to get through Hawker’s fas­ci­nat­ing story early, just in case. If you’re at a loose end and in need of a dose of nos­tal­gia, tune in to the ABC to­mor­row night for the second of its 13-episode se­ries snap­shot of clas­sic mu­sic pro­gram Count­down. Wil­bur Wilde takes view­ers back to 1976, to per­for­mances by and in­ter­views with singer Mar­cia Hines, Bay City Rollers and Sher­bet. Dare I say: do your­self a favour.

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