Installation Art

Setouchi Triennale 2013

March 30, 2013

‘Revitalisation’ is the keynote to the second Setouchi Triennale, an exhibition that uses contemporary art to bring new energies to a region in decline. The Seto Inland Sea is one of the most picturesque parts of Japan, with a diverse cultural heritage spread across a series of islands, large and small. Today, as in so … More


Perth Festival

March 2, 2013

With the mercury touching 40 degrees for days on end, a major attraction of the art component this year’s Perth Festival was its display in air-conditioned rooms. ‘Light’ was the overarching theme of the festival shows, although it was a relief to get out of the glare of the sun into an environment where illumination … More


Song Dong

February 9, 2013

There are many ways to make a portrait of one’s mother. Probably the most famous example is James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s painting of his old mum sitting in a chair, looking a stiff as an Egyptian statue. He titled the picture: Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 (1875). In Waste Not, one of the … More


Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro

November 3, 2012

Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro may be the first Australian artists to take full advantage of the new globalised art world. Over the past decade they have travelled incessantly, undertaken residencies in Europe and Asia, and exhibited their work in museums and private galleries from Kathmandu to Washington DC. The Museum of Contemporary Art has … More


White Rabbit – Double Take

September 22, 2012

Ever since Deng Xiaoping plunged China into the era of reforms in the late 1970s, with the legendary words: “To get rich is glorious”, the nation’s leaders have spent a great deal of time resolving – or ignoring – contradictions. Karl Marx himself would have had difficulty explaining the paradox of a communist country with … More


The Clock, Marking Time

May 12, 2012

Switzerland gave us the cuckoo clock, and Swiss-American artist, Christian Marclay, has created the most preposterous time-piece in the history of art. The Clock is such a unique artifact it defies all but the most impressionistic responses. This is obvious from Zadie Smith’s essay in the brochure published for the work’s showing at the Museum … More


Parallel Collisions: The 2012 Adelaide Biennial

March 10, 2012

“We love language,” confessed the curators of Parallel Collisions: the 12th Adelaide Biennial. This may not sound controversial – for the purposes of communication it’s very useful. It was only as I read through the boxed, brick-heavy catalogue for this exhibition that I began to feel Natasha Bullock and Alexie Glass-Kantor may love language not … More


Wim Delvoye

January 28, 2012

Adolf Loos, the outspoken Austrian designer and critic, argued: “the modern person who tattoos himself is either a criminal or a degenerate.” Loos was writing in 1929, and one can only wonder what he would make of the present day vogue for tattoos that cover an arm and half a torso. He would probably see … More


Tokujin Yoshioka, Shen Shaomin & Chun Kwang-Young

December 3, 2011

There is an emerging trend in town: slipper art, and it has nothing to do with the new Speaker in Federal Parliament. At two venues this week the viewer is asked to slip a protective covering over his or her shoes, so as not to soil the art. This is slightly at odds with the … More


Guanxi

October 15, 2011

Guanxi is a curious word. It is usually translated as  “contacts”, but there is no single English-language term that captures all the connotations it has for a Chinese speaker. Guanxi refers to a special kind of relationship between people whereby one may always be counted on to help the other. Such relationships are long-term and … More