Spectacular installation inside Turbine Hall by Chinese born Cai Guo-Quiang titled ‘Inopportune: Stage one’, 2004. A series of nine cars frozen in an arc of explosion. Very cool!


This was one of my favourites – by New Zealand artist Rohan Wealleans titled ‘He with Glands of Wasp’, 2009, also at Turbine Hall. Three bejeweled animal sculptures – hybrids of a bear, an elephant and a deer made of polystyrene, fibreglass and paint.


Installation details as per above. I just loved the way these sculptures were set amongst the machinery at the Turbine Hall (how AWESOME is the space, btw?) The sculptures oddly fit in so well and became a part of the greater space, but at the same time looked as though they were running amuck. Brilliant.


Beautiful graphic and typeface design by English artist Jonathan Barnbrook, who was also commissioned to create an overall visual identity for the 17th Biennale of Sydney, including the catalogue.


More examples of Jonathan Barnbrook’s site specific graphic and typeface designs located across Cockatoo Island. The bottom one was my favourite. It read ” Fatigue, cynicism, existential pointlessness, unoriginality, bombast. > The seemingly endless search. > Then suddenly A MOMENT > gives you beauty, poetry and deeper understanding > to make your irritating journey worthwhile.” Genius!


Lots of kids everywhere (Saturdays is a craft day for kids with a bunch of organised activities such as these watercolour sessions). I love that photo of the kids with red balloons.


More industrial awesomeness on the left. On the right – installation by French born artist Kader Attia, titled ‘Kasbah’, 2010. A 350sqm patchwork of corrugated iron, satellite dishes and scrap material depicts shanty town roofs. This installation wins the ‘most fun’ award, as visitors were encouraged to walk across the ‘roofs’ even though it seemed super dangerous.


Turbine Hall interiors. Industrial heaven.


Ummm… Amazing! Peter Hennessey’s “My Hubble” (the universe turned in on itslef), 2010. A bold, life-size sculpture of the Hubble Space Telescope – a space-based observatory that has revolutionised astronomy by providing deep clear view of the universe. Made from plywood and steel, it looks like every model maker’s wet dream. Word.


OK, so it’s Wednesday and there’s no interview. What’s going on – you ask? Nothing, I just needed to take a little breather, and I felt like mixing things up a little. Back to normal next week so stay tuned. Besides, I have a little Sydney treat for you today, even though its something that’s been running for a little while and it took me ages to get there myself.

I am ashamed to admit that last weekend was the first time I’ve ever paid a visit to Cockatoo Island. I know, shame on me, I seriously cannot believe its taken me this long to go there! To say that I loved it would be an understatement – it was definitely one of my favourite places I’ve ever seen, a true industrial wonderland with such incredible history. And to experience it during the Biennale on a signature Sydney crystal-clear winter afternoon was an absolutely treat.

From 12th May 12th to 1st August, Cockatoo Island plays host to 120 works by 56 artists, curated by David Elliott, Biennial’s Artistic Director with this year’s theme “The Beauty of Distance: songs of survival in a precarious age”.

So… If you live in Sydney and you haven’t already been, make sure you get yourself down there by the end of this month. Free ferries depart in front of MCA at Circular Quay at regular intervals (ferry queues during weekends are pretty massive, but you can always get a $5 water taxi if you are time poor). The island is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm and admission is FREE. Hooray!

Above and below are a few of my favourite things on the day. The photos were just so difficult to cull, so please excuse the overload. Husband rocked out his latest eBay purchase {some fully-sick-yet-cheap manual focus lens} and we were both pretty happy with the result.

x dana

A truly amazing installation by Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa titled ‘Hubble Bubble’. This installation was initially located between the sails of the Sydney Opera House, but it was forced to relocate to Biennale’s Performance Space after wild winds and bad weather across Sydney. A forest of hanging garlands was created from fluorescent green kitchen colanders. Major FUN!


More of the ‘Hubble Bubble’, because I loved it so much… one of those moments when I felt truly grateful to live in this beautiful city. Sydney, I heart you.


Scenes from Cockatoo Island. Straight out of a vintage sci-fi movie, right?


More industrial bits. Love those buttons on the left, and lots and lots of random basins everywhere.


Just a few pretty pictures from one of the exhibitions inside a house at the Convicts Precinct (sorry, can’t remember the name of the artist).


Top – sculpture by Perth based artist Rodney Glick. His sculputres were super weird and deeply rooted in some sort of symbolism which I didn’t get, but the dude in the top images was pretty cool I thought. Bottom – super creepy sculptures by Chinese artist Shen Shaomin titled ‘Summit’, 2010. Taking the annual G8 Summit as a point of reference, Shen has created a hypothetical meeting of the most significant communist leaders, most of whom have passed away. Their life-sized corpses inside crystal coffins were arranged in a pentagon, with Castro an alive exception shown lying silently on his deathbed. Creepy! But quite amazing.


Multi-channel video installation by English artist Isaac Julien titled ‘Ten Thousand Waves”, 2010 had its world premiere at the Biennale. This work was inspired by the tragic deaths of the over 20 Chinese illegal migrant workers who drowned in England in 2004 while picking cockles in Morecambe Bay. If I am perfectly honest (which is pretty much all the time), multi-media and video art often frustrates me as I find it quite lame. But this work was really beautiful, although I didn’t get to see the entire thing.


Just a few of my favourite images taken on the day. Husband has skills, don’t you think?


All photos by Nick Hughes.

3 Responses

  1. Sheila

    Yes husband definitely has talent – wonderful shots and great post – must go if its not too freezing this weekend, reckon a chilly wind would whip round Cockatoo island this weather

  2. The Whiteboard » Blog Archive » barnbrook’s biennale

    […] Not sure how we missed this but Jonathan Barnbrook took an interesting typographic approach to the 17th Sydney Biennale graphics, incorporating much of his personal style. Apart from designing the identity, Barnbook was also one of the featured artists and his satirical posters and parodies of signs that poke fun at the art world experience, are now available as prints for sale. via YellowTrace […]


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