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"(The World May Be) Fantastic."
2002-05-15 until 2002-07-14
Biennale of Sydney 2002, International Festival of Contemporary Art
Sydney,, NS, AU Australia

The Biennale of Sydney 2002, the southern hemisphere's largest festival of contemporary art, beams into Australia with (The World May Be) Fantastic. This year's exhibition looks at the fictional, the way artists explore and create worlds, futures, and characters that are hypothetical, fake, hallucinated and subversive. "It's about how the fantastic collides with the real worldľabout invented systems and invented people, about countries and histories that may never have existed, about flying machines and strange museums, conspiracy theories, and new ways of reading the 'normal'." Richard Grayson, Artistic Director 2002

The 2002 exhibition invites you to view My Living Room is a Martian Base (Gilles Barbier, France), see Nixon in Chains (Jeffrey Vallance, USA), hear A Strange Message From Another Star (Veli Gran÷, Finland), experience the killing in the Muriel Lake Incident (Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, Canada), visit a Public Toilet (Paul Noble, UK), say Hello (Aleksandra Mir, Sweden) to your 6 degrees of separation and meet Mister (JoŃo Penalva, Portugal) who looks remarkably like a talking shoe.

Grayson aims to energise and invigorate the City of Sydney with debate, discussion and sheer visual pleasure while providing avenues of escape from the mundane and opportunity for flights of pure fantasy.

Venues include the Museum of Contemporary Art, which again gives over its entire gallery space to the Biennale of Sydney, as do Artspace, Object galleries and City Exhibition Space, a new venue partner for 2002, at Customs House. The Art Gallery of New South Wales continues its 28 year history as a key venue and will also host film and video programs. The Sydney Opera House will host performances and a new work by Australian artist, James Angus. Mike Nelson, short-listed for the recent Turner Prize and one of the hottest contemporary artists from the United Kingdom, will create a new site-specific work especially for the Biennale of Sydney.

Admission to all venues is free as are the extensive public program events including the film and video program at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The ArtHouse Hotel will be the official relaxation stop for artists and participants.


Richard Grayson has been a practising artist since 1979 when he was a founder member of the Basement Group (UK) - an artist initiative focused on time-based installation and performance work. His work has been shown at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (Perspecta, 1989) the Melbourne Art Fair (1994 & 1996), Artpool, Budapest (1995) and Cleveland Lotta Hammer Gallery, London (1996). Grayson has been assisted by an Advisory Panel of artists and writers comprising: Susan Hiller, a London-based American artist; Janos Sugar, an artist based in Budapest; and Ralph Rugoff, an art writer and curator from San Francisco. The panel was important in shaping the intellectual content and feel of the exhibition although selection and artistic decisions were determined by Grayson.


The strong Australian representation includes James Angus at the Sydney Opera House plus additional new works by David Haines, Peter Hill, Joyce Hinterding and Patricia Piccinini. Robert MacPherson appears in the guise of an 11-year-old boy, and Pope Alice/Luke Roberts will create an installation, Greetings from Amnesia: Mu Pavillion @ 4am. Adelaide-based Darren Siwes makes eerie self-portraits of a man who may not be there. Suzanne Treister explores the delusions of history and culture while H J Wedge paints pictures of the archetypal bogie man. From across the Tasman, New Zealand is represented by the artificial flowers and stuffed birds of Michael Parekowhai and by the thought provoking conspiracy theories of Michael Stevenson.

Vito Acconci heads a large contingent of American artists with his offering of architectural dreams. Eleanor Antin will perform as a black ballerina at The Studio of Sydney Opera House, and Chris Burden engineers bridges from Meccano. Paul Etienne Lincoln explores New York and creates hybrid mechanical compositions, whilst Jeffrey Vallance imagines Richard Nixon as one of his spirit guides. Jim Shaw glorifies the skills of unsung amateur artists by copying their works in his thrift shop painting series.

From the UK come Glenn Brown, with his huge dramatic landscape/spacescape paintings, and Dexter Dalwood who paints interiors of famous rooms into which he has never been invited. Paul Noble maps an imagined city known as Nob Town and Simon Patterson has created a new video work based on Houdini in Australia. Susan Hiller presents 1000s of speakers relating real stories of UFO contact, and Emma Kay creates a map of the world from memory and imagines the future. Mike Nelson completes the list with his new work constructed on site in Sydney.

From Belgium, Patrick Corillon brings his storytelling Les Trotteuses and Panamarenko his fantastical submarine. Finnish artist, Veli Gran÷, imagines a visitor from the star Sirius, and French artist, Gilles Barbier, turns his living room into space machines. German artists, Nina Fischer & Maroan El Sani, photograph the traces and remains of powerful incidents using Kirlian photography, and Olaf Nicolai weeps for Narcissus.

Chinese artist, Cang Xin, illustrates his attempts to lick the world, literally, and Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba's underwater rickshaw divers race across the seabed. Other Japanese artists include Yutaka Sone and his gigantic dice, and Miwa Yanagi with her photographs inspired by 18 year olds imagining what they will be like at 80. Shirley Tse, from Hong Kong, is part airline pilot, part architect and part archaeologist with her intriguing polystyrene constructions. From Korea, Do-Ho Suh brings his delicate and ghostlike fabric rooms, and from Mexico, Miguel Angel Rios records extraordinary drug induced experiences of the other world in the Andes Mountains.

Sweden is represented by Aleksandra Mir who will be developing an Australian version of her Hello project of the famous and the less famous. Ann-Sofi SidÚn's video delves into the psychology of the Mud Queen. Katarzyna Jˇzefowicz from Poland creates crowd carpets from magazine cut-outs and the mysterious Salon de Fleurus, curated by Marina Groini from Slovenia, poses a fictional history of art events. Portuguese artists include Joa§ Penalva with his talking shoe, Mister, and Vasco Ara˙jo who dedicates his work to La Stupenda. Norwegian artist, Vibeke Tandberg, dresses up as her father in a photographic series called Dad. IMAGE:
Miwa Yanagi
My Grandmother Minami, 2001
133 x 160 cm
Courtesy the Artist and Yoshiko Isshiki Office, Tokyo
and Galerie Almine Rech, Paris

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