10th Biennale of Sydney

Jurasic Technologies Revenant

AGNSW, Artspace and Ivan Dougherty Gallery

27 July - 22 September, 1996

Felix Gonzlez-Torres

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled (Placebo -
Landscape for Roni)
, 1,200 lbs of candies individually wrapped in gold cellophane, dimensions variable, 1993.

Francesco Clemente

Francesco Clemente, From Story of my life (3), Indian ink and gouache on Orissa paper, 23.0 x 46.9 cm each, 1990

In 1992 Lynne Cooke, the Artistic Director of the 10th Biennale of Sydney curated Doubletake at the Hayward Gallery in London. Like Doubletake, Jurasic Technologies Revenant presents a focussed understanding of the dystopian vision which characterises technology at the end of the millennium. And like Doubletake, Jurassic Technologies Revenant examines a current preoccupation with reproductive imagery and memory. As the title of the Biennale suggests and Cooke writes in the catalogue, the exhibition "signal the orientation toward reproductive media whose origins largely predate the twentieth century". Rather than embracing new digital media and its associated hype the curatorial focus is on more traditional reprographic technologies. Despite the inherent problems when curating around a particular medium and an implied nostalgia for traditional photographic practice, Cooke’s choices are considered, reflecting collective, social and personal memory.
  Carefully composed across three different venues with the largest concentration of work at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Jurassic Technologies Revenant is structured by a series of enclaves or booths where, for example, Heri Dono's slide installation examines the military presence in Indonesia. In some cases, the works are grouped to draw out cultural differences: Nan Goldin's slide projection of candid interludes in Japanese clubs, Yasumasa Morimura's drag self-portraits in which he casts himself as a movie stars is offset by the staged vigour of Tracey Moffatt’s group of young athletic aborginal women. For Goldin, Morimura and Moffatt, the self is played out in a series of controlled disguises.
Peter Peryer

Peter Peryer, Dead Steer , gelatine
silver print 24.0 x 24.0 cm, 1987

Overall, the exhibition is displayed according to media - textiles, readymades, photographs and installations. One of the most astonishing works is Ann Hamilton's installation, bearings, which consists of a pair of slowly rotating curtains like giant hooped skirts that extend from floor to ceiling. Black silk organza is lined with rouched fabric, combined in a twirling mecahnanical embrace. These sumptuous folds of fabric are carefully positioned to intersect with the axis of the gallery room. Nearby, a small screen set into the wall displays images of a prosthetic arm trying to catch a hoop. A discrepancy in scale is acted out between the monumental kinetic component and small screen. About automation, the prosthetic grasps while the gauze hoops twirl. Meticulously constructed, there is an extraordinary sensory awareness and materiality in this work. Like a couple dancing and gliding in circles across a dance floor, this work is a membrane marking the edge between the inside and the outside. It is a container and contained so that the folds of cloth envelope and seduce the viewer.
Matts Liederstam

Matts Liederstam, No difference at all , 3 porcelain figures and Spode teapot, c.1816, dimensions variable, 1996

Rearranging components of the body like a 'plastic anagram' is the subject matter of John Massey's black and white photographs. Displayed at Artspace, the gallery was skillfully redesigned by an architect into a series of viewing booths. The viewer proceeds through darkened spaces to witness some of the most compelling work. Scottish artist Douglas Gordon's 24 Hour Psycho, is a frame by frame articulation of the Alfred Hitchcock classic that spans 24 hours while Claude Closky's En Avant (Onward) is a rapid montage of speed footage on video. Eulalia Valldorosa's uses the techniques of shadow theatre to enlarge, double and distort household objects in her installation Love's Sweeter than Wine (Three Stages in a Relationship). Valldorosa and the quieter works contained within discrete architectural spaces are the most intriguing and alluring part of the Sydney Biennale.

Natalie King