Friday afternoon was perfect weather to catch a ferry to Cockatoo Island and have a look at art on show for the Sydney Biennale.I'm glad we chose to go this early in the season (the Biennale runs until August 1st) as I reckon word will get out about the scenic free ride to an island in the harbour and it will get very busy.
Above - from the ferry on the way to Cockatoo Island Sydney Harbour - a very pretty day.
When we arrived and walked up the hill to the west side, I took a couple more photos (one below) before zipping it all away to take in some of the installations scattered throughout buildings all over the island.
In the past I had taken a dislike to video art - to me it was often contrived and boring but now I feel it has come of age and artists using this medium are less self-conscious and, of course there are more people making electronic works so there is more choice.
AH & I only got through a third to half of the Cockatoo Island artists. Of note was Yayoi Kusama's Song of Manhattan Suicide Addict (2010) - she is always a reliably good artist. NZ photographic artist Yvonne Todd's work was a smidge creepy - for all the right reasons and displayed in a small partly dilapidated building, which added to the unsettling of the viewer.
Amal Kenawy's video installation, My lord is eating his tail (2010) - man in wheelchair, other man dancing, birdcage, dancer swaps with wheelchair and wheelchair man dances - man in wheelchair writhes - sounds obvious but is executed extremly well and I stayed the whole loop through. As a note, I was glad to have watched her work before reading the write up - I got to think my own version of the story before being told what it means.
Althea Thauberger's video, La mort e la miseria, is a allegorical tale in the ancient Ladin people's (a minority living in the Dolomites) Rhaeto-Romance language. Death gets stuck in the apple tree belonging to poverty and people stop dying (even when poverty lets death out of the tree, there is still poverty) - it's a delight and 'death' had a humour about her that reminded me straight away of a video I saw in March by Jo Cuzzi, Scary D & Emma Pressman that was completely different but left me with the same satisfied feeling.
Oh and we really liked Tarryn Gill & Pilar Mata Dupont's big Lament of the Argentine Military - even though I felt the performer was more Frida Kahlo than patron saint - fabulous stuff despite the parents allowing their offspring to run around and shout in the dark, disrupting its impact.
Cockatoo Island itself is a treat - a heritage uban park with a maze of buildings, stairs up the side of a steep rock cliff still dripping with the recent deluge and a fun tunnel that takes you back where you started from.
Images 2010 ©Anne Bentley