Media office

Archives 2010
Archives 2009
Archives 2008
Archives 2007
Archives 2006
Archives 2005
Archives 2004
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000

Sydney Biennale


A giant gossiping termite mound on the Sydney harbour foreshore, clothes sourced from Sydney people covering an aeroplane and a giant boulder smashing a car on the Opera House forecourt all feature in Australia's premiere international contemporary visual arts event - the Biennale of Sydney - between 4 June and 15 August 2004.

Curated by Portuguese art luminary, Isabel Carlos, with the theme 'On Reason and Emotion', this Biennale is Sydney's 14th and features 51 invited artists from 32 countries, many of whom will be in Sydney during the opening weeks of the exhibition.

"The theme, 'On Reason and Emotion', emerged from my reading of a thought-provoking book called Descartes' Error by Antonio Damásio," said Ms Carlos. "Damásio analyses a number of neurological case studies to show that emotion is crucial to human intelligence. Rather than the restrictions of the traditional 'cogito' (I think therefore I am), one can now say 'I feel therefore I am'."

The Biennale will form a 'walking trail' around some of Sydney's leading art museums and the Botanic Gardens. Much of the work in the exhibition is new work created especially for Sydney. Also featuring will be a comprehensive Public Program of lectures, symposia and artists talks featuring Biennale participants, leading international and Australian curators and art theorists.

The Museum of Contemporary Art is dedicating its entire museum space to the Biennale of Sydney. Australian artists Joan Grounds and Sherre DeLys are creating a giant termite mound, which emits the chatter of gossiping voices for the Museum's front lawn. Michael Sailstorfer (Germany) transforms a recycled German police car into a functional drum kit.

Art Gallery of NSW viewers will find work from Chinese artist Yin Xiuzhen, who will cover an aeroplane with clothes sourced from Sydneysiders. A performance by Emiko Kasahara (Japan) will involve seven girls who have had their hair dyed, relaxing on circles of hair the same colour, and leaving pristine polka dots of synthetic hair to remain.

Artspace is host to several installation artists, including Frédéric Post (Switzerland), whose drug-inspired Temple of Ecstasy invites viewers to sit down on mattresses and listen to live music performances.

The Royal Botanic Gardens has nine new works of art, ranging from an evocative poem transmitted through headphones to be contemplated along with the harbour view by Luísa Cunha (Portugal), to two boys hidden up a tree by MP & MP Rosado (Spain). Koo Jeong-a (Korea/France) creates a delicate installation in the Palm House and Nathan Coley (United Kingdom) will install a modernist facade that is deceptively solid looking.

In the Sydney Opera House forecourt, Jimmie Durham (USA/Germany) will create a powerful work - crushing a standard four-door car with a 6 tonne granite boulder, the stone cheekily painted with a human face.

"The 14th Biennale of Sydney celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and 'On Reason and Emotion' continues a long and esteemed tradition. Isabel Carlos' theme 'On Reason and Emotion' captures the spirit of the moment and causes us to reflect on many levels of human endeavour," said Paula Latos-Valier, General Manager, Biennale of Sydney.

"The proposition that feeling and thinking are not separate but one, and that it is through the seamless contribution of each that people reach their intelligence and ultimately their humanity, resonates strongly for today."

Biennale of Sydney
4 June - 15 August 2004

Art Gallery of New South Wales
Museum of Contemporary Art
Museum of Sydney
Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney
Sydney Opera House

General media enquiries:
Marie Najjar, Weber Shandwick
Telephone (02) 9994 4461; 0408 687 688;

Bronwyn Stubbs, Weber Shandwick
Telephone 9994 4466; 0412 025 111;

Visual arts media enquiries:
Australia (Sydney)
Trudy Johnston, Trudy Johnston Communication
Telephone (02) 9331 1012; 0402 485 902;

International (New York)
John Melick, Blue Medium
Telephone +1 212 6751800;


Biennale Sponsors