Divided Worlds for Dummies
Art often has the uncanny ability to only be understood by the artist, often leaving those who lack creativity in the dark. Contemporary art; like the works displayed in Divided Worlds, have a long tradition of titles that are meaningless or explain less than Ikea instructions (I’m almost certain you have experienced this torture). But fear not, Erica Green, the curator of the 2018 Adelaide Biennial has created an exhibition that is relatable to every human living in the 21st century (at least I hope you're human if you’re reading this article…). Green encompasses her vision of “offering an opportunity to experience an alternate dimension- one where “difference” is the natural order of things, and a strength to be celebrated”, by gathering artworks that not only make you feel, but see.
The overarching vision Divided Worlds seeks to address, is to destroy division within our culture; where art, music and cuisine break down barriers that destroy our civilization (in other words, a sushi a day may keep society allay; new excuse to eat, why not).
At large, the works of 30 artists across the city tackle larger concerns of the contemporary art scene. Big social issues from the past, present and future; from political concerns, to race relations, to the environment, to gender identity to social justice and everything that fits in between (they seemed to have left out my biggest first world problem; not having WIFI wherever I go… I wonder?). The exhibition radiates grand themes of history and focuses on time and space itself, the artists convey this so well, titles and descriptions are almost unnecessary.
Pip & Pop’s immersive large scale installation is the perfect paradigm. Adults are transported to their younger self; where anything is possible, children are pleading their parents to make their bedroom this magical (because how hard can it be right...) and I personally get awfully hungry staring at an installation that looks like my dream candy store. But it’s clear that past our superficial madness, there’s a real enchanting world that speaks louder than my call for sugar. The fluorescent fitting inhibits a cave like void denoting associations to creation mythologies and places that exist in one’s imagination. Although Tanya Schultz’s world cannot be tasted nor touched, trust me when I say all you will want to do is jump inside and explore (it’s too bad I’m an adult with a conscience… otherwise you know where I’d be!)
Unlike Pip & Pop’s imaginary world, Khaled Sabsabi depicts a reality that many of us have fortunately never experienced. Sabsabi brings truth to life, sharing with us his first-hand encounters of the destruction in Beirut. From one gaze we can feel the consequences of destruction and war; explanation redundant. The complete juxtaposition between this piece and Pip & Pop’s, underlines why this exhibition is not one to miss!
John R Walkers ‘Oratunga Burra Suite’ is a sure favourite. The paintings ooze earthy tones, but I’m sure they would be prone to hearing the all too common phrase… “so what the hell is this?” His artwork throws a spanner in the works, I feel it drifts from the other artwork in the exhibition, but that’s what makes the title Divided Worlds more ingenuous. What I find intriguing, is that the down to earth feeling that grows as you examine these paintings is exactly as the artist intended (someone give me this guy’s talent ASAP). Walker’s profound engagement with landscape, interest in geology, paleontology and environmental history are all clearly evident.
With so many grounds covered from past, present and future, it’s no wonder re-birth hasn’t been covered? But wait, it has! Kristian Burford’s work, Cell, denotes the resurrection of three females (it would have been quite an interesting silhouette if they were males, if you know what I mean). His work has the ability to transport you into another dimension, much like Roy Ananda’s sculptural creation that welcomes us to the underworld. So many amazing artists brought together to destroy divide in our society through art and culture (kudos to Erica Green).
Despite the fact I’m definitely not mature enough to write about art or anything abstract - period (lol, get it), this exhibition is essential to your existence (joking... but please go!) If you haven’t already, I suggest you get down there before you miss out on sugar land and re-born mannequins.
More photos from this exhibition in the Gallery
2018 ADELAIDE BIENNIAL OF AUSTRALIAN ART
3 MARCH – 3 JUNE 2018
EVENTS ON AT: ART GALLERY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA, ADELAIDE BOTANIC GARDEN, ANNE AND GORDON SAMSTAG MUSEUM OF ART, JAM FACTORY AND MERCURY CINEMA.
Photography and written by Katelin Rice
Model: Georgia Farese