Every two years, Sydney is host to Australia’s largest exhibition of international contemporary art, the Biennale of Sydney.
In 2014, the Biennale – curated by Juliana Engberg of Melbourne’s Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) – takes the theme, ‘You Imagine What You Desire’.
Engberg says: ‘You Imagine What You Desire celebrates the artistic imagination as a spirited describing and exploration of the world through metaphor and poesis... It reminds us that powerful art is not divorced from the cultural conditions, political, social and climatic environments in which it is generated. That indeed it often exists to provide a meta-commentary on these aspects of society – and even, sometimes, act as an antidote and proposition. As a future vision.
‘You Imagine What You Desire seeks splendour and rapture in works that remain true to a greater, even sublime visuality. Today these things co-exist and overlap, and the tactics of theatricality cannot be separated from overtly social-situationist inspired works, just as they are central to works engaging with humanity at a grand scale. Extra energies are sought in works that unleash physical and psychic intensity. A happy anarchy is produced with works that activate the power of imagination through laughter and activity.’
This year’s exhibition features 13 UK artists, supported by the British Council. Works by Sol Archer, Martin Boyce, Nathan Coley, Henry Coombes, Tacita Dean, Douglas Gordon, Mikhail Karikis, Jim Lambie, Eva Rothschild, John Stezaker, Corin Sworn, Emily Wardill and Gillian Wearing OBE RA will be exhibited across the three main Biennale locations: the Art gallery of NSW, Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) and on Cockatoo Island.