16th Biennale of Sydney



Artistic Director, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev

The Biennale of Sydney has showcased contemporary art from Australia and around the world since 1973 and is one of the largest and most exciting contemporary visual arts events. The 2008 Biennale will be held at venues and sites throughout Sydney, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Museum of Contemporary Art.


‘The impulse to revolt. Revolving, rotating, mirroring, repeating, reversing, turning upside down or inside out, changing perspectives. I imagine the 16th Biennale of Sydney as a constellation of historical and contemporary works of art that celebrate and explore these dynamics, both in art and life. Through installations, performances, films, texts, an evolving online venue, conversations and other events, Revolutions – Forms That Turn articulates the agency embedded in forms that express our desire for change. Such literal and formal devices are charted for their broader aesthetic, psychological, radical and political perspectives. Piero Manzoni’s Socle du Monde (Base of the World, 1961) lies more or less on the opposite side of the world from Sydney. What happens if we turn it upside-down?

‘The “space” explored by this exhibition is the gap between the first part of the title – revolutions – which suggests a directly political and content-based exhibition, and the subsequent phrase – forms that turn – which alternatively suggests the autonomy and isolation of the art object, spinning on its own and detached from daily life, or the energy and potential latent in forms themselves (turns that form). The first term collapses (is over-turned) into the second and within that gap perspective suddenly shifts, as when a joke is understood – causing unexpected laughter, a release of tension and a collapse into the comic dimension of radical and absolute presence. It is a space of rotation, confusion, revolt, insubordination, anarchy and disruption of order, a space of revolution.’ – Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev


Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev is Artistic Director of the 2008 Biennale of Sydney and has been Chief Curator of Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art in Turin, Italy, since 2002. Christov-Bakargiev has written extensively on Italian and international art and is interested in the relationship between historical avant-gardes and contemporary art. Previously Senior Curator at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Centre, an affiliate of The Museum of Modern Art, Christov-Bakargiev is currently based in Turin, Sydney and New York.

For the 2008 Biennale of Sydney, Christov-Bakargiev will correspond with a number of curatorial comrades, including Gridthiya Gaweewong, Massimiliano Gioni, Raimundas Malasauskas, Jessica Morgan, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Russell Storer.

The Biennale of Sydney is supported by Transfield, the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy – an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments – the Australia Council for the Arts, Arts NSW and the City of Sydney. The Biennale of Sydney gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the many organisations and individuals that make the exhibition and its programs possible.

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