There’s still time to catch the inaugural 2015 Burrinja Biennale shortlist exhibition which includes 20 artists from across Australia. The exhibition is immersive and experiential, featuring contributions from small works on paper to large scale projection and performance. As the first Australian Biennale of its kind, the Burrinja Climate Change Biennale will strive to create a dialogue over time of the changing environment and our attitudes around climate change which will affect us well into the future.
At the opening last October one of the judges Wendy Garden, Senior Curator at Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, spoke of the high quality of the work exhibited and the reason why they chose the winner, Joy Serwylo’s piece At this point of time, it appears that we have not yet established a plan “B”.
“It’s a very sophisticated work.” said Wendy Garden. “It also has a really strong element of humour in it and it’s that whole notion of when we laugh we let our guard down and our resistence to something so then we’re more likely to have our opinion change. There’s the notion of journey to other places and taps into that whole belief we have of colonisation to solve our problems, you know ‘Ok we’ve stuffed this planet we’ll go and find another one and colonise that instead’. Her work in a very sophisticated manner taps into all of that. The whole colonial history of journey to other different countries, that whole idea of the promised land and always looking for the other… At the moment it also has a reference to refugees, having to move. We are quite a migratory species but it’s about what we leave behind. A destroyed planet.”
Local artist Joy Serwylo, a woman of few words but many inspiring ideas, said “I’m really excited that it’s one of the hills folks that’s won it. It’s great to have an exhibition with a prize that draws in people from outside and everywhere. It ups the quality of the work but it’s still very much a hills community here and I would have been happy if any of the hills artists had won.” She thinks the title of the work speaks for itself and also contributed a series of interacive works for the opening of frozen iceblocks. The centre piece being one inside a large tank with a miniature landscape. As the iceblock was slowly melted, covering low lying islands, it graphically showed the effect that climate change could have to visitors.
There are many beautiful and provocative pieces in this exhibition such as;
Lisa Roberts Living Data: Align 01 – a digital animation projected onto a series of hanging silks with sound.
Eva Glac 3 Banksia pods after the fire – a series of large porcelain pods charred and painted with black glaze and copper lustre.
Ches Mills Extinction- Acrylic paint, mixed media on canvas of fossils in a strata profile showing extinctions from the past till the present.
Hartmut Veit Material vilification – Brown coal and neon sculpture of a crown of thorns, and Intra-action, Hazelwood brown – coal from Morwell spread and a gallery floor and walked through by visitors leaving their footprints speak of our ambivalent relationship with this generator of energy.
Stephen Powell Hope Gap – Panoramic photograph of a farmer stubble burning his crop set against the wind turbines in the landscape.
Burrinja has minimally labelled the works with only the artists name and title, allowing the visitor to experience the impact of the work for itself. A QR code beside each piece allows you to view the artists statements online if you wish to find out more. This exhibition has so much to offer in it’s portrayal of a world that is on the brink of a tipping point.
On till 31 January at Burrinja – Cnr Glenfern Road and Matson Dr, Upwey
Photos courtesy of Burrinja. Photos of opening by Barbara Oehring.