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SYDNEY ARTS GUIDE | THE EMBASSY OF DISAPPEARANCE

March 21, 2016

By Mark Pigott, 19 MAR 2016

Part of the 20th Biennale of Sydney, The Embassy of Disappearance is being presented at Carriageworks. It includes works by artists exploring themes of absence and memory, including disappearing languages, histories, currencies and landscapes. The Embassy of Disappearance is a safe haven to contemplate these ideas of absence and memory. Opening night featured art and performances by Mike Parr, Neha Choksi and Alice Cummings.

Mike Parr’s performance was spectacular. In an outside area a square was covered in many linked charcoal drawings. A flammable liquid was poured over them and they were set alight, resulting in a large intense fire. This was a strong and ironic statement about global warming. Sydney Trains added to the irony when one of their trains went by with a “Hey Tosser, Put it in the Bin” advertisement.

The 20th Biennale of Sydney is being held in seven major venues, dubbed Embassies, and nine other areas, dubbed In-between Spaces. The Embassies include Cockatoo Island, the MCA and the Mortuary Station. The In-between Spaces include Camperdown Cemetery, The Botanic Gardens and Newtown library. The full list is at https://www.biennaleofsydney.com.au/20bos/venues/

Some of the striking works are Lee Mingwei’s Guernica in Sand and Jamie North’s Terraforms, 2014. Guernica in Sand is a massive sand drawing interpreting Picasso’s Guernica. On 23rd April the public will be invited to first walk on the piece, which will later be swept with bamboo brooms, by Lee Mingwei and friends. This simultaneous act of obliteration and re-creation results in an altogether new work, where formerly precise lines are reimagined as intuitive abstract forms.

The many other works are spread out through the wonderful old industrial spaces of Carriageworks. Well informed staff are on hand to give insights into the background and thoughts of particular artists and during Biennale there will be artists’ talks and other performances.

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IMAGE: JAMIE NORTH, CISSUS, 2016. PHOTOGRAPHY BY ZAN WIMBERLEY