Biennale of Sydney

20th Biennale Open Night - Lee Bul, Willing To Be Vulnerable, 2015–16
Since 1973, the Biennale of Sydney has delivered 21 exhibitions and presented the work of 1,800 artists from 100 countries around the globe.

History

The Biennale of Sydney provides a platform for art and ideas and is recognised for commissioning and presenting innovative, thought-provoking art from Australia and around the globe. Since its inception in 1973, the Biennale has presented the work of 1,800 artists from 100 countries.

It was the first periodic exhibition to focus on Asia and the contemporary art of the region (1973 and 1976); the first to exhibit the work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists in an international contemporary art context (1979); and the first biennale to present an online venue (2008).

Previous Biennale Exhibitions

Brook Andrew
-

22nd Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: Brook Andrew
Ai Weiwei, Crystal Ball, 2017
16 March 2018 - 11 June 2018

21st Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: Mami Kataoka
20th Biennale Open Night - Lee Bul, Willing To Be Vulnerable, 2015–16
18 March 2016 - 5 June 2016

20th Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: Dr Stephanie Rosenthal
Douglas Gordon, Phantom, 2011
21 March 2014 - 9 June 2014

19th Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: Juliana Engberg
Li Hongbo, Ocean of Flowers, 2012
27 June 2012 - 16 September 2012

18th Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: Catherine de Zegher and Gerald McMaster
Tiger Lillies, 'Cockatoo Prison', 2010
12 May 2010 - 1 August 2010

17th Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: David Elliott
Paul Pfeiffer, 'Vitruvian Figure', 2008
18 June 2008 - 7 September 2008

16th Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev
Ai Weiwei, World Map, 2006
8 June 2006 - 27 August 2006

15th Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: Dr Charles Merewether
Jimmie Durham, Still life with stone and car, 2004
4 June 2004 - 15 August 2004

14th Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: Isabel Carlos
James Angus, Shangri-La, 2002
15 May 2002 - 14 July 2002

13th Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: Richard Grayson
Yoko Ono, Ex It, 1997
26 May 2000 - 30 July 2000

12th Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: Nick Waterlow OAM, Chair of International Selection Committee
Rasheed Araeen, Where there’s a will there’s a way, 1998
18 September 1998 - 8 November 1998

11th Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: Jonathan Watkins
Ann Hamilton, bearings, 1996
27 July 1996 - 22 September 1996

10th Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: Dr Lynne Cooke
Igor Kopystiansky, Interior, 1992
15 December 1992 - 14 March 1993

9th Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: Anthony Bond OAM
Ange Leccia, Je veux ce que je veux (I want what I want), 1989
11 April 1990 - 3 June 1990

8th Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: René Block
Richard Deacon, Listening to Reason, 1988
18 May 1988 - 3 July 1988

7th Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: Nick Waterlow OAM
Michael Nelson Tjakamarra, Possum Dreaming, 1985
16 May 1986 - 6 July 1986

6th Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: Nick Waterlow OAM
René Block planting a tree as part of Joseph Beuys' 7000 Oaks for the 5th Biennale of Sydney (1984) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
11 April 1984 - 17 June 1984

5th Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: Leon Paroissien
Lutz Presser, Hanging, Falling Skins, 1981
7 April 1982 - 23 May 1982

4th Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: William Wright
Joseph Beuys, Ausfegen, 1972
12 April 1979 - 27 May 1979

3rd Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: Nick Waterlow OAM
Fujiko Nakaya, Fog Sculpture, 1976
13 November 1976 - 19 December 1976

2nd Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: Thomas G McCullough
Inaugural Biennale of Sydney (1973) exhibition catalogue cover
23 November 1973 - 31 December 1973

Inaugural Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: Anthony Wintherbotham, Administrative Director
-

22nd Biennale of Sydney

Artistic Director: None

The Biennale of Sydney Archive Project

John Coburn holding the inaugural Biennale of Sydney (1973) poster
ounding Governor, Franco Belgiorno-Nettis AC CBE with Amina Belgiorno-Nettis at the opening proceedings of the Inaugural Biennale of Sydney
Robert Brown, Here to Here, 1973. Installation view of the Inaugural Biennale of Sydney (1973)
John Brack, An Amateur Couple, 1972. Artwork exhibited in the Inaugural Biennale of Sydney (1973) at the Sydney Opera House
2nd Biennale of Sydney: Recent International Forms in Art (1976) exhibition catalogue cover
Stelarc, Event for Stretched Skin, 1976. Performance view of the 2nd Biennale of Sydney (1976) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Courtesy the artist and Sherman Galleries, Sydney. Photograph: Shigeo Anzai
Fujiko Nakaya, Fog Sculpture, 1976. Installation view of the 2nd Biennale of Sydney (1976) at The Domain, Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney. Courtesy Experiments in Art and Technology, New York
Nick Waterlow with artists in front of the Art Gallery of New South Wales on the occasion of the 3rd Biennale of Sydney (1979), ‘European Dialogue’. Left to right: John Bunguwuy; David Malangi; George Milpurrurru; assistant Djolta (rear); Nick Waterlow. Image courtesy the Biennale of Sydney. Photograph: Penny Tweedie
3rd Biennale of Sydney: European Dialogue (1979) exhibition catalogue cover
Rosalie Gascoigne, Feathered Fence, 1979. Installation view of the 3rd Biennale of Sydney (1979) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Joseph Beuys, Ausfegen, 1972. Installation view of the 3rd Biennale of Sydney (1979) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Ken Unsworth, Rhythms of Childhood, from the series, 'Memories of Childhood', 1980–82. Installation view of the 4th Biennale of Sydney (1982) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
4th Biennale of Sydney: Vision in Disbelief (1982) exhibition catalogue cover
Lutz Presser, Hanging, Falling Skins, 1981. Installation view of the 4th Biennale of Sydney (1982) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Photograph: John Farrow
Gilbert and George, Drunk with God, 1983. Artwork exhibited in the 5th Biennale of Sydney (1984). Courtesy the artist and Ludwig Museum, Cologne
Mike Kelly, Monkey Island, 1983. Installation view of the 5th Biennale of Sydney (1984) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
René Block planting a tree as part of Joseph Beuys' 7000 Oaks for the 5th Biennale of Sydney (1984) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Rainer Mang, Berliner Puppe, 1986. Installation view of the 6th Biennale of Sydney (1986) at Pier 2/3
Colin Lancely, Songs of a Summer Night, Lynne’s Garden, 1985. Artwork exhibited in the 6th Biennale of Sydney (1986) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Michael Nelson Tjakamarra, Possum Dreaming, 1985. Artwork exhibited in the 6th Biennale of Sydney (1986). Copyright courtesy the Aboriginal Artists Agency, Sydney
Ed & Nancy Kienholz, The Last Buffalo, 1986. Installation view of the 7th Biennale of Sydney (1988) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Ramingining Artist Community, The Aboriginal Memorial (200 Hollow Log Bone Coffins), 1987–88. Installation view of the 7th Biennale of Sydney (1988) at Pier 2/3
Mike Parr, Swine Fever (The Patch), 1987. Artwork exhibited in the 7th Biennale of Sydney (1988) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Richard Deacon, Listening to Reason, 1988. Artwork exhibited in the 7th Biennale of Sydney (1988) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Nam June Paik, TV-Buddha, 1989. Artwork exhibited in the 8th Biennale of Sydney (1990) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Carle Santos, Piano Performance, 1990. Installation view of the 8th Biennale of Sydney (1990) . Photograph: Heidrun Lohr
Ange Leccia, Je veux ce que je veux (I want what I want), 1989. Installation view of the 8th Biennale of Sydney (1990) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Courtesy Galerie Montenay, Paris
9th Biennale of Sydney: The Boundary Rider (1992) exhibition catalogue cover
Igor Kopystiansky, Interior, 1992. Installation
Yinka Shonibare, How Does a Girl Like You, Get to be a Girl Like You, 1995. Installation view of the 10th Biennale of Sydney (1996) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Ann Hamilton, bearings, 1996. Installation view of the 10th Biennale of Sydney (1996) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Courtesy the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery, New York
Ernesto Neto, Espaconave Ovulo, 1997
Perry Roberts, Untitled (outside Wharf, Pier 2/3), 1998. Installation view of the 11th Biennale of Sydney (1998) at Pier 2/3. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph: Sarah Blee
Rasheed Araeen, Where there’s a will there’s a way, 1998. Installation view of the 11th Biennale of Sydney (1998) outside Government House, Sydney
Xu Bing, Introduction to new English calligraphy, 1994–96. Installation view of the 12th Biennale of Sydney (2000) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Photograph: Jenni Carter
Rene Block AM. Photograph: Mariana Vassileva
Yoko Ono, Ex It, 1997. Installation view of the 12th Biennale of Sydney (2000) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Photograph: Jenni Carter
James Angus, Shangri-La, 2002. Installation view of the 13th Biennale of Sydney (2002) at the Sydney Opera House
Vasco Araújo, La Stupenda, 2002. Installation view of the 13th Biennale of Sydney (2002) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Photograph: Jenni Carter
James Angus, Shangri-La, 2002. Installation view of the 13th Biennale of Sydney (2002) at the Sydney Opera House
Yin Xiuzhen, International Flight, 2001–04. Installation view of the 14th Biennale of Sydney (2004) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Courtesy the artist
Jimmie Durham, Still life with stone and car, 2004. Installation view of the 14th Biennale of Sydney (2004) at the Sydney Opera House Forecourt. Courtesy the artist
Ai Weiwei, World Map, 2006. Installation view of the 15th Biennale of Sydney (2006) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Adrian Paci, Noise of Light, 2005. Installation view of the 15th Biennale of Sydney (2006) at Pier 2/3. Courtesy the artist and Galleria Francesca Kaufmann, Milan. Photograph: Jenni Carter
Anthony Gormley, Asian Field, 2003. Installation view of the 15th Biennale of Sydney (2006) at Pier 2/3. Courtesy of the artist and Jay Jopling/White Cube, London. Photograph: Greg Weight
Paul Pfeiffer, 'Vitruvian Figure', 2008. Installation view of the 16th Biennale of Sydney (2008) at Cockatoo Island. Courtesy the artist and The Project, New York. Photograph: Greg Weight
Tiger Lillies, 'Cockatoo Prison', 2010. Performance for the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010) at Cockatoo Island: Thursday, 20 May; Friday, 21 May and Saturday, 22 May 2010. Photograph: Sebastian Kriete
Newell Harry, Reverse Missionary (Nerveless Rats Hesitate/As Venereal Theists Rest), 2010. Installation view of the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010) at Pier 2/3. Courtesy the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney. Photograph: Sebastian Kriete
Sachiko Abe, Cut Papers # 13, 2012. Performance for the 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012) at Cockatoo Island. Courtesy the artist and Waugh Office. Photograph: Sebastian Kriete
Li Hongbo, Ocean of Flowers, 2012. Installation view of the 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012) at Cockatoo Island. Courtesy the artist. Photograph: Sebastian Kriete
Pierre Huyghe, A Forest of Lines, 2008. Installation view of the 16th Biennale of Sydney (2008) in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House. Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York and Paris. Photograph: Paul Green
Vernon Ah Kee, What Is An Aborigine, 2008. Installation view of the 16th Biennale of Sydney (2008) at Cockatoo Island. Courtesy the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane. Photograph: Greg Weight
Kader Attia, Kasbah, 2010. Installation view of the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010) at Cockatoo Island. Courtesy the artist; Galerie Christian Nagel, Cologne/Berlin; and Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna
Choi Jeong Hwa, Hubble Bubble, 2010. Installation view of the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010) at the Sydney Opera House. Courtesy the artist. Photograph: Sebastian Kriete
Yolngu artists, Installation of 110 larrakitj by 41 Yolngu artists from North East Arnhem Land, 1998–2009. Installation view of the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010) at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Courtesy Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth. Photograph: Sebastian Kriete
Philip Beesley, Hylozoic Series: Sibyl, 2012. Installation view of the 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012) at Cockatoo Island. Courtesy the artist. Photograph: Sebastian Kriete
Tiffany Singh, Knock On The Sky Listen To The Sound, 2011. Installation view of the 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012) at Pier 2/3. Courtesy the artist. Photograph: Sebastian Kriete
Jin Shi, Small Business Karaoke, 2009. Installation view of the 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Courtesy White Rabbit Collection, Sydney. Photograph: Sebastian Kriete
Jim Lambie, Zobop, 2014, vinyl tape, varnish, dimensions variable. Installation view of the 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014) at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Courtesy the artist and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow. Created for the 19th Biennale of Sydney. Photograph: James Horan/Destination NSW
Tinka Pittoors, Dysideological Principle, 2013–14, mixed-media installation, dimensions variable. Installation view of the 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014) at Carriageworks. Courtesy the artist; Galerie TRIANGLE BLEU, Stavelot; and Base-Alpha Gallery, Antwerp. Created for the 19th Biennale of Sydney. Photograph: Gunther Hang
Eglė Budvytytė, Choreography for the Running Male, 2012–14, performance, 30 mins. Performance as part of the 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014) Courtesy the artist. Originally commissioned by Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius. This version was created for the 19th Biennale of Sydney. Photograph: Sebastian Kriete
Bianca Hester, fashioning discontinuities, 2013–14. A multi-part project distributed across Sydney – involving various objects, propositions, interventions, sonic actions, recordings, material residues, and an installation that provisionally assembles some of these parts into relationship. The project will culminate in the production of a book published towards the conclusion of the Biennale. Dimensions of installation at Cockatoo Island: variable. Dimensions of the project as it is distributed across Sydney: variable according to situation. For details of various sites and actions, visit www.biancahester.net. Installation view of the 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014) at St Mary's Cathedral forecourt, Sydney. Courtesy the artist and Sarah Scout, Melbourne. Created for the 19th Biennale of Sydney. Photograph: Sebastian Kriete
Keg de Souza, We Built This City, 2016, tents, tarps, hessian sacks, piping, plaid laundry bags, various found and recycled materials, dialogue, tour program, dimensions variable. Installation view (2016) at 16 Vine Street for the 20th Biennale of Sydney. Courtesy the artist Created for the 20th Biennale of Sydney. Photographer: Ben Symons
Taro Shinoda, Abstraction of Confusion, 2016, clay, pigment, ochre, tatami mats, dimensions variable. Installation view (2016) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales for the 20th Biennale of Sydney. Courtesy the artist. Created for the 20th Biennale of Sydney. Photograph: Ben Symons
Korakrit Arunanondchai, Painting with history in a room filled with people with funny names 3, 2015–16, HD video, denim, foam, wood, 24:55 mins. Installation view (2016) at Cockatoo Island for the 20th Biennale of Sydney. Courtesy the artist; C L E A R I N G, New York and Brussels; and Carlos/Ishikawa, London. This project was made possible with assistance from Dr Clinton Ng. Photograph: Tai Spruyt

The Biennale of Sydney Archive project began in 2015 when over 40 years of records were donated to the National Art Archive at the Art Gallery of NSW to be organised, indexed and digitised. The Gallery and the Biennale are working in partnership on this historic project. 

More than 1000 boxes make up the archive, which includes artists’ files, images, correspondence, media clippings and photographic and video documentation that stretches back to the inaugural Biennale exhibition in 1973. 

Locating the Biennale Archive at the Gallery ensures that it will be available to future researchers with elements accessible to the public through both the Gallery and Biennale websites. 


Professional archiving has been made possible by a generous gift from Transfield Holdings, the Biennale’s principle corporate partner for over 40 years. We celebrate the vision of Franco Belgiorno-Nettis (1915–2006), Founding Patron and founder of Transfield, who created the Biennale of Sydney in 1973 and whose company provided the continuous financial and administrative support that firmly established it.