Biennale of Sydney

Jose Dávila

Jose Dávila, Joint Effort, 2020. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney. Courtesy the artist and König Galerie, Berlin. Photograph: Zan Wimberley.
Front to Rear: Jose Dávila, The riddles have been unriddled, 2020; Joint Effort, 2020; and Legacy is seldom stable, 2020. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney. Courtesy the artist and König Galerie, Berlin. Photograph: Zan Wimberley.
Jose Dávila, Legacy is seldom stable, 2020. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney. Courtesy the artist and König Galerie, Berlin. Photograph: Zan Wimberley.
Jose Dávila, The Act of Perseverance, 2020. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney. Courtesy the artist and König Galerie, Berlin. Photograph: Zan Wimberley.

Jose Dávila

Born 1974 in Guadalajara, Mexico
Lives and works in Guadalajara


Jose Dávila has challenged his own practice and created site-specific sculptures from found objects on Cockatoo Island, the site of an early colonial quarry, a British convict precinct of incarceration, a place where ships were built for the Second World War, and now a protected UNESCO site. The sculptures are metaphors for the forgotten welfare of sandstone, metals and discarded objects that once had usefulness and power. When we look at these sculptures, they teeter as if to fall, yet hold themselves together through uncanny support, a careful and precise game with gravity, and a trick of the eye. It is surprising – in their new combinations, these discarded materials survive to reflect our own rejection of them, like a memory trying to get back to a place of visibility.

Jose Dávila’s work is a constant search for moments of shared reciprocity between paradoxical elements. By means of a structural intuition, Dávila produces constructive situations in which tension and stillness, geometric order and random chaos, fragility and resistance, are fluctuating commonplaces for materials in continuous transformation. Based on the specificity of the materials that he uses, Dávila highlights their inherent contradictions, pushing the boundaries of perception in order to challenge the relation between form and content.

Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney. Courtesy of the artist and König Galerie, Berlin.

Exhibited at

Exhibited Artwork

Jose Dávila, The riddles have been unriddled, 2020. Glass, ratchet straps, and found materials from Cockatoo Island. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney Courtesy of the artist and König Galerie, Berlin

Photograph: Alex Robinson

Location: Cockatoo Island

Jose Dávila, Joint Effort, 2020, Glass, ratchet straps, and found materials from Cockatoo Island. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney Courtesy of the artist and König Galerie, Berlin

Photograph: Alex Robinson

Location: Cockatoo Island

Jose Dávila, Legacy is seldom stable, 2020, Glass, ratchet straps, and found materials from Cockatoo Island, dimensions variable. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney. Courtesy of the artist and König Galerie, Berlin

Photograph: Zan Wimberley

Location: Cockatoo Island

Jose Dávila, The riddles have been unriddled, 2020. Glass, ratchet straps, and found materials from Cockatoo Island. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney Courtesy of the artist and König Galerie, Berlin

Photograph: Alex Robinson

Location: Cockatoo Island