Biennale of Sydney

Biennale of Sydney Archive Display

Archive Salons

Selected Wednesdays in April and May 2018, 6–8 pm

Price: Free
At: In the exhibition, Art Gallery of New South Wales

Join special guests and staff from the Biennale of Sydney in the archival display created for the 21st Biennale of Sydney.

This series begins on 4 April with members of the working group responsible for assembling the materials on display. Bring questions and contribute memories to the Archive.


30 May

Guests: Roslyn Helper, Anna May Kirk, Talia Smith, Sabella D'Souza and Katie Winten

Our final Archive Salon brings together artists and curators/organisers involved in self-organised, artist-run and alternative Sydney art scenes and festivals to consider the future of art in Sydney. This event pays tribute to the activism of the 1970s and 1980s in Sydney, when the artistic community came together to have a say about the representational politics of large-scale exhibitions like the Biennale of Sydney, and worked to influence its course. Guest speakers include artists, curators and organisers Roslyn Helper, Anna May Kirk, Talia Smith, Sabella D'Souza and Katie Winten.

Roslyn Helper is an artist, writer and curator, and Director of Underbelly Arts, a platform for the development and presentation of new work that focuses on emerging artists and experimentation. Former Artistic Director of Electrofringe from 2012-16, she is the founder of the online exhibition space New Physics and co-founder of art partnership zin.

Anna May Kirk is an emerging curator, organiser and artist, who is currently the Executive Producer of Arts and Culture at FBi Radio and the Coordinator of AD Space. She is interested in collaborative, experimental and community focused approaches to curating and project making.

Talia Smith is an artist, curator and sometimes writer from New Zealand, now based in Sydney. She is proudly of Cook Island, Samoan and NZ European heritage. She is the current Chair of Runway Australian Experimental Art and the Founder and Co-Director of the Petersham artist run initiative Cold Cuts.

Sabella D’Souza is a Sydney-based artist whose performance based practice considers the notions of ownership, cultural identity and the use of public and private spaces, in particular, cyberspace. She is currently Executive Producer of FBi's weekly arts program, Canvas: Art & Ideas.

Katie Winten is the Co-Founder of Agenda on FBi Radio and Women in The Arts, and is currently also a Co-Director of Firstdraft Gallery and Program Coordinator at Performance Space. She is interested in addressing gender inequality and exclusionary practices in the Australian arts landscape.


4 April
Guests: Members of the archive display working group
Claire Eggleston, Librarian at the Art Gallery of NSW, Lisa Catt, Assistant curator, International Art at the Art Gallery of NSW and Melissa Ratliff, Curator of Programs and Learning, Biennale of Sydney.  

11 April
Guest: Stephen Jones 

Stephen Jones' video Performance Work as Social Work, 1977 is one of the rich audio-visual documents included within the archive display in the 21st Biennale of Sydney at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and features performance and installation works included in the 2nd Biennale of Sydney (1976). Shot by Stephen Jones and Fujiko Nakaya, it documents works by Fujiko Nakaya, Marr Grounds, Stuart Brisley, Jim Allen, Michael Nicholson, Terry Reid, Insik Quac, Natsuyuki Nakanishi and Michael MacMillan, among others. At our second Archive Salon on Wednesday, 11 April, starting at 6pm, Jones will speak about the artworks and people involved in the 2nd Biennale of Sydney, and his own role in archiving the history of video art in Australia.

Stephen Jones is an artist, engineer, researcher, curator and one of Australia’s pioneers of video art. One of the earliest Australian researchers in the field of video art, he co-curated (with Bernice Murphy) the Videotapes From Australia collection that toured North America, Australia and the Venice Biennial in 1979-80. His book Synthetics: Art & Technology in Australia 1956-1975 was published by MIT Press in 2011, and he is currently working onSynthetics: The Next Generation (working title), his forthcoming publication which records the history of Australian video art from 1975–1990.

18 April
Guests: Gotaro Uematsu and Aden Wessels 

This week we go behind the scenes with Gotaro Uematsu and Aden Wessels, responsible for the technical realisation of complex, challenging and large-scale installations on Cockatoo Island going back to its first use by the Biennale of Sydney in 2008. 

Aden Wessels is Technical Production Manager at the Biennale of Sydney and Gotaro Uematsu is AV Coordinator.

9 May
Guest: Ken Unsworth

Ken Unsworth, one of Australia’s most senior and respected artists, is our special guest for the Archive Salon on Wednesday 9 May. His work spans over four decades and mediums ranging from sculpture to mixed-media performance, and has been seen in major exhibitions around the world. In Australia, he was represented in the early Mildura Sculpture Triennials (1973, 1978), the Australian Sculpture Triennial, Melbourne (1981, 1984, 1993), Perspecta (1981, 1985, 1987, 1988) and five editions of the Biennale of Sydney (1976, 1982, 1986, 1990, 2000). Internationally, he has represented Australia at the Venice Biennale (1978) and participated in influential exhibitions such as the Paris Biennale (1985), Magiciens de la Terre, curated by Jean-Hubert Martin at the Pompidou Centre (1989) and the Istanbul Biennial (1995). He has received numerous awards, and in 1989 was awarded an Australian Creative Fellowship and made a Member of the Order of Australia for service to sculpture.

16 May
Guest: Jonathan Jones

A member of the Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi nations of south-east Australia, Sydney-based Aboriginal artist Jonathan Jones works across a range of mediums to realise site-specific installations and interventions that explore Indigenous practices, relationships and ideas. Centring his practice on acknowledging local traditional owners and Australia’s hidden histories, Jones creates alternative and new spaces in the mainstream for Indigenous culture to exist within, asserting that art 'plays a vital role in the creation and understanding of place, and it is the role of the artist to bring to life history, context and memory.' 

Jonathan Jones' work has been exhibited in more than 60 major Australian and international art museums, galleries, festivals and biennales, including the 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012), where he exhibited untitled (oysters and tea cups), 2012, a site-specific installation that combined British-style teacups with Sydney rock oyster shells to comment on the meeting of Eora, European and Asian peoples in Sydney. Recent exhibitions include Defying empire: third National Indigenous Art Triennial (2017) at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; barrangal dyara (skin and bones), Kaldor Public Art Project 32 at Royal Botanic Garden Sydney (2016); and in 2015 he created the Barangaroo, Sydney, public artwork shell wall with La Perouse elder Aunty Esme Timbery.

23 May
Guest: Gitte Weise

Gitte Weise was founder and Director of Gitte Weise Gallery Sydney/Berlin and ROOM 35 Sydney from 1992–2010. She was the Exhibition Manager for the 7th and 8th editions of the Biennale of Sydney in 1988 and 1990, responsible for Pier 2/3 and the Bond Store in Walsh Bay and working alongside Nick Waterlow and René Block. Weise was exhibition researcher for the exhibition Pop to Popism at the Art Gallery of NSW and in 2013 recreated the 1929 Hera Roberts Room for the Sydney Moderns exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW. She is currently curatorial and exhibitions researcher at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and curatorial adviser and manager for a private art collection.