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Make graceful and lasting change

Sydney Biennale 2024

Cindy Tonkin - April 19, 2024

Cathie and Anna and I have seen 2 x biennale sites so far.

The first was the Chau Chak Wing museum (in what used to be a tennis court when I was studying at Sydney University in the mid-80s). The permanent collection had some lovely small things – a collection of buckles / toggles etc. I took no photographs of that or of the biennale selection which really didn’t speak to me (the exhibition where one woman intoned a spoken word piece, polluting with sound all of the other pieces around it is my notable unhappiness).

The second was the MCA which we did on Friday. The images are below. here’s some explanation of them.

  • the mandala made of actual butterflies was pretty but also creepy, which is why you find an image of an actual dead butterfly outside my house when i arrived home that day
  • the giant piece on a yellow wall, which i only looked at from the storey above; apparently it was quite delightful, but i didn’t go up close
  • Frank Moore’s buffalo piece – which i think may be part of the permanent collection: it was true at the Melbourne Triennal that they had permanent pieces mixed up with the exhibition pieces, so i guess that’s why it’s there (because its subject matter is AIDS/HIV and it was painted then). I just liked the tiny buffalo in the bed – as endangered species, which as an HIV sufferer he considered himself
  • The video of Tracy Moffatt’s shitty first jobs series. After examining them in detail it’s clear she photo-collaged some of them, because she appears in every photo of original 1970’s hairdresser, cannery, milk bar etc images. I really like the colour palette too, the pastel pinks and greens of nostalgia

The fourth image, of a map i mostly took so I could maybe use it as an inspiration for the monotypes and Robyn’s maps I’ve been working on.

Next week we’ll go to UNSW/COFA where people say things are interesting. Haven’t yet been to White Bay, which is apparently most impressive for the venue. I miss making the trek to Cockatoo Island.

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