The former train workshop continues to cement its reputation as Sydney’s engine house of contemporary visual and performance art.
Audrey contributor Lenny Ann Low picks her favourites from the 2018 Carriageworks program.
Katharina Grosse – The Horse Trotted Another Couple of Metres, Then It Stopped
January 6 – April 8
Renowned German artist Katharina Grosse has taken over Carriageworks’ foyer to create the world premiere of a mammoth, three-dimensional and fully immersible painting work. Commissioned by Carriageworks, the site-specific, boundary-defying installation invites spectators to walk through a kaleidoscopic other-world created by Grosse over four weeks using a spray-gun and 8,250 square-metres of fabric suspended from the building’s lofty industrial rafters.
Carriageworks’ artistic director Lisa Havilah says the work, which is part of Sydney Festival 2018, is “the most ambitious single-artist commission” ever undertaken by the arts organisation.
Grosse, who is lauded for her monumental works, each painted directly onto existing buildings, landscapes or interiors, says she was “interested in taking this vast surface and shrinking it by folding or, actually, hiding the entirety of what’s there.
“I understand a painting as something that, as we view it, travels through us and realigns our connections with the world.”
The Backstories – Moya Dodd
Moya Dodd, a legend in Australian football and a powerful and respected figure in the game globally, reveals personal stories, memories and photos in an intimate reflection of an extraordinary life. Picked to play for the Matildas when she was 19, Dodd wowed on-field for a decade before going on to be appointed to the executive committee of FIFA, the international governing body of football.
Co-presented with resident company Contemporary Asian Australian Performance, The Backstories is a solo work featuring Dodd, born of Chinese and Anglo-Australian parentage, opening up about her early years growing up in the Western Sydney market garden of her grandparents to playing at the pinnacle of Australian women’s football, becoming a lawyer and becoming one of the first women to serve on the board of FIFA.
Part of a series commissioned by Adelaide Festival, the work is directed by renowned autobiographical storyteller William Yang and writer-director Annette Shun-Wah.
21st Biennale of Sydney – Superposition: Equilibrium and Engagement
March 16 – June 11
In an increasingly turbulent time of ideological tensions, cultural differences and abrasive conflict, the artistic director of the 21st Biennale of Sydney Mami Kataoka, chief curator of Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum, has selected superposition as the theme of next year’s festival, pondering ideas of coexistence and equilibrium.
At Carriageworks, the three-month festival includes new and existing work from filmmaker and video artist Nguyen Trinh Thi, Australian painter George Tjungurrayi, South Korean installation artist Haegue Yang and Brighton-based duo Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, known as Semiconductor. The work of the late Chinese ink and video artist Chen Shaoxiong, whose work sought to redefine historical images of political importance, is also being shown.
The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras: Queer Thinking
Celebrating their 40th anniversary, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras features three events at Carriageworks including a fabulous cabaret, a Vogue-ing ball and a prescient program of talks and forums investigating queer thinking.
Presented by resident company Moogahlin Performing Arts, Black Nulla Cabaret features diverse queer performance from Australian and international guests along with artists from the Black Nulla workshops, while Sissy Ball, curated by artist and club icon Bhenji Ra, takes its cue from the New York underground ballroom scene with an invitation to throw extravagant and precise poses in a stylish showcase of fevered bodies.
Keir Choreographic Award
The highly anticipated biennial Keir Choreographic Award returns with its dazzlingly innovative array of short contemporary dance works commissioned by Carriageworks.
Eight artists, including Nana Bilus, Luke George, Melanie Lane, Prue Lang, Amrita Hepi and Branch Nebula’s Mirabelle Wouters and Lee Wilson, have been selected to create original, experimental and cross-artform works of no longer than 20 minutes.
Be prepared for variety. Bilus is a founding member of dance collective Secret Dance Team, known for “engaging in ChoreoGraphic acts of extreme tree-hugging and site-specific protest dancing” while George’s recent work Erotic Dance was a charged and provocative melding of sound, the naked body and recovering our senses.
The Howling Girls – Sydney Chamber Opera
March 28 – April 7
In the weeks following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre on September 11, five young women walked separately into New York hospitals with similar, but unexplainable, symptoms. Each could not swallow and they believed debris from the towers was stuck in their throat. Although doctors found nothing, the phenomenon of the five women gained notoriety.
This new chamber opera, a world premiere, explores “the medium and metaphor of the voice, its loss and and attempted reconstitution” and is presented as “a slow-motion panic attack”. With a chorus of young girls, the work investigates the haunting phenomenon in a collaboration between composer Damien Ricketson, director Adena Jacobs and soprano Jane Sheldon.
Sydney Writers Festival
April 30 – May 6
The 2018 Sydney Writer’s Festival makes Carriageworks its main festival hub for two years as the Wharf Precinct undergoes major refurbishment. Featuring more than 400 literary conversations and events from international and Australian writers, authors, journalists, screenwriters and big thinkers, the festival remains Australia’s largest festival of literary hoopla.
Grab your cotton book bag and photos of favourite authors as they are sure to be found wandering the former railway yards in search of fans and book-signings in the autumn air.
Micro Macro – Ryoji Ikeda
Acclaimed, and notoriously elusive, Japanese composer and artist Ryoji Ikeda makes very, very small things unutterably enormous. From the world of particle physics, and using video projectors, speakers and computers, he has created spectacular large-scale projections of light, and often extraordinarily loud sounds, for a hypnotic audience experience.
Developed during a residency at CERN, European Organisation for Nuclear Research, Ikeda says, his work is created “by reducing sound, light and the world into sine waves, pixels and data … so that the world can be viewed once more at a different resolution.”
Black Arts Market
Curators Hetti Perkins and Jonathan Jones call the Black Arts Market “a snapshot of an extraordinary moment: a cultural renaissance that is flourishing through-out the south-east of Aboriginal Australia.”
It is a rare and unique opportunity to meet directly with artists, buy original high quality works and discover diverse and traditional cultural practice.
A free and increasingly popular event, the 2016 market featured 99 artists, 55 stallholders and more than 10,000 visitors.
Nick Cave – Until
Major American artist Nick Cave’s large-scale, multi-part installation Until is a visual response to the epidemic of gun violence and race relations in the United States, something he describes as a “state of urgency”.
The installation features a series of environments created from thousands of found objects and beads. One environment includes a cloudscape of crystals interspersed with chandeliers beneath a faux garden crammed with traditional lawn ornaments such as ceramic birds, gilded pigs, fake flowers, and cast iron lawn jockeys. Spectators climb ladders to view the world above the sparkling crystals.
In another area 16,000 “wind-spinner” ornaments are hung from the ceiling creating a rainforest of colourful beauty. But looking closer reveals images of guns, tear-drops and targets scattered between them.
Best known for his elaborate wearable Soundsuits seen recently in Sydney as dancing animals in Heard, Cave says he wanted to create “this sensation of something extraordinary and magical and beautiful and yet, once you realise what you’re looking at you’re like, ‘Not so pretty’.”
Until’s title plays on the adage “innocent until proven guilty”, which is increasingly losing out to “guilty until proven innocent”.