Perth International Arts Festival

Three major solo exhibitions by acclaimed international artists and an array of incisive group projects form the 2015 Visual Arts Program. Collectively these offer dynamic contemporary arts experiences taking audiences from moments of reflection and reverie to provocation and the political. Powerful image making is blended with performance underpinning the hybrid nature of making art in the digital age. A suite of crayon drawings, and other handcrafted inclusions that punctuate the program provide a foil to the multi media predominance that moves from the cinematic to augmented reality. For all the monumentality of scale, sound and ideas the program is filtered with art that is sensuous, emotional and immersive.

In an exciting Australian premiere, celebrated Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson presents work across two galleries. Kjartansson’s acumen in music, film and performance combine sublimely in his art, instilling with it a poetic and compelling sense of the romantic and the absurd. The Visitors, an immersive, nine-channel musical video installation, fills the John Curtin Gallery. In a single take within a rambling mansion, nine intimate portraits of Kjartansson and his friends are recombined into this rapturous ode to femininity. At Fremantle Arts Centre, The End, filmed in the snow-laden wilderness of Canada, is equally beguiling and is complemented by a selection of earlier videos and exquisite watercolours.

Tokyo-born, New York-based Mariko Mori is one of the most important artists of our time; through an exploration of themes, such as life, death and rebirth, her work resonates with audiences around the world.Rebirth, at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, is an immersive, contemplative experience composed of installations, glowing LED sculptures, photographs, drawings and videos.

Tracey Moffatt is among Australia’s best known and most influential contemporary artists and recently returned home after 14 years in New York. ‘Kaleidoscope’ at PICA is her first major solo exhibition in Perth since 2004 and includes the Western Australian premiere of her candid new video work, Art Calls, in which the artist plays a talk-show host. In an honest, unruly and comic TV series pilot, Moffatt quizzes eight artists on what art means to them. The video is presented alongside an installation of bold photography and works on paper from her evocative Spirit Landscapes series.

‘An Internal Difficulty’ brings together seven Western Australian artists to examine the figure of Sigmund Freud in his domestic context. In Subiaco pARk, eight Western Australian artists respond to the picturesque surrounds of Subiaco’s Theatre Gardens using augmented reality (AR) technology. By downloading the Subiaco pARk app onto a mobile device, audiences can unlock a fantastical, hidden world of site-specific sound, animation and digital sculpture. ‘Theatres’ is an exhibition of contemporary video art that examines places of geopolitical conflict and contention in areas of divide, borders and places of violent exchange. Drawing on works produced in current sites of international unrest,ÕTheatresÕ invites audiences to reflect on the relationship between the medium of video, political conflict and theatrical spectacle. Featuring works by leading Australian and international artists, Theatres is presented across two venues, Hackett Hall at the Western Australian Museum and Moana Project Space.

Featuring more than 100 vibrant crayon drawings produced by the Yolngu community in Arnhem Land in 1947, and presented in a space designed to represent their Yirrkala homeland, ‘Yirrkala Drawings’ directs our imagination into the Yolngu worldview. Their daily lives, connection with traditional lands, artworks, cultural histories and evidence of interactions with Makassans before European colonisation inform the stories in these boldly rendered artworks. Digital installations enrich this important exhibition from the Berndt Museum.

Across the boundaries of art, history and community, ‘Spaced 2: Future Recall’  invites you to rediscover regional Western Australia from the viewpoint of 14 acclaimed international and Australian contemporary artists. This exhibition concludes the second edition of the spaced program, a recurring international event of socially engaged art, presented by International Art Space in partnership with the Western Australian Museum.

Perth International Arts Festival
Until 7 March, 2015

Images courtesy the artists, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Luhring Augustine, New York and i8 Gallery, Reykjavik 

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