March 20, 2014

As part of the 19th Biennale of Sydney, last night the Museum of Contemporary Art opened its installation of twenty international artists spread out quite majestically over two levels. Eschewing conflict and strife, as it takes shape this Biennale seems more about the sublimely visual, those incontestable good vibes that speak to universal values of harmony, visual and otherwise. I loved Glaswegian artist, Jim Lambie’s vibrant ‘Zobop’ – a floor work constructed from multi-coloured masking tape that surreptitiously echoed the walls (and thus the boundaries) of the MCA. Another hit is undoubtedly Roni Horn’s very meditative ‘Ten Liquid Incidents’ that is an elegant followup to her almost obsessive photographic cataloguing of various waterways. Still, almost mutable, each sculptural glass ‘incident’ seems like a literally stopped moment in time. Sublime. And then there was Douglas Gordon’s gut-wrenching Phantom film installation. It seems simple enough – and intensely cropped close up of a kohl-rimmed eye projected behind a Steinway grand piano with the guts ripped out and the angsty voice of singer Rufus Wainwright III cascading in dramatic arpeggios over the speaker system. Theatrical to the point of melodramatic, the effect is totally visceral. A must-see.

Author: Nick tobias