Words: Charlotte Middleton
The Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) has announced the 25 leading Australian contemporary artists selected for the 2022 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Free/State, as well as dates of the forthcoming iteration.
Curated by Sebastian Goldspink, Free/State will deliver new and unexpected visions of transformative personal and public moments, spanning the mediums of photography, painting, sculpture, installation and the moving image.
“Free/State is a biennial for the times; wild, frenetic and unbound,” says Goldspink, a seasoned independent curator and academic. “Humorous and filled with pathos, contradictory and unified – a celebration of artists exploring urgent ideas through a personal lens.”
The multi-generational collective of visionary and trailblazing artists assembled for the Biennial hail from every Australian state and territory:
Abdul-Rahman Abdullah (WA), Serena Bonson (NT), Mitch Cairns (NSW), Dean Cross (NSW), Shaun Gladwell (VIC), Dennis Golding (NSW), Loren Kronemyer (TAS), Laith McGregor (NSW), Kate Mitchell (QLD), Tracey Moffatt (NSW), Stanislava Pinchuk (VIC), Tom Polo (NSW), JD Reforma (NSW), Reko Rennie (VIC), Julie Rrap (NSW), Kate Scardifield (NSW), Darren Sylvester (VIC), Jelena Telecki (NSW), Rhoda Tjitayi (SA), James Tylor & Rebecca Selleck (ACT), Angela & Hossein Valamanesh (SA), Sera Waters (SA), and Min Wong (NSW).
The artists offer reflections on an era of global upheaval on multiple levels, in an exhibition exploring ideas of transcending various states of being, and embracing notions of freedom in expression, creation and collaboration.
“Each of these artists is emblematic of the many divergent facets of contemporary Australian art,” says Goldspink. “Diversity is embraced and celebrated in Free/State and the exhibition is reflective of a nation still in the throes of grappling with its past and defining its future.”
Free/State facilitates generational conversations between more senior trailblazing artists such as Tracey Moffatt, Angela and Hossein Valamanesh and Julie Rrap, and younger generations whose paths they have courageously paved the way for.
The group of emerging artists featured in the exhibition represent a nascent generation that have come of age in a fundamentally digital world and offer new modes of practice and artistic thought.
As the nation’s longest-running curated survey of contemporary Australian art, The Adelaide Biennial has created career-defining opportunities for close to 500 artists since 1990. Part of the Adelaide Festival, the Biennial has also welcomed more than one million visitors.
AGSA Director Rhana Devenport ONZM says: “The Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art is more important now than ever, as we collectively embrace a newfound appreciation for creators and acknowledge how hard these times have been for those in the arts.”
Staged throughout the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA), the 2022 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Free/State will be presented from 4 March to 5 June 2022 as part of the 2022 Adelaide Festival.
This article was originally published 16 September 2021.
Image: Dennis Golding (Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay, New South Wales, born 1989, Sydney), ‘Untitled’ Botany Bay, 2018. Photograph, 155 x 87cm. Courtesy: the artist. Photo: Jack Cook.