Words: Charlotte Middleton
Preparations are in full swing for the 2022 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Free/State, running from 4 March to 5 June 2022. The Biennial will be staged throughout the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) as part of the Adelaide Festival 2022.
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. “Humorous and filled with pathos, contradictory and unified – a celebration of artists exploring urgent ideas through a personal lens.”
The multi-generational collective of 25 artists assembled for the Biennial hail from every Australian state and territory, challenging histories and art forms, and offering reflections on an era of multifaceted global upheaval.
One such artist is Laith McGregor, who will present two major drawings plus a project entitled Strange Days at the Biennial. Strange Days takes the form of a collective ‘S.O.S.’ installation, featuring messages in bottles contributed by members of the public.
McGregor sees the sealed vessels as holding the potential for universal communication and as being representative of
hope in a time when we need it most.
“At some stage over the last three years, we have all felt like a castaway stuck on an island reaching out to loved ones with our own messages in a bottle,” explained the artist. “However, even in times of distress – as poet John Donne once wrote – ‘No man is an island’ and this work reflects our collective state of being during these strange times.”
The Adelaide Biennial is the nation’s longest-running curated survey of contemporary Australian art. Since 1990, as part of the Adelaide Festival, the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art has created career-defining opportunities for close to 500 artists and has been experienced by more than one million visitors.
For more information ahead of the Biennial’s opening on Friday 4 March, visit www.agsa.sa.gov.au.
This article was posted 25 February 2022.
Image: Laith McGregor, ‘Strange Days’, 2021-22. Pencil, paper, miscellaneous objects, bottles, dimensions variable. Courtesy: the artist; STATION Gallery, Australia; and Starkwhite, New Zealand.
Thumbnail image: Laith McGregor, ‘Floating’, 2013. Ink on paper, glass, cork, 31.75 x 13.97cm. Courtesy: the artist; STATION Gallery, Australia; and Starkwhite, New Zealand.