Water bodies flow across time, place and culture.
Rivermouth brings together works from rīvus, the 23rd Biennale of Sydney (2022), in a new exhibition featuring six local and international artists/participants: the Birrarung/Yarra River, Tania Candiani, Jessie French, Gail Mabo, Diana Scherer and Paula de Solminihac.
Developed by guest curator José Roca, Artistic Director of the 23rd Biennale of Sydney, Rivermouth amplifies aqueous relationships with sky and earth Country and builds upon some of the Biennale’s themes and concerns. It considers the migratory routes of waterbirds, recognises First Nations systems of celestial and seasonal mapping, and explores the potential and agency of natural elements, materials and cycles of growth, decay and regeneration.
Speaking on behalf of Birrarung/Yarra River, Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Dave Wandin tells of the importance of caring for Country while Meriam artist Mabo’s star maps demonstrate her people’s complex understanding of celestial navigation. Candiani’s ambitious Waterbirds: Migratory Sound Flow, co-commissioned by the Biennale and MUMA, features field recordings of migratory birds in Australia alongside bird calls emanating from replicas of pre-Hispanic wind instruments attached to a large hanging branch ‘river’.
Rivermouth includes a number of creative collaborations with more-than-human beings and elements: Scherer works with grasses, coaxing them to weave their roots into intricate textiles that are grown in the exhibition space. French creates bioplastics from algae, while de Solminihac’s work makes more apparent the invisible processes of transformation that occur in nature and art.