Sydney to be set aglow by John Olsen and many more

The full Vivid line-up has now been announced.

Words: Erin Irwin

Set to the theme of ‘Vivid Sydney, Naturally’, the 2023 iteration of Vivid looks to the natural world for inspiration and illumination. With over 50 installations, projections and events under Vivid Light – not to mention the numerous other events occurring as part of Vivid Idea, Vivid Music, and for the first time Vivid Food across the three-week program – Sydney’s CBD will be transformed by a diverse range of immersive experiences.

Vivid will be launched by a massive opening celebration that will include First Light, a Calling to Country curated by Vivid Sydney’s First Nations Advisor Rhoda Roberts AO that will include performers from across Australia and the globe.

This year, the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House will display a celebration of artist John Olsen titled Life Enlivened, whose 60-year career inspired by the Australian landscape has been distilled by curator Dr. Deborah Hart. The works featured will include Salute to Five Bells, which was commissioned specifically for the Sydney Opera House’s Concert Hall Northern Foyer.

Across the quay, the Museum of Contemporary Art will display on its façade Barerarerungar by Yorta Yorta/Wamba Wamba/Mutti Mutti/Boonwurrung artist Maree Clarke. Meaning ‘Country’ in Boonwurrung, a language from Kulin Nation, the work presents river reeds which represent safe travels and friendship. Created in collaboration with The Electric Canvas, Barerarerungar is emblematic of Clarke’s multidisciplinary practice, reclaiming art and cultural traditions lost to colonisation.

Several other buildings across the city will also be lit up with light installations, including Customs House with Inside Out, created by Spinifex Group in collaboration with the Australian Museum of Design, the ASN Clock tower with Biotechture by Spanish studio Hotaru Visual Guerrilla, the Powerhouse Museum with Common Ground by the collective Urbanscreen,  and the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons with Between You and Me by Eggpicnic.

Art installations will be dotted around the city, including River Mouth by local artist Emma-Kate Hart, one of the few traditional neon glass blowers in Sydney, and Vivid House at Barangaroo, which features four immersive artworks including Australian Oceans by Craig Parry.

Vivid Sydney runs from 26 May to 17 June.

For more information, visit Vivid Sydney’s website here.

This article was posted 20 March 2023.

Image: Lighting of the Sails, Life Enlivened, 2023, by John Olsen and Curiious. Courtesy: the Sydney Opera House, Sydney.


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