A world of wonder at the 2016 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art

The 2016 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art has revealed its latest showcase, Magic Object, which will transport audiences to a world of curiosity and enchantment through the eyes of Australian contemporary artists early next year.

Featuring works from Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Glenn Barkley, Chris Bond, Pepai Carroll, Tarryn Gill and many more, Magic Object will invite viewers into the extraordinary realm of Australian contemporary art explored through the mediums of photography, painting, performance, sculpture, installation and the moving image. Inspired by the concept of the Wunderkammer, or ‘cabinet of curiosities’, Magic Object will provide a space for artists and audiences alike to consider fresh iterations of the cultural rituals and talismanic ideas informing the remarkable content of the showcase. Prior to the advent of museums and galleries, the Wunderkammer was a room or cabinet dedicated to showcasing yet-to-be-classified works and objects. Magic Object seeks to explore the juxtaposition of the visibility and accessibility of contemporary life with the world of the unknown and wondrous embodied in the Wunderkammer. With the exhibition unfolding across several venues in Adelaide including the Art Gallery, the Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, JamFactory, Carrick Hill and the Santos Museum of Economic Botany, the 2016 Biennial is set to be the most ambitious showcase to date since its inception in 1990. “Spread across these sites, I’ve invited artists to consider magic and object-hood and to explore how materials speak to both artists and audiences,” says curator Lisa Slade. “Much of the work presented in Magic Object looks like one thing, but is really another. It possesses a materiality akin to trickery or magic.” Presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia, Magic Object will run from Saturday, February 27 to Sunday, May 15 in conjunction with the Adelaide Festival of Arts. The Vernissage weekend of the 2016 Adelaide Festival will offer free talks and panel discussions on a variety of topics by artists and thinkers, who will consider perspectives on material and magical thinking while grounded in the context of the enchanting Wunderkammer. As well as being a fitting counter-point to Adelaide’s 2014 Biennial, Dark Heart, the 2016 installment is set to be an unforgettable exploration of all things curious and marvellous in Australia’s longest-standing survey of contemporary Australian art. artgallery.sa.gov.au/agsa/home   Images: Gareth Sansom, A universal timeless allegory, 2014 (detail), oil and enamel on linen, 213.0 x 274.0 cm. Private collection, Brisbane. Courtesy the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane. Michael Zavros, The Poodle, 2014 (detail), oil on canvas, 135.0 x 155.0 cm. Courtesy the artist and Starkwhite, Auckland.

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