Curated by José Da Silva and titled Inner Sanctum, the rich survey exhibition presents 24 artists and poets whose work reflects contemporary Australian art practice now.

Inner Sanctum encourages us to take refuge, seek a place of sanctuary, and to go within. By rethinking those places we create in our homes, in communities, connecting the ordinary to the divine, or the even the art museum itself, we can pause to reflect and find hope in challenging times.

Da Silva states: “the artists and poets are united by their shared interest in the human condition. Together, they have created an exhibition that honours the role of creative disciplines in helping us understand ourselves and the world we live in. Their work reminds us of how fascinating, curious, heart-breaking and resilient life can be.” Further, “Inner Sanctum is activated by universal, timeless impulses and speaks to the rich tapestry of cultural and aesthetic inheritances in Australian art; a leaning into spiritual or philosophical contemplation, honouring our emotional inner worlds; and the transformative potential of art and exhibitions to enlighten the social imagination.”

The Biennial is broadly curated across 5 key interconnected themes: The Inland Sea; A Clearing, A Periphery; The River Path; A Quiet Spot; and, The Writing of Love and Finding It. Ambitious and experimental projects span both the collection and temporary spaces of the Gallery, creating a meandering journey for audiences to explore. Notable highlights include:

Jacobus Capone, Forewarning (Act 1), 2023

Highlights from the ‘Inner sanctum’ at Adelaide Biennial 2024
Jacobus Capone, born Perth, Western Australia 1986, Forewarning (Act 4: Demarcation), 2022, two-channel synchronised HD video; courtesy of the artist and Moore Contemporary, Perth, copyright Jacobus Capone.

The installation features a series of three, large-scale video works that document the Western Australian artist, Capone’s physical actions in the remote, barely accessible, and hostile Larsbreen glacier on the Svalbard archipelago, located between Norway’s mainland and the North Pole. Capone is seen kneeling on the icy ground, placing the tip of a hunting knife against the ice and later walking and drawing a single line across the glacier’s face. Accompanied by a haunting and evocative soundscape of windswept cracking ice, evidence of the glacier’s reduction since his initial visit and Capone’s actions depict the violence and ecological grief associated with humanity’s impact on nature.

Jazz Money, This is how we love, 2022

Highlights from the ‘Inner sanctum’ at Adelaide Biennial 2024
Installation view: This is How We Love by Jazz Money, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, photograph by Saul Steed.

Jazz Money (Wiradjuri) is a poet and artist who makes works across installation, digital, performance, film and print. In 2022, Money was invited to write an anthem for the Sydney Gay & lesbian Choir. This is how we love, 2022 was conceived as a poem and arranged into a choral work by Joseph Twist, then performed at the Sydney Town Hall. In the Biennial, the anthem is transformed into a multi-channel sound installation, using pendant speakers to create a chorus of voices which echo throughout the museum spaces.

Jasmine Togo-Brisby, As Above, So Below, 2022-2023

Highlights from the ‘Inner sanctum’ at Adelaide Biennial 2024
Installation view: As Above So Below by Jasmine Togo-Brisby, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, photograph by Saul Steed.

The Australian South Sea Islander (ASSI) artist, Togo-Brisby’s work brings into focus Australia’s colonial legacy and participation in the Pacific ‘blackbird’ slave trade. The installation features 369 Tam tam (slit drum) cast plaster sculptures, representing the bodies detailed in engravings for the British slave ship Brookes. Placed on the floor echoing the shape of a ship’s hull, the project also comprises decorative nineteenth century ceiling panels, referencing Togo-Brisby’s ancestors who in 1899 were enslaved to the Wunderlich family, known for their manufacturing of rosettes and other such interior decorations. Tam tam drums are known as communication methods in the Pacific where the resonant sound is said to be ancestral spirits.

Kate Llewellyn, Faith and the Adelaide Chamber Singers, All Flesh is Fire

Highlights from the ‘Inner sanctum’ at Adelaide Biennial 2024
‘All Flesh is Fire’, Adelaide Chamber Singers; Christie Anderson, Artistic Director & Conductor; Anne Cawrse, Composer; Jakub Gaudasinski, Sound & Recording Engineer; Max Mackinnon, Film Director.

The poet and memoirist’s new work, Faith, has been adapted by composer Anne Crawse into a newly commissioned choral piece performed by members of the Adelaide Chamber Singers, known for their madrigal work. All Flesh is Fire reflects on what it might mean to have a spiritual life in the contemporary present. The performance takes place in the collection galleries whereby audiences can also reflect on historical and contemporary art.

Seth Birchall, Wonderful Wondrous Waterfall, 2023

Highlights from the ‘Inner sanctum’ at Adelaide Biennial 2024
Installation view featuring works by Seth Birchall, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, photograph by Saul Steed.

Seth Birchall’s installation comprises a suite of high-key paintings that depict waterways, skylines and arboreal forms alongside a custom bench designed by Jonathan West, offering a space to sit and reflect. These sublime ‘time of day’ paintings are joyful, colourful renderings of sunrise or dusk – the reflective hours when we are most attuned to ourselves, according to Birchall. Ambitious in scale and with a clarity of execution, Birchall’s work thoughtfully addresses nature, the urgent need to protect it and our connection to it through memory, experience and time.

Additionally, significant projects by Heather B. Swann, Teelah George, Tiwi artist Kaye Browne and Tongan artist Ruha Fifita provide important discoveries. The Adelaide Biennial is the longest-running survey of contemporary Australian art and is part of the Adelaide Festival. The exhibition runs from 1 March – 2 June 2024 and also features an engaging program of artist talks and panel discussions alongside thought-provoking performances.

Art Gallery of South Australia

Highlights from the ‘Inner sanctum’ at Adelaide Biennial 2024
Installation view featuring works by Nik Pantazopoulos, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, photograph by Saul Steed.

More art and design at Melbourne Art Fair 2024

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