2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres

Julia Robinson – Santos Museum of Economic Botany.

Themes: poisonous plants, folklore and rituals – linked to a 19thcentury short story called Rappucini’s daughter based in Padua Botanic Garden during the Renaissance.

Julia Robinson (b.1981, Adelaide) is a sculpture and installation artist whose work draws upon European folklore, mythology and gothic ritual often focusing on the macabre or taboo elements of these histories. Robinson is fascinated by the narratives that humans have developed to comprehend the enduring inevitabilities of life, such as birth, death and sex.

Rappucini’s daughter
Beatrice is the human sister of the poisonous purple flowers her scientist father grows. Like the plant she is twinned with, the unfortunate Beatrice is the embodiment of poison - part maiden, part flower, all toxin. She is a living, breathing instrument of death; the human incarnation of her father’s barbaric botanical experiments described in the text as adulterous, monstrous and depraved. The implication in the text is that the hybrid Beatrice is the monster here and in the literary tradition of the ‘dangerous woman’, she, like Scylla, must be contained and ultimately terminated. However, as progenitor of both Beatrice and the toxic garden, Rappaccini is clearly the more ‘monstrous’ as he mocks the natural order of things, callously tormenting his daughter and her would be lover.

Positioned amongst the vegetal specimens of the Museum of Economic Botany’s collection Beatrice will be a conflation of silken skins, spilled interiors and split forms that echo both bodies and fruit.

2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres

Yhonnie Scarce – The Dead House.

Theme: life and death and memory. Aboriginal glass-artist who works a lot with glass yams in exploring her culture. Glass because it malleable, resilient and then ultimately fragile.

Yhonnie Scarce (b.1973, Woomera, South Australia) is a Kokatha and Nukunu artist, living and working in Adelaide and Melbourne. Scarce is influenced by the qualities of glass as a medium, particularly its dual nature as both malleable and resilient. Scarce uses her work to address the legacies of colonisation in South Australia including genocide, racism, environmental degradation and intergenerational trauma.

2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres

Mike Bianco – Kiosk/Restaurant Lawn

Themes: the importance of bees, facing our fears, recuperation through resting with bees. The politics of ecology – people, plants and bees. A bee bed in the ‘Anthrocomb Pavilion’.

Mike Bianco (born 1981, San Francisco, U.S.A.) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Perth whose work focuses on the politics of ecology, with an interest in the kind of relationships that exist between humans, plants and wildlife. Bianco’s practice is conceptually driven; creating works in mediums that range from functional ceramics to performances, participatory workshops and sculptural interventions made in collaboration with living organisms.

My monster is Homo Apis, the chimeric form of human and honeybeebound in the spectre of ecological collapse. This is my monster as it embodies the deeply enmeshed ecological relationship we have with the more-than-human world and troubles our sense of hubris which places us as a species at the centre of the universe.

2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres

Michael Candy –Biconn – entry on southern side

Theme: biomimicry (and BGSH could explore anthropomorphism). The Big Dipper robot takes its cues from nature.

Michael Candy (b. 1990, South Africa) uses robotic technologies to mimic and interrogate the natural environment. His interest in cryptozoology and bio-mimesis has led to the invention and construction of new robotic hybrid forms. His animated, kinetic zoomorphic works employ light and robotics to create interspecies empathy and explore our relationship to technology and ecology.

2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres

Mark Valenzuela Palm House grotto and BiCon near pond

Themes: Weeds. Living things in the “wrong” place – or “unwanted.” Mark is a Filipino artist currently based between Australia and the Philippines.

My work will reference the bakunawa, a giant serpent-like creature that was a recurring figure in animist belief systems throughout pre-colonial Philippines.

Mark Valenzuela (b. 1980, Pagadian, Philippines) is an artist who lives in Adelaide and whose work interrogates Filipino and Australian cultural and political systems. Valenzuela employs ceramics, video and painting and drawing techniques to reconfigure diverse historical and contemporary references in multifaceted installations. He often examines cultural narratives and identity, using his work as a vehicle to create alternative mythologies.

2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres

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