2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres




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Adelaide Botanic Garden. Free entry.

Adelaide Botanic Garden welcomes five leading contemporary artists as they display their latest works of art throughout the garden as part of the 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art.

The FREE exhibition is the nation's longest-running survey of contemporary Australian art, held every two years since 1990. It is defined by experimentation and innovation, and is known for its role in accelerating the careers and profiles of Australian artists.

Each iteration of the Adelaide Biennial responds to a different theme or premise. In 2020, Monster Theatres invites artists to make visible the monsters of our time.

The term ‘monster’ comes from Latin monere, to warn, and monstrare, to show or make visible.

The exhibition title hints at a double narrative which also resonates through the multiple meanings of ‘theatre’. An operating theatre is a room in which to examine, dissect as well as heal; it is also a theatre of war, a site of conflict where clashes between nations and ideologies play out all too frequently, but a theatre is also an arena – an active social space.

Curator Leigh Robb says ‘Monsters ask us to interrogate our relationships with each other, the environment and technology. They force us to question our empathy towards difference across race, gender, sexuality and spirituality'.

Find your way and explore the exhibitions!
2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art Adelaide Botanic Garden map.

2020 Adelaide Biennial - Virtual Tour Teaser - Adelaide Botanic Gardens.


Artists featuring in Adelaide Botanic Garden include: 

Michael Candy

Bicentennial Conservatory - Open 10am-4pm daily.
Capacity limit of 75 people at a time.

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. Candy's Biennial work will consist of two animatronic creations. One will walk self guided around the Art Gallery of SA, and the other will be suspended from the roof of the Bicentennial Conservatory. 

Julia Robinson

Santos Museum of Economic Botany - Open 10am-4pm Wed-Sun.
Capacity limit of 75 people at a time.

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. 

Yhonnie Scarce

Deadhouse - Open 10am-4pm daily.
Capacity limit of one person at a time.

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 inter-generational trauma. Scarce's Biennial work will feature glass sculptures housed within the Botanic Gardens morgue (Dead house) at the Adelaide Botanic Garden.

Mark Valenzuela

Bicentennial Conservatory - Open 10am-4pm daily.
Capacity limit of 75 people at a time.
Palm House - Open 10am-4pm daily.
Capacity limit of 10 people at a time.

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.

Mike Bianco


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


The Art Gallery of South Australia will exhibit work from many artists, along with a program of curated events.

Presented in association with the Adelaide Festival, and with generous support received from the Art Gallery of South Australia Biennial Ambassadors Program and Principal Donor The Balnaves Foundation.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body and by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

Photo: Julia Robinson, Australia, 1981, Beatrice, 2019–20, Adelaide, silk, thread, felt, steel, brass, gold-plated copper, foam, cardboard, pins, fixings;

© Julia Robinson/Hugo Michell Gallery.


For information on the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please see our LATEST NEWS.