This year’s SALA (South Australian Living Artists) Festival might have kicked off at the beginning of August, but you haven’t missed out yet: it runs until the end of the month. With almost 10,000 artists showing their works at over 600 venues across South Australia, Broadsheet pored over the expansive program on your behalf. Here are five exhibitions that caught our eye.
Obsessively collecting ephemera is one thing, but cataloguing it is a whole other story. And it’s the space in-between where artist Roy Ananda’s creativity explodes: he colour codes, notes and indexes the unwieldy like no-one else. In his expansive new exhibition, Supreme Library, Ananda shares his love for pop culture – from Star Wars and Seinfeld to Johnny Cash and The Princess Bride. The result is something akin to a real-life website, but one you want to luxuriate in: there are diagrams, drawings and links connecting everything together.
Ananda is the festival’s Feature Artist this year, and with the title comes multiple opportunities to see his work: running concurrently with Supreme Library is an exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia, Roy Ananda: Further Annotations; as well as the release of a monograph publication focused on Ananda’s art.
BIOPIC or Charles Genevieve Louis Auguste Andre Timothee
It’s difficult to describe this work using words alone, because it explores so much of what isn’t said – what can’t always be articulated effectively out loud – about identity, categorisation and ambiguity. On display at Samstag Museum of Art, BIOPIC or Charles Genevieve Louis Auguste Andre Timothee is a serialised film from multidisciplinary artist Madison Bycroft, mostly shot across Tonnerre and Marseille in France, with some of the ornate sets built in South Australia.
Incorporating animation, puppetry and live action, Bycroft has created a film that is intended to orbit – not centre on – the life of 18th-century French diplomat, spy, Freemason and soldier Chevaliere d’Eon, who lived as a man in the first half of their life, and a woman until their death. Filled with references to pop culture, mythology and philosophy, the film is not a biopic (despite its title) and jumps from misrecognition to dis-narration, all the while never fully revealing the character of d’Eon.
Biophilia: Call of the Wild
Biophilia, from Greek, translates to “the love of living things”. A new exhibition at The Mill takes its name from the word, and explores how humans yearn to connect to the natural environment – even when we choose to live in an urban setting. Curated by Robyn Wood and featuring her own work alongside designers Enoki, Caren Elliss, Jake Shaw, Peter Walker and Sally Ann Wikes, Biophilia: Call of the Wild spans furniture, installation, sculpture, sound, video and more.
Each designer’s contemporary creative practice shines through, as they evoke botanical shapes and forms, and natural elements like greenery and natural light. One highlight is Shaw's Forager’s Chair made from 100-per-cent Tasmanian Reishi mushroom mycelium and the hardwood timber on which it natively grows. To learn more, a symposium will be held on the exhibition’s opening night (August 16) featuring creative thinkers, writers, architects, environmentalists and designers on the topic of biophilic design.
Fake Record Shop
If you missed this hybrid visual art and live music group exhibition at Umbrella Festival, SALA is your second chance. Walk around and browse the crates at this visual artist-created “shop” at Urban Cow Studio to see merchandise and album covers designed for imaginary bands and musicians.
Curated by Annelise Forster, Nicholas Hanisch and Timothea Moylan, the exhibition – with its fake records, T-shirts and posters – playfully explores the collaborative culture surrounding the creation of music. And, on Fake Record Shop’s very meta opening night, local musicians even interpreted the fake bands in their live performances.
Message from the meadow
The result of ACE Open’s inaugural Porter Street Commission art award, Bridget Currie’s Message from the meadow skilfully uses space, tactile sensation and sound (ASMR) to create a meditative environment. The landmark solo exhibition also incorporates the world premiere of Currie’s new film, soft insides, as well as furniture, installation, sculpture and sound – you’ll see organic shapes of abstract sculptures and experience a sonic landscape (constructed in collaboration with Teri Hoskin, Julia Mcinerney and Maria Zagala) that feels reminiscent of new-age guided meditation.
Currie was inspired by the way that Modernist artists used abstraction to explore spiritual states and religious ideas. In Message from the meadow, she’s used objects to bring what can’t be “seen” – beliefs, emotions, dreams – into the material world, inviting the audience to engage and retreat deeper.