artists & participants
TarraWarra Biennial 2021
Slow Moving Waters
March 27–July 11, 2021
In Woiwurrung—the language of the Wurundjeri people, the original custodians of the land on which TarraWarra Museum of Art is located—"Tarrawarra" translates approximately as "slow moving waters." Taking this meaning as its departure point, the TarraWarra Biennial 2021 reflexively explores ideas of duration, suspension, withdrawal, stillness and the elasticity of time. Featuring 24 artists from across Australia, the exhibition takes shape around two related cues: the idea of slowness, and the winding course of the Birrarung (Yarra River), which flows south of the Museum grounds. In tune with the unhurried arc of the river, the TarraWarra Biennial 2021: Slow Moving Watersproposes a stay to the ever more rapid flows of people, commerce and information that characterise the dynamic of globalisation. Against today’s cult of speed with the relentless hum of its 24/7 communications, the artworks in the Biennial mark a different sort of time—one which connects with the vastness and intricacy of geological and cosmological cycles, seasonal rhythms, interconnected ecologies, and ancient knowledge systems.
Encompassing several new site-specific installations, the exhibition unfolds spatially, temporally, materially and conceptually, rewarding close and extended viewing and accumulating in intensity over the course of its duration. A number of works explore re-scalings of time, involve time- or labour-intensive processes, or are intended to develop and evolve throughout the exhibition. Others draw on strategies such as walking, idleness or sleep, marking intervals of time that cannot easily be colonised or commodified. Postponed by a year on account of the coronavirus pandemic, the TarraWarra Biennial 2021 reflects on the socio-political conditions that have made slowness an increasingly urgent imperative, carving out a space to explore its potential as both a passive and active course for claiming different forms of agency. The participating artists engage slowness as a conceptual framework, aesthetic strategy or radical political gesture, invoking it as a mode of resistance and disruption. Through exploring how alternative conceptions of time might offer different ways of being in the world, they seek to refocus our perception in an age of endless distraction, re-orienting us to the subtleties and inflections of the present. In considering the broader arc of history against the pull of the accelerated now, Slow Moving Waters is attentive to notions of place, subjectivity, and community, and to an idea of the present as a site of multiple durations, pasts and possible futures. Curator Nina Miall said: “Between the hyper-acceleration of our current age and the impossibility of stopping altogether is a temporal space of possibility and resistance: slowing down. The meandering logic of the Birrarung (Yarra River) is a vital reference point for the exhibition; in its circling eddies we find ways in which we might all disturb the prevailing current.”
TarraWarra Museum of Art Director, Victoria Lynn, said, “Slow Moving Waters is notable for its strong representation of First Nations artists, and also distinctive in its site-specificity. There will be eleven ambitious new works that reflect the unique context and sense of place particular to TarraWarra.”
Slow Moving Waters is accompanied by a range of performances, artists’ talks and a comprehensive catalogue, providing audiences with a variety of contemporary art experiences.
TarraWarra Biennial 2021: Slow Moving Waters artists:
Robert Andrew, Jeremy Bakker, Lucy Bleach, Lauren Brincat, Louisa Bufardeci, Sundari Carmody, Christian Capurro, Jacobus Capone, Daniel Crooks, Megan Cope, George Egerton-Warburton, Nicole Foreshew and P. Thomas Boorljoonngali, Caitlin Franzmann, James Geurts, Michaela Gleave, Jonathan Jones with Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin AO, Noŋgirrŋa Marawili, Brian Martin, Raquel Ormella, Mandy Quadrio, Yasmin Smith, Grant Stevens, and Oliver Wagner
Curator: Nina Miall