Biennale of Sydney

Various Venues

“On Reason and Emotion,” as curator Isabel Carlos subtitled her poetic but unfortunately simplistic Biennale of Sydney, threw into relief the often-problematic nature of themes for the well-rehearsed and conventionalized format of biennials—the increasingly difficult task of instilling meaning into an agglomeration of individual artworks, however excellent. Aiming to find intuition in the analytical and rationality in the emotional, and further expanding the cliché of dichotomies into the geographical arena of North and South (as the cultural “sites” of rationality and emotion), Carlos found herself in muddled discursive terrain. Spread over three institutions and various public sites, the exhibition only came together at the Museum of Contemporary Art, where, with an installation structured around Javier Téllez’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (Rozelle Hospital), 2004, the exhibition’s two

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