Ready, set, magic! - Art Collector

Tom Moore, Bureau of Comical Ecologies, installation view 2016 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Magic Object, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

When asked to describe the opening of the 2016 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, curator Lisa Slade has just one word: “Magical.” An apt description, given the title of the show, Magic Object, and Slade’s curatorial approach, which draws inspiration from the Wunderkammer, those rooms or cabinets of wonder dedicated to the display of magical objects. Does the show meet up with her curatorial vision? “It’s literally made up of rooms of wonder,” she says. “Almost each of the 25 artists has crafted their own Wunderkammer, complete with magic objects made from myriad materials. Furthermore, magic is always in the experience of the viewer and thus far the audience response has been very positive.”

Positive indeed. Held over this past weekend, Vernissage saw more than 12,000 people flock to the Biennial’s five venues to engage in a lively program of exhibitions, artist talks, panels, performances and demonstrations.

What, in Slade’s opinion, is not to be missed? “At Samstag, Juz Kitson’s installation comprising 4,000 components of fired clay, hair and fur is a showstopper,” she says. “At the Art Gallery of South Australia, everyone is talking about the magic of 105-year old artist Loongkoonan, who made it over for the opening. Also at the Art Gallery visitors are greeted with a world of hyper colour wonder courtesy of artist Kate Rohde.”

Ranging in age from 28 to 105, this year’s magical line up of exhibiting artists includes Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Glenn Barkley, Chris Bond, Pepai Jangala Carroll, Tarryn Gill, Louise Haselton, Juz Kitson, Loongkoonan, Fiona McMonagle, Danie Mellor, Clare Milledge, Tom Moore, Nell, Ramesh Mario-Nithiyendran, Bluey Roberts, Kate Rohde, Gareth Sansom, Robyn Stacey, Garry Stewart and the Australian Dance Theatre, Jacqui Stockdale, Heather B. Swann, Hiromi Tango, Roy Wiggan, Tiger Yaltangki and Michael Zavros.


The 2016 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art is held at the Art Gallery of South Australia, Anne and Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, Jam Factory, Carrick Hill and Santos Museum of Economic Botany from 27 February to 15 May 2016.

Camilla Wagstaff

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