2015 Media Releases

First Willoughby Visual Arts Biennial

04 August 2015

5 - 26 September 2015

Official Opening:
4.30pm - 6.30pm, Saturday 5 September
Incinerator Art Space
2 Small St Willoughby
A fire ritual run by artist, Robyn Backen will accompany the opening

Willoughby Council will stage the very first Willoughby Visual Arts Biennial, 5 - 26 September 2015, with the theme Imagining Place.

The Biennial is a vibrant festival engaging artists to start us thinking about how we imagine our place - past, present and future. It considers the roles of history, progress, nature, art, architecture, multiculturalism and urban planning in the way we transform space into place.

The Biennial includes five exhibitions across various locations, all addressing the theme from a different perspective and through different mediums. The public can also engage in the public program and explore fresh ideas through stimulating symposiums, insightful artist talks, sound walks, comedy events, hands-on workshops for all ages and other inspiring events.

A major highlight of the Biennial is the experiential exhibition, If You Do Not Speak, Do I Speak For You? by renowned interdisciplinary artist, Robyn Backen at the Incinerator Art Space Willoughby (10am - 4pm, Saturday 5 to Saturday 26 September).

In a mentoring role with local Northbridge artist, Sarah Fitzgerald, Backen will transformed the art space with immersive sound, projection and form. Responding to the physical and poetic history of the building, calling up scientific knowledge to expand upon why and how we imagine or understand the phenomena of fire, we are led to remnants of understanding – what might have been and what might still be.

“Architectural reverberations and the phantoms of its previous life are the foundations of my engagement with the Incinerator, and the first Visual Arts Biennial is the perfect opportunity to repurpose this site that is so deeply embedded in collective memory,” Robyn Backen said. 

“The artwork created continues my art practice of investigation into morphic resonances and whispering architecture.

“The process of mentoring local resident and emerging artist Sarah Fitzgerald, is resonant of the Incinerator Art Space itself co-operating with the community to be a transformative element in Willoughby,” Robyn Backen added.

Other standout Biennial exhibitions and public program events include:

HOME GROWN: The Ceramicists
Art Space on The Concourse
409 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood
10am - 4pm, Wednesday to Sunday
Saturday 5 to Sunday 27 September
HOME GROWN: The Ceramicists showcases local artists who like to get down and dirty with clay. A medium that has experienced a huge resurgence, the artists will present works that draw from the historic pottery industry of Willoughby to exploring ideas about place and belonging.

Recollections of Place
Foyer Exhibition Space, Chatswood
31 Victor Street Chatswood
9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday
Recollections of Place is a rare chance to view selected works from Council’s corporate and art collections that help define our place.

It’s Subjective
Urban Screen on The Concourse
Victoria Ave, Chatswood
1pm and 6pm, 5 - 16 September
11am and 5pm, 17 - 19 September
1pm and 6pm, 20 - 26 September
Projected from Chatswood’s towering Urban Screen, several video artists will present diverse cultural perspectives on the notion of place.  The informative, emotive and sometimes challenging video works will represent other ways of knowing and experiencing place.

Willoughby Historical Museum
10am - 4pm, Saturday 5 to Sunday 27 September
placemarking is a photographic and textile installation interpreted from a selection of lace material in the Willoughby Historical Society’s collection by artist-in-residence, Rhonda Pryor. By the interplay of ideas about place and belonging, the influences of exquisite antique lace and vintage underclothes are brought into the present day.

SYMPOSIUM - Imagining Place: creativity in transforming cities
6pm - 7.30pm, Thursday 10 September
Incinerator Art Space for Incinerator Café
2 Small St, Willoughby
A topical symposium discussing the unique role of art, architecture and creativity in redefining cities and making great living spaces. Speakers include: Artists Robyn Backen and Sarah Fitzgerald, Director of Design Computing at the University of Sydney Dr Martin Tomitsch, Director of Place Partners Kylie Legge and Scentre Group Curator Talia Keyes.  Chair: Tamara Winikoff, Executive Director of NAVA. 

Man About The House
7pm, Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 September
Incinerator Art Space
2 Small Street, Willoughby
Join one of Australia’s finest comedians for his award winning and ground-breaking show where design, comedy and music collide. For the last two years, Rosso has taken over iconic Modernist buildings across the globe and inventively turned them into temporary performance spaces. Direct from sell-out seasons in Palm Springs and the Seidler Penthouse in Sydney, this time they are inviting you to Walter Burley Griffin’s Willoughby Incinerator. 

For the full program of Biennial events, visit www.willoughby.nsw.gov.au/biennial.

Media Contact
Acting Marketing and Events Manager
Phone: 9777 7703
Mobile: 0455 061 700
Email: Samantha.Connor@Willoughby.nsw.gov.au 

For non media related enquiries contact Willoughby City Council on 9777 1000 or email@willoughby.nsw.gov.au