2022 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Free/State artists announced

AGSA-Dennis-Golding-Untitled-Botany-Bay-2018-photo-by-Jack-CookThe Art Gallery of South Australia has announced the 25 leading Australian contemporary artists selected for the 2022 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Free/State, curated by Sebastian Goldspink.

Delivering new and unexpected visions of transformative personal and public moments, in mediums spanning photography, painting, sculpture, installation and the moving image, Free/State presents a multi-generational collective of artists hailing from every Australian state and territory:

Abdul-Rahman Abdullah (WA), Serena Bonson (NT), Mitch Cairns (NSW), Dean Cross (NSW), Shaun Gladwell (VIC), Dennis Golding (NSW), Loren Kronemyer (TAS), Laith McGregor (NSW), Kate Mitchell (QLD), Tracey Moffatt (NSW), Stanislava Pinchuk (VIC), Tom Polo (NSW), JD Reforma (NSW), Reko Rennie (VIC), Julie Rrap (NSW), Kate Scardifield (NSW), Darren Sylvester (VIC), Jelena Telecki (NSW), Rhoda Tjitayi (SA), James Tylor & Rebecca Selleck (ACT), Angela & Hossein Valamanesh (SA), Sera Waters (SA) and Min Wong (NSW).

Free/State assembles a group of artists who are fearless; the provocateurs, vanguards and outsiders – challenging histories and art forms, and in the process, offering reflections on an era of multi-faceted global upheaval.

The exhibition explores ideas of transcending states, from the spiritual and artistic to the psychological, and embraces notions of freedom in expression, creation and collaboration.

“Each of these artists is emblematic of the many divergent facets of contemporary Australian art. Diversity is embraced and celebrated in Free/State and the exhibition is reflective of a nation still in the throes of grappling with its past and defining its future,” explains curator Sebastian Goldspink.

Free/State explores generational conversations between artists, exhibiting work by trailblazers such as Tracey Moffatt, Angela and Hossein Valamanesh and Julie Rrap, and revealing their direct influence on the generations that have followed.

“When these artists were emerging, they were outsiders in a very different type of art world. They were prescient and ahead of their time. Positioning these artists as senior in 2022 is entirely appropriate but also an attempt to scrutinise these blind spots in history,” says Goldspink.

In contrast, Free/State also embraces a group of emerging artists that represent a nascent generation. These artists have come of age in a fundamentally digital world and signal new modes of practice and artistic thought, forged on the paths created before them.

Free/State is a biennial for the times; wild, frenetic and unbound. Humorous and filled with pathos, contradictory and unified – a celebration of artists exploring urgent ideas through a personal lens,” continues Goldspink.

The Adelaide Biennial is the nation’s longest-running curated survey of contemporary Australian art. Since 1990, as part of the Adelaide Festival, the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art has created career-defining opportunities for close to 500 artists, and been experienced by more than one million visitors.

“The Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art is more important now than ever, as we collectively embrace a newfound appreciation for creators and acknowledge how hard these times have been for those in the arts,” said AGSA Director Rhana Devenport ONZM.

“Where the experience of humanity is amplified, artists are constantly responding – transforming that experience into art in the public realm.”

Sebastian Goldspink is a Sydney-based independent curator. In 2011, he created the artist run space, ALASKA projects as a platform for exhibiting contemporary art in unused or disused spaces. Since its inception, ALASKA has showcased over 500 artists across 150 exhibitions.

A proud descendant of the Burramattagal people of Western Sydney, Goldspink has curated exhibitions nationally throughout Australia and internationally in London, Christchurch, Los Angeles and New Orleans.

Goldspink has held professional appointments at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Month Sydney and Dlux Media Arts. He has consulted and collaborated with institutions including Museum of Old and New Art, Performance Space, Sydney Symphony, HOTA Gold Coast, Art Bank and Kaldor Public Art Projects.

In 2013/14 he was appointed Guest Curator of the John Fries Memorial Prize, an annual non-acquisitive award recognising emerging and early career visual artists. He also writes regularly for publications including Art Collector, Art Monthly and Artist Profile.

A former Lecturer at the University of New South Wales (CoFA) and producer at the National Art School, Goldspink is currently engaged as Gallery Coordinator for the Woollahra Gallery at Redleaf.

Presented throughout the Art Gallery of South Australia, the 2022 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Free/State will be presented from 4 March to 5 June as part of the 2022 Adelaide Festival. For more information, visit: www.agsa.sa.gov.au for details.

Image: Dennis Golding, Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay, New South Wales, born 1989, Sydney, Untitled Botany Bay, 2018, photograph, 155 x 87 cm; Courtesy the artist – photo by Jack Cook