by Art Gallery of South Australia
In 2020, the Adelaide Biennial celebrated a 30-year milestone as the nation’s longest-running curated survey of contemporary Australian art. Since 1990, the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art has created career-defining opportunities for more than 350 artists and presented to close to one million visitors.
Titled Monster Theatres, the 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art invited artists to make visible the monsters of our time. Curator Leigh Robb says ‘Monsters ask us to interrogate our relationships with each other, the environment and technology. They force us to question our empathy towards difference across race, gender, sexuality and spirituality'.
The term ‘monster’ comes from Latin monere, to warn, and monstrare, to show or make visible. The exhibition title hints at a double narrative which also resonates through the multiple meanings of ‘theatre’. An operating theatre is a room in which to examine, dissect as well as heal; it is also a theatre of war, a site of conflict where clashes between nations and ideologies play out all too frequently, but a theatre is also an arena – an active social space.
Curator Leigh Robb says 'Monster Theatres proposes an arena of speculation, a circus of the unorthodox and the absurd, a shadow play between truth and fiction. The title is inspired by a group of provocative Australian artists. Their urgent works of art are warnings made manifest.'