The Canberra Art Biennial goes a step further – The Australian Financial Review

Dan F StapletonWriter

Oct 12, 2022 – 5.00am

The Canberra Art Biennial goes a step further: its programming takes place almost entirely outdoors, not only on the foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin but also around the National Arboretum.

“On this land, everything is political, everything is personal, and everything is social,” says landscape architect and biennial director Neil Hobbs.

One commissioned artist, Adam Norton, has dotted the lakefront with a series of enormous ‘badges’ that resemble the school lapel badges of his youth. Norton says the text emblazoned on each badge “responds to the emergencies we are living through” and mirrors our collective psyche.

One of Adam Norton’s giant badges for the Canberra Art Biennial. Heeseon Jung

Across the lake, near the National Library, artist Kael Stasce has looped a series of oversized ‘bicycle locks’ through a steel fence for an installation titled Loot. Canberra-born Stasce describes his practice as exploring “the ways in which we view and understand space” through the addition of sculptures and assemblages.

And veteran painter John R. Walker is presenting Hidden River, a series of works celebrating the subterranean waterways that ebb and flow across the ACT.

“Some of [the work] is quite challenging,” says another commissioned artist, Elvis Richardson, who engages with the idea of city-making on colonised land. “But Canberra has done a lot of growing up recently. We can afford to push the envelope a bit.”

‘Loot’, by Kael Stasce, is a series of oversized bicycle locks the artist has entwined with a fence.  Heeseon Jung