Fremantle Biennale: UNDERCURRENT 19, is the second edition of the city-wide contemporary art program showcasing experimental site responsive work from established and emerging artists from across the world.
Opening UNDERCURRENT 19, the Fremantle Biennale will present the internationally acclaimed light installation WATERLICHT by Studio Roosegaarde founded by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde. Marking the first time the studio have presented this work in the Southern Hemisphere, the installation calls attention to rising water levels and the climate change crisis.
Now running for three weeks from 1-24 November 2019, the Fremantle Biennale will also present 15 new commissions including large-scale artworks, installations, architectural pavilions, performances and group exhibitions realised in new and found sites across the port city. Over 40 local, national and international artists will respond to the history, landscape and communities that make-up Fremantle to reveal and celebrate the cultural, social and historical distinctiveness of the port-city in Western Australia.
Founded in 2017, the Fremantle Biennale is a distinct visual arts program that celebrates and builds on Fremantle's history and reputation as a creative city through the presentation of internationally recognised and experimental site-responsive contemporary art practices. The first incarnation HIGH TIDE 17 ran for two weeks in November 2017 with work from over 35 international, local and national artists. The program included the first major commission in Australia by Swiss artist Felice Varini, Arcs d'Éllipses, an installation stretching 800 metres along Fremantle’s High Street. UNDERCURRENT 19 is the second edition of the Fremantle Biennale and will this year expand to a three-week program.
UNDERCURRENT 19 highlights include:
Internationally-renowned Studio Roosegaarde founded by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde will present the large scale light installation WATERLICHT, marking the first time the studio have presented this work in the Southern Hemisphere. Illustrating the universal power and poetry of water, cascading waves of blue light will be projected in Esplanade Park, simulating a virtual flood and calling attention to rising water levels along Fremantle’s shoreline. The work will embrace the unique physical features of the site, acknowledging its past as reclaimed land and a significant site for the Whadjuk people. An accompanying soundscape podcast will feature local histories and current realities of Fremantle’s waterfront, by traditional custodians, prominent civic figures, historians and artists. The soundscape podcast will remain an enduring legacy of the work, and serve as a call-to-action for a state-wide conversation around water initiatives and the current climate crisis (1-3 November, Esplanade Park).
A major new commission by WA artist Bennett Miller, Behavioural Ecologies (Red) is a series of interventions, installations and live performances that take place across multiple sites throughout Fremantle. The work is conceived of as a ‘roving tableau’ that responds directly and indirectly to the unique formal, topographical and historical qualities of the port city. Unfolding over the month of November, ‘Behavioural Ecologies (Red)’ will occupy and leave a trail across the city, beginning at South Beach and its surroundings, passing through the West End and the Port, and ending at the North Mole. Residents and audiences alike are invited to keep an eye out for the movements and markings of this mysterious cohort while they go about their leisure and their work (1-24 November, across Fremantle).
A resort like no other will be built on South Mole in a major living installation created by The Commonwealth of New Bayswater led by Perth artist Jessee Lee Johns. South Mole Resort will consist of several temporary bungalow like structures, set within the industrial environment of the working port. This large-scale performative installation operates autonomously as an isolated community behaving like a self proclaimed republic, where visitors can engage with the day spa for relaxation, visit the tattoo parlour, shop at the souvenir store, undertake a guided visit at the museum, and even spend a night at the hotel (Sept - Dec, South Mole).
A program of public tours, education programs and public programs will also run alongside the program. The full program can be viewed here: www.fremantlebiennale.com.au.