A New Role in a New Continent 新大陆新角色

Jo-Anne Birdie-Danzker

CEO of Biennale of Sydney

Q. How is it like to be back in Australia and what does it mean to you to take up a role as Director and CEO of the Biennale of Sydney?

A. I am thrilled to return to Sydney and honoured to be Director and CEO of the Biennale of Sydney in the year it celebrates its 45th anniversary. The Biennale, one of the largest exhibitions of its kind in the region, has a very distinguished past. Since 1973, twenty large-scale exhibitions have showcased 1,800 artists from over 100 countries around the globe. I am looking forward to help shape its future.

Q. You will be working together with curator Mami Kataoka for the exhibition in 2018 that will include a final roster of about 70 artists including prominent names such as Ai Weiwei, Laurent Grasso and Haegue Yang. According to Mami they “will explore multiple viewpoints…a journey; a walk through microcosms of the world today…” What would you like the audience to take away with them after seeing the show?

A. Under Mami’s leadership, the 21st Biennale promises to be a compelling exploration of the most urgent issues of the day as we collectively face an increasingly complex future. The 21st Biennale of Sydney is very much about how we can live together and how opposing views and interpretations of the world can come together in a state of equilibrium – and engagement.

Q.How could the Biennale of Sydney be different from any other exhibition that you have previously worked with?

A. I have worked on numerous large-scaled exhibitions in the past but what fascinates me about the Biennale is that Sydney itself becomes not only a stage for the Biennale but also its context. It is such a privilege to present the work of some of the finest national and international artists working today in spectacular UNESCO World Heritage sites. This is one of the most distinctive qualities of the Biennale of Sydney .

Q.You are known to have transformed the Frye with a stodgy reputation to a vibrant space for contemporary art. Do you always have a plan in mind and how do you know for certain just what is needed to succeed in this project?

A. Whenever I move to a new city, or a new institution, my first step is to listen. I need to understand. Only then can I begin to imagine a richer future and put in place the conditions that are necessary to realise it.

Q.What are some of the most empowering exhibitions you have ever directed, produced or curated in your career so far?

A. I have been blessed to have directed, produced and curated wonderful, transformative exhibitions but never on my own, always as part of a team of visionary artists and curators who revealed unexpected ways of seeing and understanding the world. Such occasions are a gift.

Q.We came to believe that at the height of your success (during Alley Barnes), you did not even curate the exhibition. How do you manage to give such freedom to an artist, and what do you need to see in an artist to be able to give such autonomy to them? 

A. Working with artists like Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes, and the brilliant artists Noah Davis and Kahlil Joseph whom he championed, is a privilege. Protecting their visions by not imposing one’s own is a complex navigation between offering support and distance simultaneously.

Q.What do you enjoy doing when you are not at the office?

A. I love to swim!


问:你与资深策展人片冈真实(Mami Kataoka)将携手策划2018年的展览会,届时将会有大约70名艺术家与合作伙伴,包括艾未未、Laurent Grasso和杨海固等知名艺术家。根据片冈真实的说法,他们将“探索多视点旅程;漫步于今日世界的微观生态……”。你想让观众观赏完毕后可以得到或领略什么?




答:与像 Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes 类似艺术家以及他所倡议的杰出艺术家Noah Davis 和 Kahlil Joseph 一起工作已经是种特权。因此不强加自己的想法来保护他们的意愿,这是同时提供支援和保持距离的复杂导航方式。