The 9th Asia Pacific
Triennial of
Contemporary Art

Brisbane’s Asia Pacific Triennial is now huge – spanning both the Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art – but its anarchic aesthetic has been raffish and immersive since its beginnings in 1993.

feature by Louise Martin Chew

The Asia Pacific Triennial takes a different view of contemporary art to other mega-exhibitions like Sydney’s Biennale. This year, without inhibition, 81 artists from more than 30 countries and cultures interact with the social change, unrest and vitality of the Asia Pacific region, bringing colour and movement outside any national or international curatorial agenda. Artists are selected for their significance, liveliness or sheer audacity, and APT9’s dynamics include a record number of projects and works co-commissioned with other Asian institutions.

Narratives of women weave a persistent thread through its midst, including stories of shapeshifting tradition and matriarchal cultures. Other artists, male and female, probe the way spirituality is affected by technology, the agency of the body and the vulnerability of the natural environment to global pressures. The show imagines future dystopias and utopias, alternative ideas about wealth and currency, and shifting ideas of labour. Art is executed with materials and techniques that may be new, exotic or ancient. The unique voice of APT9 may weave the personal and political into vibrant cultural forms, with an urgent undercurrent of environmental commentary. Curator Zara Stanhope tells VAULT: “Among the many voices are displacement stories, personal and universal narratives, work about the sea and the islands, and the movement of people. There is a softness too, which offers a way to engage.”

A large selection of artworks from Bangladesh and the Pacific offers different ways of understanding and being in the world – a sensibility at the heart of every APT. Countries appearing for the first time... Subscribe to read this article in full

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