Julian Day '20 in Group Exhibit in Australia

BY Audrey Deng, March 27, 2020

Work by current Sound Art student Julian Day '20 is in this year’s Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art. This year, the Biennial celebrates its thirtieth anniversary as the nation’s longest-running curated survey of contemporary Australian art. The show is curated by Leigh Robb, who also holds the position as the Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Titled Monster Theatres, the Biennial invited twenty-four artists to “make visible the monsters of our time.” 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 show’s theatrical element is inspired from the etymology of the word “monster.” The gallery points out that 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.”

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. These theatres are theirs.”

Day is a sound artist at Columbia University who hails from Australia. He talks more about his time in Australia and his artwork in our Conversation series last February.

Day has presented work at Tate Modern, Whitechapel Gallery, Royal Academy of Music, Cafe Oto, MASS MoCA, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art, Institute of Modern Art, Artspace and Sydney Opera House. His work has been acquired by the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and Orange County Museum of Art, USA and has been featured in the California Pacific Triennial, Asia Pacific Triennial and Prague Quadrennial.

Monster Theatres is scheduled to close on June 8, however the gallery is temporarily closed due to concerns related to COVID-19. The gallery provides a virtual experience online, available during Australian business hours.