Press Release

The Biennale of Sydney will present over 330 artworks by 89 participants and 400 events as part of the 2022 edition, open to the public from March 12 to June 13, 2022.

The 23rd Biennale of Sydney, titled rīvus, meaning “stream” in Latin, will feature new work and commissions responding to water ecology and relationships with the natural world. Audiences will experience large-scale immersive installations, site specific projects and living works by international participants including Kiki Smith, Marguerite Humeau, Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe, John Gerrard, Jumana Emil Abboud and Ackroyd & Harvey alongside Australian participants such as Badger Bates, Clare Milledge, Julie Gough and D Harding. The list of participants extends beyond the realm of the visual arts and includes bodies of water and their custodians around the world including Australia, Bangladesh and Ecuador.



International exhibitions

International Archives 1st half of 2022


23rd Biennale of Sydney (Australia)

12.03 - 13.06.2022




The 2022 edition has been developed and realised by a Curatorium comprised of Artistic Director and Colombian curator José Roca and co-curators Paschal Daantos Berry, Anna Davis, curator José Roca and co-curators Paschal Daantos Berry, Anna Davis, Hannah Donnelly and Talia Linz.

The Curatorium said: “rīvus is articulated around a series of conceptual wetlands situated along waterways of the Gadigal, Burramatagal and Cabrogal peoples. These imagined ecosystems are populated by artworks, experiments and research, responding to our connections, and disconnections, with water. Rivers have been the ways of communication and the givers of life for entire communities and a growing number of jurisdictions around the world are granting rivers legal personhood rights. As we see waterways having a voice in the courtroom, we wanted to extend this further into the public sphere with our exhibition. Many of the Biennale of Sydney participants have worked with waterways, local and international, to share their stories and raise these important conversations.

Participants will investigate the ecologies sustained by waterways worldwide. This can be seen in works like Marjetica Potrč’s collaboration with Wiradjuri Elder Uncle Ray Woods which tells the story of two rivers: the Soča in Slovenia and the Galari (Lachlan River); these works will be shown alongside Brazilian artist Caio Reisewitz mural-sized collage, which references the aquifer under the Amazon jungle. D Harding’s exploration of ancestral waterways with the local community has inspired a new carving work. The Australian premiere of The Great Animal Orchestra, a major installation created by American soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause and United Visual Artists, will immerse audiences in the sounds of vulnerable habitats in Africa, North America, the Pacific Ocean and the Amazon River, whilst French artist Marguerite Humeau will present a new sculptural commission envisioning a world in which mass extinction has accelerated to a point of no return.”

John Gerrard, Leaf Work (Derrigimlagh), 2020. Installation view, Galway International Arts Festival, Ireland, 2020. Commissioned by Galway International Arts Festival for Galway 2020, European Capital of Culture. Courtesy of the artist and Pace Gallery. © John Gerrard. Photo: Ross Kavanagh.

John Gerrard, Leaf Work (Derrigimlagh), 2020. Installation view, Galway International Arts Festival, Ireland, 2020. Commissioned by Galway International Arts Festival for Galway 2020, European Capital of Culture. Courtesy of the artist and Pace Gallery. © John Gerrard. Photo: Ross Kavanagh.

In a laboratory-like set up, visitors are invited to see Diana Scherer at work as she undertakes what she refers to as “collaborations with nature” growing networks of roots into unique patterns of woven textile. Known by neurobiologists as the brain of plants, Scherer draws attention to roots as active intelligent agents in the process of producing living fabrics.            

Scherer is particularly fascinated by the hidden systems of plants. Her project Entanglement looks at xylem vessels, the tissue responsible for transportation of water through plants. Examining closely the interdependence of plants and water, the pattern Scherer creates with the roots is inspired by the forms of the xylem vessels in plant anatomy. The emergence of these water vessels in plants is considered one of the most important evolutions in the life of plants. Taking geometric and ordering principles and patterns from nature, Scherer poses a dilemma as her craft is both a manipulation of natural processes and possible cultivation of a joint path together.                  

“A root navigates, knows what is up and down, perceives gravity and can locate moisture and chemicals. Roots are incredibly strong. In their search for food and space they fight for every space they can find. I use this strength to create my work. I expose the subterranean life and natural network turns into a textile-like material. The dynamism of the plant makes it seem as if the work is making itself. I have learned to deal with the autonomy of nature. Despite my intervention, the outcome is unpredictable every time. The interaction of control and letting go is an important element in my work.” – Diana Scherer

The largest contemporary art event of its kind in Australia, the Biennale of Sydney will be open free to the public from March 12 to June 13, 2022 at Art Gallery of New South Wales, Barangaroo including The Cutaway, Circular Quay, Information + Cultural Exchange, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, National Art School in partnership with Artspace, The Rocks and Pier 2/3 at Walsh Bay Arts Precinct.

For all of the 94 days of the exhibition, the projects and ideas will be activated and explored through an expansive program of events and experiences, titled The Waterhouse. The program includes the return of school programs and will activate the city through daily programming for all ages and abilities.

Exhibition entry is free.

Rivus, 23rd Biennale of Sydney, Australia

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2022. All Rights Reserved