Mami Kataoka Announced as Artistic Director of 21st Biennale of Sydney

Kataoka is the first Asian curator to hold the post.

Mami Kataoka. PhotoMami Kataoka. Photo Jennifer YinJennifer Yin

The Biennale of Sydney has announced that Mami Kataoka has been appointed as artistic director of its 21st edition which will take place in 2018, making her the first person from Asia to hold the post.

Kataoka, who is Japanese, has strong ties to the biennial and served as one of thirteen international advisors to the 20th edition of the biennial, which took place earlier this year.

“We are delighted with Mami Kataoka’s appointment as Artistic Director of the 21st Biennale of Sydney,” said Kate Mills, chairman of Sydney Biennial, in a statement. “As one of the region’s most accomplished curators, Mami will bring a truly fresh perspective and an Asian sensibility to the exhibition in 2018.”

Mills added that she thinks that Kataoka’s artistic directorship will allow the biennial audience to explore their relationship with the Asia Pacific region and “challenge conventional wisdoms.”

Among other exhibitions, in 2012 Kataoka was the co-artistic director of “ROUNDTABLE: 9th Gwangju Biennale”, and “Ai Weiwei: According to What?”, at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC, which toured to several other North American venues.

“I am honored to be appointed Artistic Director of the 21st Biennale of Sydney in 2018, especially being the first from Asia since the Biennale’s inauguration in 1973; this means a lot to me and hopefully to the region” said Kataoka in a statement. “I am especially interested in the role that the Biennale has played in bringing international contemporary art, artists and art curators to Australia for more than 40 years.”

An expert in socio-historical and generational trends, Kataoka wants to focus on these subjects in putting together the next edition of the biennial.

“As Artistic Director I am interested to ask how we can test the Biennale’s significance given the growing understanding of multiple modernities; the many socio-political contexts and accelerated complexities in the world conditions today,” she explained. ”I am thrilled to work together with great artists from Australia and around the world for the coming Biennale to find ways to engage in depth with its history, diverse communities, and contexts.”


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