Sydney International Art Series Is Bringing Kandinsky, Louise Bourgeois and Tacita Dean Exhibitions to Australia

The art event's 2023–24 season will be filled with blockbuster showcases exclusive to the Harbour City.
Sarah Ward
February 14, 2023

Three world-renowned artists. Two galleries. One big summer of art — and one city bursting with things to see. When Sydney International Art Series returns for 2023–24, it'll do so with a trio of blockbuster Australian-exclusive exhibitions showcasing some of the biggest names to ever unleash their creative talents: Wassily Kandinsky, Louise Bourgeois and Tacita Dean.

The newly revamped Art Gallery of NSW will host both Kandinsky and Louise Bourgeois: Has the Day Invaded the Night, or Has the Night Invaded the Day?, both from November 2023. The former will offer a comprehensive overview of the Moscow-born artist's career and work, as drawn from the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation's holdings. And the latter will be the first monographic exhibition to be presented in the Art Gallery's new SANAA-designed building, complete with more than 150 works, marking the largest survey of Bourgeois' work ever displayed in Australia.

Wassily Kandinsky, Improvisation 28 (second version), 1912, oil on canvas, 112.6 × 162.5 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, By Gift 37.239. Photo courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Fans of Kandinsky's abstract art can look forward to a thorough examination of the European modernist's experimental, influential style, including tracking his beginnings in Munich in the early 1900s, his time back in Moscow during World War I, his role as an instructor at Germany's famed Bauhaus school, and his late years in Paris. The exhibition comes to SIAS after running at the Guggenheim Museum New York as Vasily Kandinsky: Around the Circle in 2021–2022, and will be paired with British medium Georgiana Houghton's 19th-century spirit paintings for its Sydney stint.

The Bourgeois showcase will display 13 years after the Paris-born artist passed away in New York in 2010, and after she stamped her imprint upon the art of the 20th century. Visitors to Louise Bourgeois: Has the Day Invaded the Night, or Has the Night Invaded the Day? will see her Personage sculptures from the 1940s, textile works of the 1990s and 2000s, and plenty in-between, with the exhibition playing up the duelling themes and ideas in her work by taking over AGNSW's major exhibition gallery and 'the Tank'. This exhibition is a collaboration with The Easton Foundation in New York, too, and ranks among the most extensive exhibitions dedicated to a female artist that Australia has ever seen.

Louise Bourgeois, The destruction of the father 1974-2017, archival polyurethane, resin, wood, fabric and red light, 237.8 x 362.3 x 248.6 cm. Glenstone Museum, Potomac, Maryland. Photo: Ron Amstutz. © The Easton Foundation.

Over at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and equally impressive, exciting and a must-see, is a three-month focus on Berlin- and Los Angeles-based UK artist Tacita Dean that's the largest in-depth presentation of her work in the southern hemisphere. Spanning film, photos, installations, drawings, prints, collages and sounds, and highlighting the poetic vision lingering in her works, this showcase will go heavy on new art from the past five years — all pondering memory, history, time and chance. In the process, it'll display pieces that've never been exhibited in Australia, from recent films through to chalkboard drawings and collaborations with The Royal Ballet.

SIAS' three big exhibitions are expected to bring around 28,000 people to Sydney to see them, New South Wales Minister for the Arts and Tourism Ben Franklin announced in a statement.

"Securing these extraordinary, world-renowned artists for the Sydney International Art Series reaffirms Sydney as Australia's cultural capital and a global hub for the arts, where art and creativity are celebrated and nurtured."

Tacita Dean, Paradise (still), 2021, 35mm colour anamorphic film, with music, Paradiso by Thomas Adès. Image courtesy the artist; Frith Street Gallery, London and Marian Goodman Gallery New York/Paris, © the artist.

2023 is shaping up to be a huge year for art lovers Australia-wide, also including a world-first pop art exhibition on the Gold Coast featuring works by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring; a separate Warhol exhibition in Adelaide that's all about his photography; a showcase dedicated to Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican modernism, also in the South Australian capital; Brisbane's upcoming fairy tales exhibition; the currently displaying Alexander McQueen showcase in Melbourne; and the Victorian capital's world-premiere ode to women in film history.

Wassily Kandinsky, Landscape with rain, January 1913, oil on canvas, 70.5 x 78.4 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection 45.962. Photo courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

SYDNEY INTERNATIONAL ART SERIES 2023–24:

Saturday, November 4, 2023– Sunday, March 10, 2024 — Kandinsky at AGNSW
Saturday, November 25, 2023–Sunday, April 28, 2024 — Louise Bourgeois: Has the Day Invaded the Night, or Has the Night Invaded the Day? at AGNSW
Friday, December 8, 2023—Sunday, March 3, 2024 — Tacita Dean at MCA

Sydney International Art Series runs from November 2023 — head to the AGNSW and MCA websites for further details.

Top image: excerpt from Wassily Kandinsky, Landscape with rain, January 1913, oil on canvas, 70.5 x 78.4 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection 45.962. Photo courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Published on February 14, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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