13 Rooms Walsh Bay

There’s not many better ways to travel into the city than by ferry and unfortunately I don’t have the freedom of time to do this all that often. So I decided to take the opportunity when I finally found it.

Pier 2/3 is on Hickson Road at Walsh Bay, just a short walk from The Rocks. For the past 11 days it has been home to one of the most experimental and impressive performance art exhibitions ever to hit our shores.

Curated by the highly acclaimed Klaus Biesenbach (MOMA, NY) and Hans Ulrich Obrist (Serpentine Gallery, London), 13 Rooms challenged not only everything I thought I knew about art but also everything I thought about normal human interaction.

Presented by Kaldor Public Art Projects, the exhibition featured 12 rooms with distinctively different representations of people’s relationship to art, all contained within one larger space. That being the 13th room.

The line up brought together some of the most esteemed contemporary artists in the world, including infamous participants such as Xu Zhen, John Baldessari and Damien Hirst.

13 Rooms is the most complex performance art exhibition that I have ever attended and the encouraged audience interaction left me feeling both completely unsettled and somehow entirely interested at the same time. I felt as if everyone there reacted very differently to each experience and my reaction happened to result in me feeling uncomfortable.

Mirror Check by Joan Jonas was one of these shockingly memorable performances. First developed in the 1970’s, “a woman observes and examines her own naked body in a small, round, hand-held mirror, carefully and thoughtfully observing her reflection”. (13 Rooms Program) 

Whilst viewing these particular rooms there was moments where I felt so completely uncomfortable that I was unable to appreciate the integrity of the artwork itself. There were rooms where the lines between art and eroticism were precariously balanced. There were rooms that gave little consideration to aesthetic and relied entirely on the concept itself. They were all rooms that ,upon reflection, I completely hated but it was utterly engaging and brilliant!

For more images and videos check out: 13 Rooms

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