Contemporary Art

Contemporary Art

Returning - Chapter 1 - Responding to our collective moment in time, Returning offers succinct meditations on the events, experiences and propositions prompted by the pandemic.

As we navigate our re-entry into the public realm, we have emerged into a world increasingly drained of wonder and physical connection. After living our separate, secluded lives, we are not the same people we were a year ago. Though restrictions have relaxed and populations are gaining immunity, our present is still uncertain. Globalisation has seemingly been put on hold, the legacy of Colonialism has been brought to the fore, while radicalisation is more present and the effects of climate change more real.

Against this backdrop, Sydney Opera House has commissioned several artist perspectives from Australia and Asia to accrue, gather and snowball the mood swings of the past year, transforming our private and societal reorientations into works that ring fresh and clear. While much of the imagery is drawn from the past twelve months, these works are more than mere artefacts of the pandemic. The artists have created enduring works that beat with a rhetorical urgency. Conceived as online moving image works, video is used as a tool to navigate forward. They have taken to individual forms of political activism and social commentary, creating works that impel us to view the recent past differently, while asking what the future might portend.

Through poetic metaphors and expressive soundtracks, graveness and humour, focused videography and experimental moving image, the artists demonstrate that art is not only a dream or a vision, but can contain a skeleton architecture for our lives. By leaning, listening, watching and adjusting ourselves to the new rhythms of the unknown, these screen-based works offer us glimmers of how to find our way again and make sense of our changing surroundings as we return - return to the world, return to each other and most importantly, return to ourselves.

Accompanying each artwork are behind the scenes video interviews as well as past works by the artists. A series of personal essays by a selection of writers unravelling each artists’ response will be released later this year.

Returning: Chapter 1 is co-presented with The Japan Foundation, Sydney. Returning: Chapter 2 launches in late 2021.

Yu Araki (Japan)
Caroline Garcia (Australia)
Cherine Fahd (Australia)
Koki Tanaka (Japan)

Contemporary Art
  • Cherine Fahd | Returning - Chapter 1

    2 videos

    b. 1974, Sydney, Australia. Lives and works in Sydney, Australia.

    Working across photography and video performance, Cherine Fahd explores the potential of photography as a social practice to build connections between people. Her recent exhibition projects include 'The National 2019: New Australi...

  • Yu Araki | Returning - Chapter 1

    3 videos

    b. 1985, Yamagata City, Japan. Lives and works in Tokyo, Japan.

    Araki received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, U.S.A. in 2007, and completed his Master of Film and New Media Studies from Tokyo University o...

  • Koki Tanaka | Returning - Chapter 1

    4 videos

    b. 1976, Mashiko, Tochigi, Japan. Lives and works in Kyoto, Japan.

    In his diverse art practice spanning video, photography, site-specific installations and interventions, Tanaka visualises and reveals the multiple contexts latent in the most simple of everyday acts. Tanka has exhibited extensiv...

  • Caroline Garcia | Returning - Chapter 1

    3 videos

    b.1988, Sydney, Australia. Lives and works in New York, USA

    Caroline is a culturally promiscuous, interdisciplinary artist. She works across performance, video, and installation through a hybridized aesthetic of cross-cultural movement, embodied research, and new media. Caroline is a commissione...