The Biennale of Sydney has announced the exhibition sites for its 23rd edition, titled rīvus, along with a number of events and experiences, dubbed The Waterhouse.

Running from 12 March to 13 June 2022, the Biennale of Sydney will present participant artworks and projects at places including the 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 Walsh Bay Arts Precinct including Pier 2/3.

The Curatorium leading the 23rd Biennale of Sydney has encouraged visitors to visit each location on a course that is inclusive and accessible by walking, biking, wheelchair and other mobility devices, as well as public transport.

“This program gives agency. It empowers audiences to recognise that their story and their journey has meaning and value. It supports the sharing of space and ideas, inspiring communities to collectively consider a different kind of future. It is a program grounded in equity, enabling both active and quiet participation through diverse encounters,” says Lleah Smith, Curator, Programs and Learning at the Biennale of Sydney.

The first wave of experiences announced for the 3-month long exhibition, which reflects on rivers and other bodies of water and the ecologies they sustain, echoes this free-flowing movement of people and exchange of ideas. Anchored at The Cutaway at Barangaroo, The Waterhouse will activate the city through daily programming for all ages and abilities.

The first release of events and experiences includes Space In-Between, a series of self-guided walks and site-specific exercises created by rīvus participants and extended national and international thinkers, researchers and makers, Building Blocks, an opportunity for audiences to engage deeply with the working methods of practitioners that blend educational and art making processes, Gesture, a 90-minute sensory exhibition, River Conversations, a two-day symposium that takes place on land and water, and Water Lessons which investigates water through the lens of muse, material and resources.

School tours have now recommenced and are on offer from Monday to Friday for the duration of the exhibition. Schools can book a specialised Educator-Led Experience or a Self-Guided Experience with learning resources available online to ensure the fullest experience of rīvus. H20 Embassy(s) is a school program in which students will contribute to the Embassy of the North Sea's advocacy for water bodies and all the organisms that live within marine environments. 

NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, says the NSW Government is delighted to support the Biennale of Sydney for both its 2022 and 2024 editions.

“This investment aligns with the NSW Visitor Economy Strategy and our goal to position Sydney as the events capital of the Asia Pacific by driving visitation to the state. This important international festival of contemporary art is hugely significant in the state’s calendar of events. We are delighted that the 23rd Biennale of Sydney exhibition will feature artists from an impressive 33 countries around the world.”

NSW Minister for the Arts, Don Harwin echoes Ayres’ sentiments. 

“As NSW re-opens its doors to the world, it’s time to welcome the Biennale of Sydney back! The NSW Government is a proud supporter of the Biennale, where audiences can celebrate all the Festival has to offer with free and exciting events and exhibitions.”

Artist projects for the Biennale will be announced in February 2022. Ticketed events and experiences are now on sale at Exhibition entry is free.


Picture: The Biennale of Sydney’s public program provides pathways into projects by participants including (from left) Cave Urban (Sophie Lanigan, Juan Pablo Pinto, Mercurio Alvarado and Jed Long), David Haines and Joyce Hinterding and Clare Milledge, pictured with Lleah Smith (centre), Curator of Programs and Learning, at The Cutaway, Barangaroo. Photograph: Daniel Boud