Discovered on YouTube: Australian Artists Enter "13 Rooms"

Discovered on YouTube: Australian Artists Enter "13 Rooms"
Clark Beaumont

The “13 Rooms” exhibition being brought to Sydney by John Kaldor of Kaldor Public Art Projects is one of the most anticipated art events of recent years. Building on the two previous versions in Manchester (11 Rooms) and Germany (12 Rooms), the Sydney edition of the exhibition, “13 Rooms,” is the first edition to appear independent of the two commissioning organisations.

Described by curator Hans Ulrich Obertist as “like an exhibition where the sculptures go home at night,” “13 Rooms” brings together 13 artists and more than 70 trained performers to present an innovative group exhibition of “living sculpture” within 13 purpose-built rooms.  Kaldor refers to “13 Rooms” as the “most exciting exhibition that has been placed of the last decade.” His belief that “an artwork isn’t complete until the audience participates” will be more than satisfied by the inclusive nature of the exhibition.

The 11 day event to be held at Walsh Bay Pier 2/3 from April 11 – 21 signifies the initiation of the 13th “living sculpture” which will be presented by Brisbane-based collaborative duo Nicole Beaumont and Sarah Clark, better known as Clark Beaumont. Nicole and Sarah will join the likes of John Baldessari, Marina Abramovi?, and Damien Hirst who have all contributed to the project.

Just as interesting as the concept itself is the story of how little-known collaborative duo Clark Beaumont came to be chosen as the 13th participant.  It was during the initial development phase that John Kaldor and the two exhibition curators, Klaus Biesenbach and Hans Ulrich Obrist, made the decision to hand over the 13th room to an Australian artist.  Once the decision to include an Australian artist had been made, a shortlist of candidates was put together with a focus on artists who were at the beginning of their career. “The curators were keen to have some artists who were young,” Kaldor recalls. 

Kaldor and the two curators were all set to select an artist from the shortlist when Biesenbach and Obrist were shown a Youtube video of the work of Clark Beaumont by the young New York-based independent curator Simon Castet who just so happened to be researching artists born after 1989 for an exhibition titled “89plus” that he was co-curating with Hans Ulrich Oberist. The rest, as they say, is history.

The way in which Clark Beaumont were discovered is apt considering that they two artists are part of a wired generation whose lives are characterised and defined by personalities developed through social networking and digital devices. According to Kaldor, the process that lead to their discovery by Oberist and Beaumont “is an example of how global and how connected we are today.”

Kaldor is understandably excited about the inclusion of Clark Beaumont in what he refers to as a “mini biennale.”  “We are showing the future by having young artists,” he says. “Clark Beaumont represent the youth – they have a strong point of view.” Kaldor is also optimistic about future opportunities for the Australian duo: “As the show travels they will have great opportunities to be included in future exhibitions.”