The Artistic Director of the 21st Biennale of Sydney, Mami Kataoka, has revealed the theme for next year’s bonanza of contemporary art, and it promises to be one of the most cerebral in the celebrated festival’s illustrious history.

Under the title Superposition: Art Of Equilibrium and Engagement, the art works showcased during the three-month festival will feature responses to the principles of quantum mechanics and other ideas related to notions of balance, connection and catalysis. Perhaps more significantly, it will also make subliminal yet pointed references to the turbulence in the geopolitical landscape that has become an increasingly dominant force in today’s world.

Speaking from the Australian Embassy in Tokyo, Kataoka said, “We are surrounded by conflicting ideas across all levels of humanity: different cultures, readings of nature and the universe; political ideologies and systems of government; interpretations of human history, including the history of art and definitions of contemporary art.”

Chen Shaoxiong The Views, 2016 (installation view) four-channel video installation.

Another 19 featured artists were also announced, all originating from East Asian countries including Indonesia, China, Taiwan, Cambodia, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan, and India. In total 37 artists have been announced so far, with the remainder of the 2018 Biennale’s talent due to be unveiled this October.

In addition to the theme of superposition and quantum theory, next year’s festival will also be looking to its past. To commemorate the Biennale’s 45th anniversary, the exhibition will reflect on its rich history through a celebration of its archive. More than four decades of art from around the globe will offer a unique retrospective of Australia’s most prestigious visual art festival.

The 21st Biennale of Sydney will be presented over twelve weeks from 16 Mar – 11 Jun 2018, at venues across Sydney.