In Arts + Entertainment

Australasia’s Largest Art Fair Returns To Sydney

Australasia’s largest and most diverse art fair is back for its fourth edition from September 13-16  as part of Sydney Art Week. Sydney Contemporary will be taking over Carriageworks for four intensive days with curated installations, engaging talks, experimental video art, and artist workshops.

This year, art lovers can expect an exciting multi-disciplinary line-up with an international edge: the fair will be welcoming more than 70 galleries from six continents, and artists from 32 countries will be represented (China, Indonesia, Argentina, South Africa and Switzerland, to name a few). The strong representation of galleries from Australia and south-east Asia will continue, and for the first time, the fair will include leading contemporary gallery, Pace Gallery, as well as Flowers Gallery of London and New York.

Sydney Contemporary draws in all kinds of art-and-culture lovers, including the serious art-collector crowd — the previous three fairs have attracted more than 60,000 visitors and $40 million in sales. There’s something for everyone from exciting performances and foodie pop-ups, to works on show from both renowned global artists and up-and-coming local acts.

Alongside the art, there’ll be pop-up restaurants and bars from some of the city’s leading restaurants and foodie destinations, which are to be announced in the lead up. If previous years are anything to go by, there’ll be plenty of tasty eats — among the likes of household Sydney names such as Kitchen by Mike or Longrain. As part of Art After Hours, this year’s Night Cap series will include after-parties with DJs and drinks until late taking place at The Royal Hotel in Darlington, Redfern’s The Bearded Tit, and The Old Fitzroy Hotel in Woolloomooloo.

The programme is jam-packed with lots of incredible must-see events. There’ll be installations on view at the Barangaroo precinct in the lead-up, and look out for the different Sydney Contemporary segments including Installation Contemporary and Paper Contemporary.

Installation partnership with Barangaroo

From 20 August to 24 September, head to Barangaroo where the installation works of three leading artists will be on show.

Melbourne-based artist Callum Morton’s Shelter will protrude from the pavement, providing cover for passers-by as an exploration of human interactions with designed spaces. Mel O’Callaghan, an Australian artist based in Paris, will be presenting Breathwork, a large-scale installation and performance, that will see movement accompanied by a coordination of graphic lines and an intensive musical score. And lastly, Australian artist Cameron Robbins will be using wind-powered instruments to create multimedia works spanning drawing, photography and moving image.

“Barangaroo is developing a reputation for supporting artists to make work in a way few others do: the creation of public temporary, large scale installations. The three artists are chosen for their capacity to make work that engages the viewer in intriguing and innovative ways,” says Barry Keldoulis, Sydney Contemporary Fair Director.

Fair segments: Installation, performance, video, paper and talks

Michaela Davies’ Duty Photo: Heidrun Lohr

This year, the Installation Contemporary segment of the fair will present over 20 installation works. One key highlight is Jean Dubuffet’s four-metre-high sculpture, L’Incivil (1973/2014), which was most recently presented at the Riksmuseum in Amsterdam. Presented by Pace Gallery for Sydney Contemporary, L’Incivil conforms to Dubuffet’s art brut (“raw art”) movement, and reflects an inherent need for spontaneous and obsessive expression. Other highlights include an interactive sound sculpture that uses Awabakal country natural materials by Megan Cope; and a chandelier formed of fluorescent furniture by light artist, Bill Culbert; and an investigation of the effects of radiation on the local Indigenous population of the Maralinga area after 1950s and 60s Atomic testing.

Patricia Piccinini Photo: Mark Chew

Taking place in Carriageworks’ Elston Room will be a reimagining of The Field, a landscape of genetically modified flowers by renowned artist Patricia Piccinini. This will be the first time the work has been shown outside of a traditional gallery setting, offering viewers the chance to immerse themselves in Piccinini’s fantastical, surreal world.

“Installation Contemporary gives artists the opportunity to look beyond the spatial limitations and commercial considerations of the fair booth,” says 2018 Installation Contemporary curator Nina Miall, “to play with scale, work in more experimental or ambitious ways, or make work that responds directly to the industrial spaces of Carriageworks.”

Emily Parsons-Lord Photo: The Documentors

For the Performance Contemporary element of the fair, visitors can expect pieces that are both bold and groundbreaking. Most of the action will be taking place on the fair’s Opening Night, with other performances spread out over the remaining days. The line-up includes Emily Parsons-Lord, who will be exploring elemental connection through pyrotechnics; an inviting act of collective purification by Taiwanese artist River Lin; and an investigation of human limits through the use of electric muscle stimulation by Michaela Davis.

The full programme of Video Contemporary is yet to be released but visitors can expect big things from its curator, Kelly Gellatly, the Director of the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne. Selected artists at the forefront of the video realm will form part of a dynamic exhibition, with many works exploring contemporary issues and social concerns.

River Lin Cleansing Service Photo: Heidrun Lohr

For the third time, Paper Contemporary returns as yet another must-see component of the fair. Art on paper is an important form of visual expression, and the fair will be hosting a strong representation of galleries, publishers and artists from Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Paper Contemporary aims to stimulate debate around the paper medium, with top modern and contemporary works on display. Feeling inspired to make your own works on paper? Sign up to a printing technique workshop to get to know the basics behind the craft, watch a demonstration on Japanese printmaking, flick through the zines on display, or be part of the conversation at panels and engaging artist talks.

Other talk highlights on this year’s programme include a panel event where Vogue Living editors will discuss the ways in which art can make or break a space; stories about the intersection of fashion and art, presented by i-d; a private collection tour with Wendy Whiteley; and the chance to dine with artists at brunch events.

Published 13 August, 2018