Work by Betty Chimney and Raylene Walatinna
The Sydney Contemporary art fair is once again giving collectors, industry professionals and the art-loving public incredible access to cutting-edge creative work, from both famous and emerging artists, all under one giant roof.
For the 2019 event, 98 galleries exhibiting more than 450 artists from 34 countries will take part, converging on Carriageworks in Redfern from the 12th until the 15th of September. Naturally, there will be traditional exhibitions of painting and sculpture, but there will also be designated spaces for video art, performance pieces, as well as panel discussions and workshops. A number of Sydney’s favourite restaurants and drink retailers will have stalls at the event — including Handpicked Wines and Taittinger Champagne — as dynamic modern art and delicious cuisine go hand-in-hand.
Below, director of programming for Sydney Contemporary, Samantha Watson Wood, lists some of the exhibitions and events she is looking forward to.
‘Afternoon sequence #3’ by André Hemer.
These acrylic and pigment works act like gelato, rainbow and magic. I am constantly distracted by his work at the fair and want all of them. Showing with Yavuz Gallery.
Body Container Comes to Life in Hong Kong 2013 (knitted shredded maps) by Movana Chen.
This year Hong Kong-based artist, Movana Chen, was selected to be our international artist in residence in collaboration with Artspace, Wooloomooloo. During her stay she will get to know the local land through use of old maps. Her studio will become a performance space as she shreds and then knits the old maps, creating a cocoon-like costume to be worn at the fair. Movana’s work has been seen across Asia and Europe and this is the first time she has been to Australia. She is showing at Flowers Gallery.
Betty Chimney and Raylene Walatinna (mother-daughter collaboration) for APY Land Gallery.
APY Land Gallery
The APY Art Centre Collective is a group of 10 Indigenous owned and governed enterprises. APY Gallery shows contemporary work coming from these centres. For me, this is one of the most interesting new additions to the fair. I think the work from this region is some of the most exciting work being made in the world. We are lucky enough to welcome three of these artists – Vicki Cullinan, Illuwanti Ken and Sally Scales – who will speak on a panel as part of Talk Contemporary to look at artists using language and their visual voice to address inequity, inappropriate representation, and place the artists’ worldview at the centre of the conversation.
Marcus Whale in collaboration with Athena Thebus, image by Andrew Haining.
This program is one of my favourite parts of the fair to work on. Unlike many art fairs around the world, Sydney Contemporary has a rich and diverse performance program that provides a platform for experimental and challenging non-commercial work. We collaborate with the amazing Performance Space to curate this program. This year expect to see the incredible Marcus Whale (in collaboration with Athena Thebus) rise to the heights of Carriageworks’ ceiling while singing his performance Lucifer, Chun Yin Rainbow Chan sings a Weitou lullaby through a veil of 144 smoked latex flowers, and Leila El Rayes and Harry Pickering tie strangers together with silk rope and gifts to incite human connection.
‘Did you ask the river’ by Joan Ross.
Joan Ross Virtual Reality
Earlier this year, ACMI Melbourne commissioned Joan Ross to create a virtual reality experience. Her resulting work, Did you ask the river, is coming to the fair. Joan is an incredibly clever artist and a dear friend of mine, and when I entered this all-immersive Joan-Ross world I cried. Joan is showing with Micheal Reid Gallery.
‘Bitter Roseroot’ by Julia Robinson.
Julia Robinson is a South Australian artist making sculpture and installations. Her soft pastel forms work with themes of rituals, fertility and the cycle of the seasons drawing on a multitude of sources including myths, fairy tales, European superstition, folklore and our connection to life, death and sex. All completely wonderful and sensual things. She is showing with Hugo Michel Gallery.
‘Gravity’ by Amos Gebhardt.
These silvery, haunting images of horses celebrate the drama of powerful thoroughbreds performing their courting ritual. Amos will also be giving a talk about his work, which will examine ideas of screen language, queer orientations, inter-species dependence and alternative ontologies as a way to pluralise the experience of being. Showing with Tolarno.
Jess Johnson’s design for Alpha60 T-shirt Printing Press.
Alpha60 T-shirt Printing Press
This year we have partnered with Alpha60, who are producing limited-edition t-shirts in collaboration with leading artists Jess Johnston, Jason Phu and Darren Sylvester. The T-shirts will be screen-printed live at the fair by printing masters from Ailse Six.
‘Snoopy Enredado y Preocupado, Altar de Matas y Protestas’ by Nadia Hernández.
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Nadia makes beautiful coloured hanging fabric works, each one taking its title from a poem written by her grandfather in 1997. These poems were inspired by the devastation the Amazon and exploitation of the environment. Her works search for a new language to describe these delicate situations that plague her home country of Venezuela. She will be exhibiting with Black Arts Projects.
‘The Making of Mississippi Grind’ by Jacqueline Fraser.
We are lucky enough to have Jacqueline as part of our installation program this year. Jacqueline is a contemporary New Zealand artist of Ngāi Tahu descent who has been making immersive installations since the 1970s. Her work for the Fair is a cornucopia of popular cultural references, looking at celebrity, wealth, politics, rap culture and high-fashion integrating pink and gold tinsel walls and a chandelier into the architecture. Jaqueline shows with Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery.
‘Winners are Grinners’ by Alex Seton.
Alex is a contemporary marble sculptor who has carved a giant skull – called Winners are Grinners – which will sit on a huge marble plinth at the entrance to the fair. Alex is represented by Sullivan And Strumpf.
Book designer and artist Evi O.
Evi O is an award-winning book designer and self-taught artist who will be doing a solo presentation of graphic abstract work with Saint Cloche. They are putting on a talk “Colour is my Superpower” on Thursday 12 September which will look to artists, fashion designers and stylists to explore their obsession with colour.