Sydney’s own international art fair first came to the cavernous halls of Carriageworks for its inaugural edition in 2013. Art collectors and enthusiasts fronted up en masse to experience what had previously been denied to a beach city generally not associated with exciting, innovative contemporary art. Since then, Sydney’s contemporary art scene has continued its quiet evolution. In September this year, Sydney Contemporary art fair will return to occupy the entire Carriageworks creative precinct.
The event will feature 75 local and international galleries. Visitors to the fair will be granted access to artwork by exciting emerging and established artists from all over the world. “We’ve succeeded in embracing the Pacific Rim this year,” says Sydney Contemporary director, Barry Keldoulis. “We have galleries exhibiting from South and North America.” Galleries include Galeria AFA from Santiago in Chile, Mark Moore Gallery from Los Angeles and Future Perfect from Singapore.
The fair’s public program will expand geographically, embracing the city in a new initiative called Sydney Art Week. “We’re working with major institutions, such as the Art Gallery of NSW and the Museum of Contemporary Art; with the City itself, and with retail and hospitality to create a real buzz around the fair,” says Keldoulis.
Art and Dine is an opportunity to taste something art inspired at some of Sydney’s best restaurants and bars. The Apollo, Longrain, Otto and Riley Street Garage will serve their most artistic plates during art week. Winner of the 2014 Archibald Prize Fiona Lowry has collaborated with a mixologist to create a sweet-sounding cocktail called Pink Frost, which you can sip at the fair’s after-hours HQ, the QT Hotel.
Night Cap will offer a series of late-night events after 10pm at QT Hotel’s secret cinema and bar space. Artists and curators will lead conversations against the backdrop of video-art pieces and a curated film program. Acclaimed Australian artist Tracey Moffatt, whose film work has featured at Cannes Film Festival, will launch the Night Cap series by premiering her new short film, Artists Behaving Badly, while she tends bar.
The opening night of the fair will feature live performances from musicians and artists, as you wind your way through the sprawling maze of art-filled booths at Carriageworks. A contemporary harpist will perform, as well as a soul singer, The Alaska Orchestra and Benji Rah. A trail of performance and live-art pieces will take place indoors and out – covering the streets of neighboring Redfern. Fair festivities will continue at local haunts with after parties at The Dock, Arcadia Liquors, 107 Projects and The Bearded Tit.
Curated by Emma Price and Connie Anthes, Trailblazers is a local performance-art trail that weaves a path from the fair through to The Bearded Tit. It features work by Alex Chapman, Penelope Benton and more.
Talk Contemporary will include a series of panels with leading figures from the world of contemporary art. Talk topics include: Does gender matter in art?; How Australia sees itself through art; Post-internet art; and Talent borrows, genius steals. Speakers include Artspace director Alexie Glass-Kantor, MONA curator Jarrod Rawlins and Google’s Creative Lab director, Tom Uglow.
“Our international tourism exposure tends to be along the lines of beaches and native animals. People are often then pleasantly surprised to find that Sydney has a cultural life of any description,” says Keldoulis. “From our artist-run spaces, through to our institutions and more, we want people to realise what a cultural hive of activity Sydney is.”
Art Week events will run from Monday September 7 through to Sunday September 13. Sydney Contemporary Art Fair takes place from September 10 to September 13 at Carriageworks, 245 Wilson Street, Redfern.
The full public program of events is available online: sydneycontemporary.com.au