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Carriageworks becomes a playground for art lovers with this annual four-day art fair and festival featuring talks, performances and installations
Don’t know your Banksy from your Basquiat or your Kusama from your Kapoor? You don’t need to be a contemporary art expert to enjoy Australia’s largest international art fair.
From September 12 to 15, Sydney Contemporary will turn Carriageworks into a paradise for art lovers, with talks, performances and installations, not to mention a who’s who of Australian and Asian art galleries and a cross-section of works by international artists. The event always brings out heavy-hitting buyers and dealers ($21 million changed hands in 2018) but there’s plenty on offer even if you don’t have pockets full of cash.
Artists with work on sale include big names like Tony Albert, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Archie Moore, Bill Henson, Del Kathryn Barton, Brook Andrew, David Haines, Joan Ross, Polixeni Papapetrou, Petrina Hicks, Christian Thompson and Janet Laurence.
If your budget only stretches to looking rather than buying, there’s a busy program of installations, performances, talks and screenings, many of which are free to the public.
This year’s Installation Contemporary features small and large-scale installation works around the Carriageworks site, curated by 4A Centre for Contemporary Art director Mikala Tai. There’s Joan Ross’s ‘Did You Ask the River’, a virtual reality work that puts you in the shows of an 18th century colonial woman; a massive suspended painting by Gregory Hodge; and Hong Kong artist Movana Chen’s ‘Dreconstructing’, a wearable work knitted from old magazines.
The Performance Contemporary program features live performances curated by Jeff Khan from Performance Space, with Archie Barry, Chun Yin Rainbow Chan, Nell, Leila El Rayes and Harry Pickering as well as Marcus Whale and Athena Thebus popping up around the festival. Talk Contemporary will be headlined by Gerda Taro, a founding member of New York’s trailblazing feminist art collective, Guerilla Girls. There’ll also be a panel of leading artists (Rachel Burke, Ken Done, Taline Gabriel, Yasmine Ghoniem, Linda Jackson and Evi O) talking about the use of colour in their work.
All this art-ogling will make you hungry, so head for the pop-ups by some of Sydney’s best restaurants, or kick back at the Galleria Campari Bar or Handpicked Wines Art Bar.
The fun kicks off at Sydney Contemporary’s Opening Night party (Thursday September 12, 5-9pm) with performances, live music and course, art, for $50 ($60 at the door). Tickets to the fair start at $26 for adults, or splash out on the VIP Art Pass, which includes unlimited entry to the fair and a VIP program of discussions.