Australasia's premier art fair is back in Sydney this spring with its largest edition to date. There’s a full four days of immersive stalls and installations to explore, as well as performances to intrigue, and loads of art ready for you to purchase and take home.
Sydney Contemporary returns to Carriageworks from September 7-10, with more than 500 artists showcased by 96 emerging and established galleries from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore.
Alongside all the art you can peruse, there are over 200 events to pick from. The ambitious program includes engaging panel discussions, guided tours, educational workshops, after-dark parties, and an extensive VIP Program. The Fair is also home to restaurants, cafés and bespoke bars, making it an all-encompassing art and dining experience.
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Our top picks from the Talk Contemporary program include Love, Sex and the Image: Unpacking the representation of our sexual identities through image (Friday, 5-6pm) featuring Emma Maye Gibson (aka Betty Grumble), and The Selfie and Questions of Identity: Tracking the history and meanings behind self-portraiture aka the selfie featuring Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran (Saturday, 12-1pm).
This year the Installation Contemporary program presents ambitious large-scale artworks by 12 leading contemporary artists. We’re eerily delighted by the evocative ‘Dead Horse’ by Abdul-Rahman Abdullah – recently displayed at the dynamic Ngununggula art gallery, this life-sized carved wooden sculpture muses on the relationship between human and horse (and much more). You can also see ‘One Bright Pearl’ at the entrance to Carriageworks, a new large sculpture weighing in at over 200 kilograms from Lindy Lee, the artist behind the galaxy-evoking sculpture outside the MCA. The other artists contributing to the installations are Alex Seton, Brian Robinson, Jenna Lee, Jon Rafman, Julie Rrap, Louise Zhang, Mikala Dwyer, Roy Wiggan, Sarah Smuts-Kennedy and Tony Garifalakis.
Gallery booth highlights for 2023 include Roslyn Oxley9, which will premiere vivid new works by celebrated Yolgnu artist Dhambit Munuŋgurr, with her distinct brushstrokes and palettes of cobalt blue echoing depictions of the sky and sea. Blackartprojects presents a group exhibition, including a new large scale terracotta figure by rising Indigenous artist Billy Bain, who was a finalist in this year's Wynne and Sulman prizes. Artereal Gallery presents new works by experimental ceramicist Ebony Russell, known for her tactile ceramic works made from cake-piped porcelain.
When the sun goes down on Sydney Contemporary, the party starts, and the art gets bolder with Performance Contemporary. Art Night returns on Thursday, September 7, in an all-encompassing evening of art, live performance, music and food experiences. This big arty night out features three live performances alongside a music set by renowned DJ duo Stereogamous. In a newly commissioned work taking place during Art Night, multidisciplinary artist and fierce trans woman Fetu Taku will draw on her extensive hip hop and vogue training for a piece that explores community, and equitable spaces for diverse bodies.
Interdisciplinary artist Riana Head-Toussaint will also perform live on Thursday night, incorporating bodycam, drone work and surveillance-style cinematography alongside a projection of her video work Animate Loading. Head-Toussaint’s work is deeply informed by her embodied experience as a wheelchair-user, as well as her training as a legal practitioner, and Afro-Caribbean heritage. Wiradyuri conceptual artist and cultural practitioner Amala Groom is also on the Thursday night line-up. Groom will present her renowned work RED TAPE, singing a Wiradyuri medicine song and using the space as a meditative portal. The artist will wrap herself in 44 metres of red tape, representing 44 years of negotiating bureaucracy, after which she jumps through hoops looping through the audience.
On Friday, September 8, a music program by DJ Sveta will support another live performance, both taking place during the twilight hours of the fair. Cook Island-Australian emerging artist Morgan Hogg will perform on Friday night, creating an expressive, costumed dance that takes the viewer on a journey through time and space.
Phew! That’s just a taste of the whopping four-day event. You can explore the full program at sydneycontemporary.com.au.
Tickets for Sydney Contemporary start at $39 for a day pass ($26 concession), $65 for Art Night, and $175.50 for Unlimited Access over the four days. Snap up your tickets over here.