Sydney Contemporary 2019
I walked into the wonderful space that is Sydney’s Carriagework and Barry Keldoulis ‒ Director of run-away success Sydney Contemporary ‒ is standing at the door smiling gently. On congratulating him, Barry responded “I don’t do much”. The understatement matches Barry’s gentle smile. Last year's Sydney Contemporary made over $21 million in sales and was visited by more than 25,000 art lovers.
(*Disclaimer: I first met Barry when we were both in our early twenties.)
The fair is structured so that regardless of wallet size (almost) and taste (again almost), you'll find a work with which to fall in love. Everything is here from Amos Gebhardt’s white stallions (as ubiquitous in high-end real estate adds as in art review pages), to Bill Henson's moody works that you’ll (if you are me) consider mortgaging your home to buy ... plus a whole lot more upwards, downwards and side-wards in price and fit, 'fall in love with' and brag-ability. It is all up for grabs at Sydney Contemporary.
This year Sydney Contemporary showcased the work of over 450 national and international artists from around the world and over 95 galleries. as well as a one young indigenous women in a corner singing a ditty about where all the pretentious white people go, to the tune of (I think) 'Where have all the Flowers Gone...'. It was a poignant moment and not on the official program. (*I later discovered this was Willurai Kirkbright, performer and empath).
Following is a visual taste of the fair:
Amos Gebhardt, 'Untitled No 9' (detail) from Night Horse, 2019, archival inkjet pigment print, 170 x 130 cm (paper size). Edition of 5 + 1 AP. Image courtesy of the artist and Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne.
Nick Hall, ‘So You Dream in Colour, So You Live in Colour’, oil on canvas, 122 x 183 cm. Courtesy the artist and Wagner Contemporary, Sydney.
Felicity Robertson, ‘Untitled Etching’, 50 x 50 cm, 2018. Courtesy the artist and Whaling Road Studio, Sydney.
Joan Ross, ‘Holding Nothing’ (detail), 2019, hand painted pigment print on cotton rag paper, 70 x 100 cm. Courtesy the artist and Bett Gallery, Hobart.
Jamie North,’ Slag Study #2’, 2019, blast furnace slag, galvanised steel, Australian native plant. Courtesy the artist and Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney.
Yeo Kaa, ‘Conjuring Beauty Through Misery’ (detail), 2019, acrylic on canvas, 237 x 305 cm. Courtesy the artist, The Working Animals Art Projects and Yavuz Gallery, Singapore.
Oliver King, ‘I don’t give a shit about you. Success smells fantastic’ (detail), 2019, digital print on ACM & Mixed Media, 120 x 80cm. Courtesy the artist and PAULNACHE, Gisborne.
Chun Kwang Young, ‘Aggregation 18’ (detail), 2018, mixed media with Korean mulberry paper, 182 x 155 cm. Courtesy the artist and Sundaram Tagore Gallery, New York, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
Nicholas Harding, ‘Dog (Parramatta Rd)’, (2007) oil on belgian linen. Painting 138 x 123 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Justin Miller Art.
And then there was this adorable pooch by Nicholas Harding. In my heart of hearts I want Harding ‒ who has been an Archibald Prize winner ‒ to enter such a handsome portrait in the Archibald next year ... without a human. I can think of no more worthy a winner of that august annual prize than man’s best friend.
As you can see. Something for everyone and then some at Sydney Contemporary 2019.