Art pharmacy Consulting heads to Sydney Contemporary 2018
Sydney Contemporary Art Fair has gone from strength to strength, with the international art fair seeing over 80 galleries form across Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia take part this year. This has made the fair a magnet for the most experienced of collectors, but also offers an intriguing insight for those who haven't travelled quite so extensively in the world of art.
Within the fair, there’s also the amazing Installation Contemporary (this year curated by Nina Miall), an exhibition of “site-specific and interactive installations’. I love a good site-specific artwork (although saying so doesn't roll off the tongue), and seeing as it’s in within a kilometre of Art Pharmacy Consulting’s new Newtown office, we took a mosey on down with the MCA Young Ambassadors. Here’s what we loved.
Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre ‘Bagu of Girringun’
sabbia gallery (Australia)
The mixed media clay works that made up Bagu of Girringan were created by Indigenous-Australian artists from Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre, in north Queensland. The word ‘bagu’ means firesticks, and relates to the traditional fire making implements of the Girringun rainforest Aboriginal people. Some of the artists were at the event, and explained to Art Pharmacy Consulting how the motifs on the clay represented patterns, stories and human figures. Grouped in two huddles, this was one of the first large-scale works on display as you moved further into the fair.
Robert Jahnke ‘Kaokao’
PAULNACHE (New Zealand)
The glowing neons that made up Kakao by Maori sculptor and artist Robert Jahnke had a distinctively strong presence, with “tukutuku chevron pattern” that “signify fortitude and virility” in Maori tribal houses. The red and blue glow were striking from across the Carriageworks bay it exists in, and immediately drew the eye. According to Sydney Contemporary the pattern (also known as tribal house lattice work) was previously shown by Jahnke at “headland Sculpture on the Gulf on Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf by an engagement with site (the Whetumatarau land block on the Island) and tangata whenua (Ngati Paoa)”. Incredible!
Abdul Abdullah ‘call me by your name’
Yavuz Gallery (Singapore)
This young Australian artist has once again chosen to tackle the complex realm of human emotion, experience and expectations with his compelling installation, call me by my name. Several ginormous embroideries, larger than life facial portraits, hang in a circle. Like he has previously explored in other works, there is a great contrast between reality and perceptions of reality. Here, this contrast emerges in the perception of the faces. The young people look out, their individual faces and personalities skilfully rendered in embroidery, but on top of that is superimposed a simple, cloying white smiley-face that covers up the complexities of human emotion. According to Sydney Contemporary, this serves to underline not only the way “younger generations ... not living up to the former generation’s expectations” but also the simplifying nature of emojis, now so commonly used. A very powerful installation.
Penelope Davis ‘Sea Change’
This sculptural installation by Penelope Davis, a post-photographic artist (something she enacts by creating photographs without a camera through her unique practice that emphasises the way light is refracted. With Sea Change, Davis does this by creating a series of silicon moulds cast from materials that litters our oceans: “discarded industrial devices, electrical equipment, mass produced plastic items, organic vegetation...”, lighting up a select few. The result? A ghostly suspended sea of “mutant jellyfish”, which glow with beauty, but also, are a disturbing reminder of environmental damage.
Kai Wasikowski, ‘Realtree #1, #2, #3, #4’
Future Co7 / Isabel Rouch Projects (Australia)
This young artist (named as one of Australian Financial Review’s ‘2018 Sydney Contemporary Art Fair: five artists to watch’, alongside Abdullah and three others) created a series of intriguingly experimental pieces for SC, named ‘Moments of Love & Apathy: Part 2’. They were housed in a booth curated by solo curator, and artist, Isobel Rouch, alongside works by Monica Escutia. According to the artist, he created Realtree #1, #2, #3, #4 by used red laser beams on a photomontage of the New Zealand Alps, which he went to and photographed himself. Kai said to our team that he got the idea after buying a pair of camouflage crocs, and being sent targeted advertising for other camouflage advertising, which in turn led him down an internet rabbit hole of how camouflage is created to go onto other objects (see this Business Insider article for the crazy process!). Just goes to show, ideas can come from anywhere …