Although Destination Sydney re-imagined, which is staged across three Sydney venues, is not a show exclusively about the past – four of the nine artists are very much alive and still going strong – curator Lou Klepac does see the exhibition as something of an antidote for the short memories endemic to contemporary culture. “Today’s newspaper is all people care about, they have forgotten yesterday, and the day before and so on,” Klepac explains.
Destination Sydney re-imagined, the second iteration of a concept which debuted in 2015, is a showcase for significant Sydney-based artists with decades of practice behind them: Ken Done, Adrian Feint (1894- 1971) and Ethel Carrick-Fox (1872-1952) at Manly Art Gallery and Museum; Michael Johnson, Robert Klippel (1920-2001) and Roy de Maistre (1894-1968) at Mosman Art Gallery; and Nicholas Harding, Wendy Sharpe and Jeffrey Smart (1921-2013) at S.H. Ervin Gallery.
Visitors will see more than 100 paintings, drawings and sculptures in Destination Sydney re-imagined. But by dividing the show into three, Klepac hopes that people will slow down and really take time to appreciate the work. “Pictures don’t belong to an art gallery,” he says, “but to the person who has been looking at them the longest.”
And after the success of the first show he hopes that this second one won’t be the last. “Every three years we can do an exhibition where people can see one hundred works by artists, some of whom, like Adrien Feint, may have been forgotten,” Klepac explains. “It’s about the contribution that artists in Sydney have made to our culture. I think it is important to have long memories.”
This article was originally published in the January/February 2019 print edition of Art Guide Australia.