Sydney Contemporary, like any art fair, is a massive marketplace full to bursting with artworks that collectors can take home, if the price is right. With more than 75 galleries from Australia, New Zealand and further afield touting their wares; a vast site-specific installation of what appears to be genetically modified flowers by Patricia Piccinini; and curated programs of talks, videos, installations and performances; the atmosphere will be buzzing.
But, nestled within the frenetic information overload of Sydney Contemporary 2018, some of the performances will offer a few ephemeral moments of quiet connection.
“It’s about giving people an experience of art that maybe they weren’t necessarily coming for; creating a of moment of surprise where the environment subverts their expectations,” explains Tulleah Pearce, the program manager at Performance Space who co-curated the performance selection alongside artistic director and CEO Jeff Khan. “Several of the performances are participatory. So people can have these very intimate one-on-one encounters with an artist which operate slightly against the grain of the broader fair, which is spectacular. We were interested in moments that slow people down and allow them a small memorable encounter within a much bigger chaotic environment.”
Which is not to say that Khan and Pearce’s performance program won’t also offer a bit of spectacle. Works by Nat Randall, Julie-Anne Long, and River Lin will operate in a quiet register. But Lauren Brincat’s specially commissioned work promises to be loud, and for her new commission Emily Parsons-Lord plans to blow things up in a dramatic pyrotechnic display. As Pearce puts it, at Sydney Contemporary 2018 “there will be a lot to see, a lot to do, and a lot to take in.
13 September – 16 September