Sydney Contemporary 2022 launches at Carriageworks

Ramesh-Mario-Nithiyendran-Double-Sided-Multi-Limbed-Guardian-2022-photo-by-James-HoranSydney Contemporary, Australasia’s premier art fair, in partnership with MA Financial Group, opens to the public tomorrow with an expansive program of art, performance, talks, food and drink, featuring the work of more than 450 artists and over 90 galleries.

Presented at multi-arts precinct Carriageworks from 8 – 11 September, this marks the first physical edition of the Fair since 2019 and its strongest to date. Sydney Contemporary is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.

“As most good art really needs to be seen ‘in the flesh’ to be fully appreciated, we are extremely excited for the art loving community to be able to gather together again,” said Fair Director Barry Keldoulis.

“The extensive Program has something for everyone, with art, performance, music, and talks. It is the icing on the cake. The cake is, of course, the presentations by our galleries, exhibiting new work by cutting-edge and established artists from around the globe.”

Since its establishment in 2013, the past editions of Sydney Contemporary have attracted more than 112,000 visitors and recorded more than AU$85million in art sales, with 2022 set to build further on those figures.

“Sydney Contemporary has been firmly established as the most influential fair in the region, and the sixth edition of Sydney Contemporary promises to be our strongest Fair yet. The Fair provides the largest concentration of art sales annually in Australia and we expect 2022 to be no exception,” said Sydney Contemporary Founder Tim Etchells.

“The NSW Government is proud to support Sydney Contemporary, which positions Sydney as an international hub for the Arts,” said Minister for the Arts and Tourism Ben Franklin.

“Important events like Sydney Contemporary are a major visitor drawcard for NSW and play a significant role in our ambition to make Sydney and NSW the cultural events capital and premier visitor economy of the Asia Pacific.”

The Fair program for Sydney Contemporary 2022 caters for serious collectors and the art loving public alike, presenting engaging activities alongside the extensive artworks on show, with curated AMPLIFY, Performance Contemporary, Kid Contemporary and Talk Contemporary programs that all run concurrently throughout the Fair. Selected highlights include:

  • Justene Williams will present a new work titled She predicted the weather (2022) featuring three performative boat sculptures with colourfully painted sails that will be rocked and swung by singing performers in sculptural weather costumes. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. This project has been supported by the Griffith University’s Creative Arts Research Initiative grant.
  • THIS IS NO FANTASY will present a solo exhibition of new paintings by 2020 Archibald Prize winner and Western Aranda artist Vincent Namatjira, reflecting on his Aboriginal heritage and the ongoing impact of Australia’s colonial history.
  • Utopia Art Sydney will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Papunya Tula Artists, one of Australia’s most successful Indigenous Art Community based in Alice Springs, with works by Yukultji Napangati, George Tjungurrayi, Mantua Nangala and Joseph Jurra Tjapaltjarri. Talk Contemporary will feature a talk celebrating the 50th anniversary on the Saturday of the Fair.
  • MARS will curate new work by artists Atong Atem, Jenna Lee and Scotty So. A significant theme that is interwoven throughout each artist’s practice is the exploration of identity, cultural othering, and notions of belonging.
  • Sam Leach presents Automatic Evolution of the Art Audience, as part of AMPLIFY, an evolving portrait generated by Artificial Intelligence, based on images of participating visitors. Viewers will be captured by facial recognition technology and added to an algorithm using a machine learning algorithm generating an endlessly evolving portrait which will be displayed on a screen. Using an algorithm model based off the artist’s previous paintings, an infinite series of portraits will be generated. This work is presented by Sullivan+Strumpf.
  • Peta Clancy’s photographic series Undercurrent will be projected on the exterior façade of Carriageworks on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Evenings of the Fair as part of AMPLIFY. To create her highly acclaimed Undercurrent series (2018-19), Clancy collaborated with the Dja Dja Wurrung community during a 12-month residency at the Koorie Heritage Trust. These soft, blushing landscapes are half out of focus and have alluringly dissonant colours. Clancy sets her lens on re- directed waterways in Dja Dja Wurrung country that submerge the sites of Indigenous massacres, capturing a seemingly serene landscape that masks the dark past of colonial frontier wars. Presented by Dominik Mersch Gallery, Sydney.
  • 1301 SW | STARKWHITE will present a group of significant works by internationally acclaimed artists working with both galleries. This will include new light boxes by Jonny Niesche, the presentation of two artists who are arguably Australia and New Zealand’s most acclaimed photographers, Bill Henson and Fiona Pardington, and the first Australian presentation of esteemed artist Billy Apple since his passing in 2021.
  • The National Art School will present the work of eight, recently graduated, emerging artists who are working across painting, drawing, photomedia, ceramics and sculpture. Artists include Arash Chehelnabi, Susie Choi, Brydie Greedy, Charlie Komsic, Dylan Newling, TC Overson, Onrie Radovic and Greg Stanford.
  • STATION will present a curated booth with new works by two of the Gallery’s female artists, Consuelo Cavaniglia and Julia Trybala. Cavaniglia’s sculptural forms and Trybala’s paintings will be presented alongside each other to create a dialogue between two different yet very relevant and critically engaged contemporary practices, focused on colour, tone and perception.
  • Michael Reid Sydney + Berlin will present a solo booth of new and unseen works by Tamara Dean which have been produced utilising a custom-built underwater photography studio. Alongside this, the Gallery will present a custom-built annexed exhibition space with a rotating series of mini exhibitions by artists including Marc Etherington, Regina Wilson, Serena Bonson and Derek Henderson.
  • Mikala Dwyer presents Backdrop for Rounders and Backdrop for Base Matter (2016) – conjuring the origins of abstract art in the early 20th century, particularly the work of the Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) whose spiritualist beliefs and participation in seances led to some of the first purely abstract paintings. Dwyer calls on the diagrammatic nature of Klint’s work in devising her own paintings, referring to a genealogy of innovative women artists who have worked outside rationalist social and cultural norms. Impressive in scale and presence these works gesture to the transformative power of art. Presented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney.
  • Unsolved Art Thefts: A Journey Through the Mystery and Complexities of Art Crime is presented as part of Talk Contemporary. Masterpieces cut from their frames, never to be seen again. The museum walls remain adorned with the desolate empty frames. A collection of works mysteriously stolen from a Sydney gallery. The whole lot spirited away and never recovered. A Dutch masterpiece goes missing from a major public gallery. Detectives have little to no clues at their disposal. Another unsolved art theft. Were these insider jobs? Crimes of opportunity? Was it organised crime gangs or something else? Welcome to the shadowy world of Art Crime, where truth is stranger than fiction. Presented by PhD candidate and academic Vicki Oliveri and moderated by Akky van Ogtrop, President, Print Council of Australia and Curator of PAPER.

Sydney Contemporary takes place at Carriageworks: 8 – 11 September 2022. For more information, full program and to purchase tickets, visit: for details.

Image: Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Double-Sided, Multi-Limbed Guardian, 2022, Bronze, 196 x 230 x 100cm. Courtesy of the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf – photo by James Horan