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Art show turns up the volume

It is fitting Nell’s Rock Gate is one of the first things to greet visitors to Sydney Contemporary. The Sydney artist has built a torii gate from amplifiers, and the huge sculpture sometimes stands quietly and at other times booms through the fair as guitarists plug in and perform.

The contrast between the contemplative and the unapologetically loud sums up the curious experience of Sydney Contemporary, the annual art fair at Carriageworks that opens today. There are serene moments, like the sunlit autumnal tones of Consuelo Cavaniglia’s Filters II, intimate ones, like Movana Chen performing inside a woven paper costume, and ironic ones, like Michael Lindeman’s Thanks, made up of scrunched-up rejection letters received by the artist.

Consuelo Cavaniglia with her work Filters 11, 2019.

Consuelo Cavaniglia with her work Filters 11, 2019. Credit:Louise Kennerley

Cavaniglia, Chen and Lindeman’s works form part of the public program element of the fair, providing punctuation marks throughout Carriageworks and giving artists the chance to show their practice on a broader scale. However, the flesh and bones of any art fair are in the gallery booths  and there are plenty of highlights this year.

Future Contemporary showcases the wares of younger, emerging galleries and there are many interesting discoveries to be made. As well as the curious fictional artist Henri Papin at Tasmanian gallery Michael Bugelli (see highlights), the presentation at O House Studios interweaves the work of Pia Larsen, Sarah Gillett & Tim Corne to explore our place in the universe (take a picture of Gillett & Horne’s work with your camera flash to be momentarily transported).

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