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Art packs 'em in as Sydney Contemporary exceeds expectations

Features - Visual Art

Art packs 'em in as Sydney Contemporary exceeds expectations

by Clive Paget on September 24, 2013 (September 24, 2013) filed under Visual Art | Comment Now
Inaugural three-day art fair at Carriageworks is a hit, attracting more than 28,000 visitors.

The inaugural Sydney Contemporary art fair attracted 28,810 visitors over the course of the inaugural three-day event presented at Carriageworks from September 20-22. A lively crowd chatted, drank and browsed their way around the city's first major international art fair which featured 83 Australian and international galleries from 12 countries and four continents. Shown to maximum effect in the light-filled industrial vaults of the former railway carriage sheds, the fair presented the work of more than 300 artists and thousands of individual art works spanning painting, photography, sculpture, installation, new media and installation.
 
Sydney Contemporary founder Tim Etchells commented: “We are absolutely delighted with the response to the inaugural Sydney Contemporary, with visitor numbers coming in at more than double our initial expectations. “Feedback from both visitors and gallerists alike has been overwhelmingly positive. We are confident that we have succeeded in our aim of stimulating the existing market for art in Sydney, by creating an exciting international art fair that has attracted both local residents and serious collectors from interstate and overseas – resulting in strong sales across the board.”
 
Tim Olsen of Sydney-based Olsen Irwin Gallery saw evidence of new clientele at the fair: “Sales have been extremely strong, defying the climate on the street," he said, clearly delighted. "After the first day of the fair we had at least 30 new faces in our stand that we’d never met before. Our experience has exceeded expectations – we’ve found it to be a vibrant event that was also a commercial success.”
 
UK gallery Paragon Press confirmed sales of works by renowned international artists Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor, Grayson Perry and Jake & Dinos Chapman – all secured during the three-day fair. Vincent de Sarthe of de Sarthe Gallery, based out of Hong Kong, Beijing and the USA, commented on his involvement in Sydney Contemporary: “I love the passion. It is my first time in Sydney and I am excited about the interaction. People are really interested in the work and there is a great energy." 
 
South African gallery Everard Reid also had positive impressions about the inaugural Sydney Contemporary: “This is a world class fair, as good as any I have been to in the world,” said Nick Dreyer. John McCormack of New Zealand gallery Starkwhite said: “Sydney Contemporary is destined to be one of the great fairs of the asia pacific and it’s likely that this will happen within the next two fairs.”
 
Feedback from Australian galleries has also been enthusiastic, with Sydney gallery owner Roslyn Oxley, of Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, commenting: “It is unbelievable to get this many people to an art event. It is extraordinary, just extraordinary, and people want to buy!” Melbourne-based Anna Schwartz of Anna Schwartz Gallery, added: “It is wonderful to see Carriageworks animated by all these enthusiastic people. The galleries are thrilled to be here and I am delighted to be surrounded by so much art and interest."
 
Art Fairs Australia intends to run Sydney Contemporary on a biennial basis moving forward. The fair will be presented in alternate years to the Melbourne Art Fair, which they also manage. The success of the inaugural Sydney Contemporary follows the launch by Etchells’ of another new art fair, Art13 London in February this year, which attracted 24,735 visitors over the course of the three-day event.