Melbourne Art Fair Returns

After two years of forced closures, Melbourne Art Fair fires up in Melbourne this month. 

Words: Charli Rose Gerry

From 17 February, the anticipated Melbourne Art Fair will re-open its doors to welcome back leading galleries and artists following a two year hiatus. Taking residence at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, the fair is set to host 53 galleries from Australia and across the globe, showcasing works from new and established artists to offer an exciting opportunity to collectors.

Unlike previous years, the fair’s 2022 edition will introduce a fresh assortment of mediums and events to its customary collection. Alongside the remarkable art found in the fair’s traditional GALLERIES sector, the event will also incorporate a number of moving image works in VIDEO, an international platform presented by SUBTYPE; a combination of onsite and offsite performance pieces in LIVE, hosted by Glenfiddich; large-scale installations in BEYOND; experimental PROJECT ROOMS; and panel experiences attached to the CONVERSATION series.

“There’s enormous excitement within the Australian art-world about Melbourne Art Fair’s return,” says CEO and fair director Maree Di Pasquale. “Not only because it’s Australia’s first fair in two years, but also because the fair has never before presented such an extraordinary cross-section of work by the region’s most significant artists, from newly discovered talents to the most collectible in contemporary art.”

VIDEO, the fair’s field of groundbreaking moving image works, invites a diverse range of artists to respond to the notion of place as their project’s thematic premise. An international newcomer gracing the site for the first time is the far-reaching Lisson Gallery of New York, London and Shanghai, presenting Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg. Other local and long-term Melbourne Art Fair galleries exhibiting in this sector include Sullivan+Strumpf (Sydney) presenting work by Grant Stevens, Melbourne’s MARS gallery presenting Jenna Lee’s work and Moore Contemporary (Perth) with a presentation of works by Jacobus Capone.

Visitors can be greeted by a cross-discipline learning experience in the fair’s entrance foyer, as Caroline Rothwell combines art, science and interaction in her piece Infinite Herbarium, presented by Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne.

Continuing along with the fair’s theme of Djeembana/Place, the BEYOND precinct sees artists intervene in the Convention Centre’s vast exhibiting rooms with large-scale installations and sculpture. Melbourne’s Vivien Anderson Gallery presents Yorta Yorta / Wamba Wamba / Mutti Mutti / Boonwurrung woman Maree Clarke, with her 50-metre necklaces made of river reeds, hand picked from the Maribyrong River in Boonwurrug Country. Traditionally given to visitors passing through Country as a symbol of fellowship and safe passage, Clarke re-imagines these cultural treasures on a memorial scale. Another sweeping work will be exhibited by Melbourne’s Daine Singer, who is presenting Matt Arbuckle’s 50-metre floating landscape, Recto-verso. Sally Smart, presented by Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert in Sydney will also showcase her customary assemblage installations, animated with choreographed dance.

Melbourne Art Fair’s new territory, PROJECT ROOMS, sees artists Kay Abude, Jason Phu and Nat Thomas, among others, from Gertrude Contemporary and LAST Collective, perform in an innovative and experimental, multi-media experience. Another section fresh face to the fair’s program is LIVE hosted by Glenfiddich, designed to highlight the vivacity and vibrancy of sound and performance art. Taking place both within the fair and across Melbourne city, LIVE celebrates performances from some of Australia’s most ambitious artists such as The Huxleys of Murray White Room (Melbourne), Nick Modrzewski from Discordia Gallery (Melbourne) and Nadia Hernàndez and Jason Phu presented by STATION (Melbourne/Sydney).

For the first time ever, Melbourne Art Fair is partnering up with Broadsheet to create LATE NIGHTS, a series of events which spotlights the arts across the creative city with special opportunities for galleries to open their doors on the night of the fair. FRIDAY NIGHT, sponsored by Broadsheet, will showcase an onsite program highlight, with cocktails by Glenfiddich and live performances from The Huxleys and Steven Rhall, accompanied by Hope St Radio’s curated music selection. Session tickets for the live performances can be booked for Friday 18 February from 6pm.

Melbourne Art Fair’s gallery list and event session times can be found here.

Tickets on sale now at www.melbourneartfair.com.au/tickets

This article was originally published 25 January 2022, last edited 9 February 2022.

Image: previous iteration of the Melbourne Art Fair. Courtesy: MAF.

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