Advertisements

Tag Archives: Royal Exhibition Building

Melbourne Art Fair 2014

The full-scale Dalek and the woman dressed as My Lady in Red would be more familiar sights at a comic book or sci-fi convention but they were at the Melbourne Art Fair (MAF). Not only was there a small booth from Thrill, the cosplay magazine but also at the MAF Edge there was tattooist Mat Rogers of Dead Cherub, French antiques, car drawings, free-form knitting, other displays that you would not expect at an art fair.

Thrill magazine's cosplay stall at Melbourne Art Fair

Thrill magazine’s cosplay stall at Melbourne Art Fair

The MAF is still at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton and there are still booths from 70 art galleries from Australia, Asia, Europe and the USA with more than 300 artists filling the building. However, there more than that both at the Exhibition Building and 53 other locations across Melbourne. There are performance artists, project rooms, a video space, a creative space for the younger visitors, a platform for young galleries and art run initiatives at the Exhibition Building. Outside of the Exhibition Building there is a free public performances, pop-up exhibition, art talks and walks. It is more like a visual arts festival than simply another art fair.

Melbourne Art Fair 2014 at the Exhibition Building

Melbourne Art Fair 2014 at the Exhibition Building

There are lot of art fairs around the world now and there has been a lot of criticism of art fairs as the new monster predators in the art world. Lucinda Schmidt reports in The Age about the competition between art fair and commercial galleries. The commercial galleries pay thousands of dollars for a stall at the art fair, just like artists paying to hang in rental space galleries. However, art fairs are not static systems and it is clear that MAF has responded and changed.

Some of the galleries at the MAF have moved away from stock shows at their booths to curated exhibitions. On Wednesday morning Wynne and Archibald Prize winning Melbourne artist, Sam Leach was still installing his exhibition of large scale paintings and geometric sculptures at the Sullivan + Strumpf booth. Leach’s new work connects the past to present, his detailed fine painting of landscapes and animals now combine elements of hard edge abstraction that are reflected in his small sculptures. Along with Ashley Crawford and Tony Lloyd, Leach is also curating the Not Fair in Collingwood.

Anna Schwartz presents Mikala Dwyer, The weight of shape, 2014

Anna Schwartz presents Mikala Dwyer, The weight of shape, 2014

Mikala Dwyer’s The weight of shape, a large mobile commissioned by the Melbourne Art Foundation, hangs, turning and transforming slowly in the Exhibition Building. The unlikely mix of acrylic, fibreglass, copper, clay, bronze and stainless shapes some how balance each other. After the MAF is over The weight of shape will be given to the National Gallery of Australia.

“Art fairs may not be the best way to see art but they are the best way to see hell of lot of art” Barry Keldoulis told the media preview on Wednesday morning. It is a big change since I was last at a Melbourne Art Fair in 2002, after that I thought that it was better, cheaper and less crowded to visit the galleries individually. I can now report that the Melbourne Art Fair has changed a lot in those twelve years.

Advertisements

Supergraph

Is it an art fair? Is it an exhibition? No, it’s Supergraph!

DSC09247

The inaugural Supergraph describes itself as a “fiesta”. It exists somewhere between an art fair, a design exhibition and a party. There is more things to do than at an art fair or exhibition. There is a large area just for drawing if you feel motivated and inspired. There is space to relax, the exhibition equivalent of white space on a page, and there is always music in the air.

The location of Supergraph at the Royal Exhibition Building makes clear the relationship between it and the art fair as the Royal Exhibition Building is the location of the biannual Melbourne Art Fair After working at art fairs Supergraph’s Director, Meika Tai wanted to make it accessible for both the exhibitors and the visitors.

Dressing in the colour of the exhibition is the fashion. For the opening Meika was wearing a beautiful laser cutwork white silk suit with fluorescent yellow bra underneath. There is a lot of yellow in Supergraph: yellow is the colour of Melbourne, the colour of Melbourne Now, the colour of Ron Robertson-Swann’s Vault.

Megan Hass, center piece at Supergraph, coloured packing foam

Megan Hales, Prototype, center piece at Supergraph, bi0-fi degradable cornstarch packing material and synthetic polymer paint.

Supergraph has been well designed. There is the great cardboard furniture and temporary fences by All Of This. Curating the 36 stalls to have a range of materials and techniques from screen printing, letter press printing, t-shirts, graphic novels, posters, ceramics, piñatas to finger nails. The stalls are meant to be pop-up studios with activities rather than just selling.

Most of the exhibitors are local, there are some familiar exhibitors: Lamington Drive, Positive Posters and Signed and Numbered. There is an Etsy stall. But Supergraph is not just stalls there are very large salon exhibitions with some international exhibitors from the UK, Thailand, Iran and Japan.

On the other hand Supergraph is the Ikea equivalent of an art fair. It is all well-designed, affordable and internationally tasteful and like Ikea there are pencils and note paper hanging with the exhibition so you can take note of the number of the work that you want to buy. Ikea really does have a stall at Supergraph so that you can buy a frame for your new print. However, it is not as horrible, commercial, pointless and tasteless as the Affordable Art Fair.

Supergraph is the logical next step in Melbourne’s current love of graphic arts and illustration.


%d bloggers like this: