AF: The fair has two specific sections for video works and installations. Does that reflect a market reality, a particular interest in these kinds of works on behalf of Australian collectors, or is it more of a curatorial effort on your part?
BK: Interestingly, Australians like to think of themselves as behind the rest of the world on everything. But in terms of the penetration of video and new media work into home environments, we probably lead the world. For much of the world, video art is considered the domain of museums. In the ten years that I had my gallery, a third of my sales were of video works. It is a phenomenon based on two things: we have very good artists working in new media and we are very rapid absorbers of new technology. Collectors would come into the gallery and say, “When we have people over for dinner on Friday or Saturday night, we don’t want the television on but we also don’t want a big black rectangle hanging on the wall.” They saw this opportunity as almost like a moving painting. The easiest ones to sell were non-narrative, non-linear, conversation-starting work. I even had banking and financial institutions come in and acquire works for their waiting areas. Australia also has a very healthy, young population that’s engaging in contemporary art and who find new media intriguing. Along with that, our artists are particularly interested in video art. By the time I closed my gallery, I think only one of my artists hadn’t created video or moving image work. So it’s a reflection of both the market and the fact that artists are engaging with the medium in really interesting ways.
The Installation Contemporary section is a way of allowing artists to show work that is too big for a standard booth. It’s not really about appealing to a market for those types of works—though, all the major corporations and institutions do come to the fair. Rather I think it’s a recognition that you can’t fit all good art into a booth. We’re also introducing a new section this year called Performance Contemporary. There was performance art in the first fair, but not as its own curated section. A fantastic performance artist, Emma Price, who is part of a group called the Kingpins, is curating it with her friend Connie Anthes. Performances will be showcased mainly on the opening night and then there will actually be a trail of them leading to the various after parties. Some of the artists will then assume a space for the duration of the fair.