Sydney Contemporary announces its highly anticipated Opening Night, Performance Contemporary and Kid Contemporary programs and introduces a dynamic new platform ‘NEXT’ for the next generation of emerging Australian and international artists

  • Images left to right: Nell, ROCK GATE, artist drawing. Courtesy the artist, STATION, Melbourne and Performance Space. Tony Albert, Confessions, 2019 installation. Image courtesy the artist, Dark Mofo and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney | Singapore. Photo Credit: Rèmi Chauvin.  Jason Phu in front of his presentation for Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney's Primavera, 2018. Photo Credit: Jacquie Manning. Courtesy of the artist and Vermilion Art, Sydney

    Images left to right: Nell, ROCK GATE, artist drawing. Courtesy the artist, STATION, Melbourne and Performance Space. Tony Albert, Confessions, 2019 installation. Image courtesy the artist, Dark Mofo and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney | Singapore. Photo Credit: Rèmi Chauvin. Jason Phu in front of his presentation for Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney's Primavera, 2018. Photo Credit: Jacquie Manning. Courtesy of the artist and Vermilion Art, Sydney

Sydney, Australia: Sydney Contemporary presented by Deutsche Bank, one of Australasia’s most significant and celebrated art events on the cultural calendar, today announced their highly anticipated Opening Night, Performance Contemporary and Kid Contemporary programs. For 2019, the Fair also announced a dynamic new platform providing art lovers the opportunity to discover and acquire work by the next generation of talent with ‘NEXT’.

Australasia’s international art fair, Sydney Contemporary will show 90+ leading Australian and International galleries exhibiting the work of over 450 artists from 34 countries for its fifth edition at Carriageworks from Thursday 12 until Sunday 15 September 2019 (Opening Night 12 September 5pm-9pm).


Performance Contemporary curated by Jeff Khan (Artistic Director) and Katie Winten (Program Producer) at Performance Space presents diverse performance art throughout the Fair with bold works by artists including Archie Barry, Chun Yin Rainbow Chan, Nell, Leila El Rayes and Harry Pickering as well as Marcus Whale and Athena Thebus.


Tony Albert will deliver his first, Sydney foray into performance with Confessions, which was developed and debuted at Mona’s Dark Mofo. The performance is part of the official Opening Night program for Sydney Contemporary and invites participants into a confessional booth to create a silent, abstract conversation with the artist, purely through mark making. The participant will then get to take away their personalised collaborative artwork.


New for 2019, NEXT showcases cutting edge contemporary art by emerging artists aged under 35, priced at AU$5,000 or under. This dynamic new platform provides art lovers the opportunity to discover and acquire work by the next generation of talent. NEXT will be displayed salon-style in the environment of the Fair café and present emergent trends in contemporary art.


Kid Contemporary returns for 2019 offering kids of all ages an art experience to create, play and perform. Multidisciplinary artist Jason Phu presents his immersive project 'Funny dumb weird haha cardboard box mask workshop' which invites participants to create and decorate masks from cardboard boxes and markers. Phu’s own practice includes masks inspired from Chinese religious festivals and kids can draw inspiration from Jason's examples of forms and shapes from the Shang and Zhou Dynasties.


For her solo exhibition of new installation and performance work, celebrated artist Nell is premiering ROCK GATE. Programmed as a part of Performance Contemporary and Installation Contemporary at the Opening Night, ROCK GATE is an ambitious architectural and sonic structure comprised of new and used Marshall amplifiers assembled into a torii gate and activated by a guitarist. Borrowing from the rituals of Japanese religion and an anarchic punk mentality, the work will be both periodically silent and loud – a convergence of East and West, religion and rock’n’ roll, the individual and the communal, ancient and contemporary, masculine and feminine.


Born in Hong Kong and raised in Sydney, Chun Yin Rainbow Chan works across music, performance and installation with an interest in mistranslations, diaspora and the effects of globalisation on modern Chinese society. A Kingdom of Flowers for My Mother: Part II is a performative work by Chun Yin Rainbow Chan that aims to teach audience members a Weitou lullaby through a veil of 144 smoked latex flowers as a way to continue matrilineal knowledge exchange, based in memory, music and emotional intimacy.


Marcus Whale and Athena Thebus are Sydney based artists whose performances upend the liturgy of Catholicism to take the position of the damned. Lucifer will be performed at Sydney Contemporary’s Opening Night as part of an ongoing series of performances reimagining the fallen angel Lucifer as a queer icon.

Leila El Rayes and Harry Pickering are two artists who find a commonality in the intelligence of vulnerability; to create scenarios that usher in new winds. Soft Core Bondage Fairies chooses to flirt with unspoken social dynamics that play out in public gathering spaces. Through soft-core bondage and breakage, a chorus of connective-plasma-faeries will create new social scenarios by physically tying visitors within the Fair together and giving them small gifts.


Archie Barry’s work destructures language through finding opportunities for words to be reinterpreted as somatic experiences. This position is informed by their lived experiences as a transgender person and a second-generation child of a small spiritual community. For Hypnic, the barriers between dreaming and being, between what is real and what is abstract are gently dissolved through a performance work.


Opening Night at Sydney Contemporary is one of the most anticipated events on the cultural calendar presented on Thursday 12th September from 5-9pm at Carriageworks. The ticketed event is open to the public and offers guests an exciting opportunity to be part of the energetic art world and to experience the full program of performances (with the exception of Archie Barry) including one night only access to Nell and Tony Albert’s performance works alongside the 450 Australian and international artists under one roof.


After the Opening Night, Campari will host the official Afterparty for Sydney Contemporary at Newtown’s Earl’s Juke Joint, one of Sydney’s most loved and hard to find late-night bars. (Performance line up to be announced!)


Installation Contemporary 2019 will now be curated by newly appointed Dr Mikala Tai, a curator, researcher, academic and the Director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Designed to exhibit large-scale artworks in a diverse range of media, including moving-image, or more ambitious and conceptually driven projects that extend beyond the traditional booth presentation, Installation Contemporary presents an opportunity to view innovative, site-specific and interactive installations in the environment of Carriageworks. Full program to be announced in early August 2019.