Creative Studio Babekuhl Has Opened a New Darlinghurst Gallery in a Former Fetish Shop

Open now, its first exhibition features a wondrous Chinese algae bloom.
Ben Hansen
Published on November 20, 2020

A new art gallery has launched in Darlinghurst with the goal of fostering a space for emerging artists in Sydney. Creative studio Babekühl has opened the site on Oxford Street, taking over the former building that fetish store Sax Fetish called home.

Babekühl (pronounced babe-cool) has previously been at the helm of a range of multi-disciplinary art projects, including creating music videos for Justin Bieber and Free Nationals, art installations in The Clock Hotel and animating electronic duo Bag Raiders' national tour. The creative collective is now sharing the love, opening a space for young, talented artists to exhibit their work in the heart of Sydney.

"I grew up at a time where Darlinghurst, and especially Oxford Street, was the cultural centre of Sydney, but we've been watching it lose some of its energy in recent year," said Bebkühl co-founder Billy Ryan. "We're not interested in gentrifying the area; we're here from a cultural stewardship point of view."

The gallery is hidden below a street-level retail space run in collaboration with Sydney record label Motorik. The store features designer vintage clothes, accessories, art, and a collection of local and niche electronic vinyl records. Motorik and Babekühl worked on the shop, gallery and event space throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, transforming it from the basement of the fetish shop.

Image: Billy Ryan

Since opening on Saturday, November 14, the gallery has been exhibiting Ryan's series Bloomscapes. The series, shot in Shanghai in 2019, captures an expansive cityscape through infrared photography that turns natural trees and shrubs into a wondrous mass of pink reminiscent of an alien algae bloom. A short film and an ambient soundtrack accompany the photography in the humble exhibition space.

Bloomscapes will run until Wednesday, November 25, when it will make way for Gnurra Gooah Yewi (South East Wind), a collaborative exhibition between Dale Collier, Tim Buchanan and Wanjun Carpenter.

The gallery is also currently running a callout for artists and professionals that want to use the space. If you're looking for a space to exhibit your art or want to check out what Babekühl has done, you can head to the collective's website.

Bebekühl Gallery operates out of 110a Oxford St, Darlinghurst. It is open Tuesday–Friday, 12pm–6pm and Saturday–Sunday 10am–6pm.

Images: Billy Ryan

Published on November 20, 2020 by Ben Hansen
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