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Sydney Contemporary Has Unveiled Its 2023 Performance Contemporary and Art Night Lineups

When more than 95 galleries hit Carriageworks this September, they'll do so with a stacked roster of live performances and music.
By Sarah Ward
June 07, 2023
By Sarah Ward
June 07, 2023

There's no such thing as an ordinary art fair. No matter which galleries descend on any particular space, where that is or when it takes place, the creative pieces on display are never the same — and, so, neither is the event as a result. That's true at Sydney Contemporary, of course, but this Harbour City excuse to appreciate art also comes stacked with live performances and music. And, thanks to the just-announced lineup, 2023's iteration promises quite the memorable time.

Returning to Carriageworks from Thursday, September 7–Sunday, September 10 for its seventh event, this year's Sydney Contemporary will feature more than 95 galleries filling the multi-arts centre. If it's an emerging or established venue for art in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore, odds are that it'll make a showing. The focus right now, however, is on the performances that'll go along with all of those galleries showcasing all that art, which is where the Performance Contemporary and Art Night bills comes in.

Performance Contemporary will focus on four artists: Amala Groom, Riana Head-Toussaint, Morgan Hogg and Fetu Taku. Groom, Head-Toussaint and Taku's contributions will take place on Art Night, Sydney Contemporary's big Thursday evening party, with DJ pair Stereogamous — aka Paul Mac and Jonny Seymour — also on hand to soundtrack the evening.

From Wiradyuri creative Groom, audiences will experience RED TAPE, which features the artist singing in language while she wraps herself in 44 metres of red tape — to represent 44 years of negotiating bureaucracy — and literally jumping through hoops.

As for Head-Toussaint, her video work Animate Loading will be projected, as paired with a live performance that includes surveillance-style cinematography, drone work and bodycams, as part of her ongoing interrogation of her experience as a wheelchair user, her legal training and her Afro-Caribbean heritage.

Then, Taku will draw upon hip hop and vogue training, and deploy sound design just for the space and piece, in a newly commissioned work about community and spaces that provide equality for diverse bodies.

"This year's Performance Contemporary explores the relationship between the body and place. Through play, projection, song and dance, these artists use the incredible architecture of Carriageworks as a starting point to guide both the audience and the performer through time and space," said Performance Contemporary co-curators Samantha Watson-Wood and Katie Winten, announcing the lineup.

On the Friday night, with the Sydney-based DJ Sveta on the decks with a special music showcase, emerging Cook Island and Australian artist Morgan Hogg will unveil an installation and performance work. Through costumed dance, and with help from oral exchanges between her mother and family, she'll ponder cultural displacement and identity, as specifically influenced by her Kūki Airani heritage.

Whichever parts of the Performance Contemporary and Art Night lineups you're now keen see, expect to have company. More than 112,000 visitors have attended Sydney Contemporary in past years, and more than AU$85 million in art sales have been notched up.

Sydney Contemporary 2023 runs from Thursday, September 7–Sunday, September 10 at Carriageworks. For further information and to buy tickets, head to the art fair's website.

Top image: Zan Wimberley.

Published on June 07, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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