The Design Files: Auckland Art Fair’s Triumphant Return
The Auckland Art Fair saw big local and international artists like Patricia Piccinini (Aus), Jess Johnson (NZ) and Taro Shinoda (Tokyo) from established galleries sit alongside young entrepreneurial up-and-comers, all in standard-issue booths, and the combination made for a diverse and impressive spread. With more than 45 galleries and 180 artists from nine countries, the Auckland Art Fair, which will now operate annually going forward, seeks to position itself as the definitive showcase of contemporary art for art-lovers and collectors in the Pacific Rim.
At a swanky event for collectors, artists, gallerists (and somehow me) the night before the opening, Hayley White and Stephanie Post, the Fair’s directors, were ticking off each guest’s name themselves at the door. ‘That’s so Auckland’, I heard someone behind me fondly remark. Everyone seems to be rooting for one another in New Zealand, and I think it’s this accessibility combined with profound artistic talent that uniquely positions the AAF as a cultural force to be reckoned with in the Asia-Pacific.
This new gallery was established only two years ago in Hawke’s Bay (on the east coast of the North Island) by young gallerist Sophie Wallace. ‘I keep saying “we”, but it’s kind of just me!’ Sophie laughs when we’re chatting about her gallery, Parlour Projects. Presenting three emerging artists at the AAF (Ben Pearce, Ed Bats and Grace Wright), Sophie’s contemporary eye injects a real sense of youthfulness amongst some of the more established galleries and artists.
Oh – and the fact that she’d painted the walls of her white booth our favourite dusty pink didn’t influence me at all.
Artist to see: Ed Bats.
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