From Rebecca Gallo…
SPRING 1883 was first held last year, in the old-world grandeur of Melbourne’s Hotel Windsor. The Windsor’s ornate carpets, gilded light fittings and opulently kitsch furnishings added to a sense of decadence and playfulness that shaped the fair’s identity. In keeping with traditional characterisations of Sydney and Melbourne, SPRING’s Sydney iteration is at The Establishment Hotel, a site with a far more modern and sleek opulence.
There is an illicit thrill in entering someone else’s hotel room, and an excitement in knowing you won’t just see the usual ‘hotel art’ on the walls. At the Windsor last year, artists and gallerists responded playfully to the context, and art was displayed on (and in) beds, in drawers, even in the bath.
Earlier this year it was announced that galleries involved in SPRING, which is run by a collective of independent art dealers, could not take a stall at Sydney Contemporary, ostensibly to ensure that gallery directors are on hand throughout the fair duration. Aside from setting up an us-and-them mentality, which is not altogether a bad thing – everyone loves a bit of competition – this has resulted in a completely unique line up at SPRING including a significant international contingent. The soft furnishings of the hotel setting should provide a welcome antidote to the white wall fever of Sydney Contemporary.
12-7pm, free entry
The Establishment Hotel, Sydney
Pic: Jae Hoon Lee, Garden, 2010, digitally collaged photograph, 125 x 128 cm. Courtesy the artist and Robert Heald Gallery, Wellington.