Physically, temporally, and psychically bound, our sense of place is mercurial by nature. It shifts, expands, and contracts, becoming a synthesis of all that has preceded and all that is yet to arrive. Between ‘place’ and ‘djeembana’ is a lacuna in language. Direct translation fails. Djeembana, a word of the Boon Wurrung, is a place for community; a meeting point for the exchange of stories, rituals and knowledge.
When we speak of place, we look to invoke that which djeembana signifies. Serving as the Fair’s thematic for 2022, ‘djeembana’ and ‘place’ will, together, through a contemporary art lens, address our sense of place in an increasingly unsustainable, globalised world. Melbourne Art Fair will command its programming to function as a locus for intersecting perceptions relevant to the current moment with careful examination of issues pertinent to both the local and global.
Recent tumult – social, ecological, and political – has caused an irrevocable shift in our sense of place, challenging established assumptions of known places and our role within them. The need for new frameworks to comprehend underlying histories as well as the complexities of the present is urgent.
Advocating for contemporary art as a force for social change, Melbourne Art Fair believes in the power of ideas to surface salient issues of our time. Privileging underrepresented voices, Melbourne Art Fair will serve as a meeting point for community – artists, curators, collectors and patrons alike – to redefine and deepen relationships to place as individuals and as collectives.
Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, 'Double-faced avatar with blue figure', 2021, bronze, fibreglass, concrete, neon, acrylic. Collection, HOTA Gallery. Commissioned by Melbourne Art Foundation and HOTA for the Gallery opening 2021.
Established in 2006, the Melbourne Art Foundation Commission program provides a living artist with a rare opportunity to realise a large-scale work for unveiling at Melbourne Art Fair, which is later gifted to a prominent Australian institution. In 2022 Melbourne Art Foundation will partner with Australia’s national museum of screen culture, ACMI, to commission a major new video work by an Australian First Nations artist.
Previous partners in the program have include HOTA Gallery, Bendigo Art Gallery, NGV, QAGOMA, the University of Queensland Art Museum, MCA, Art Gallery of South Australia, National Gallery of Australia; and artists Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Ronnie van Hout, Michael Parekowhai, David Griggs, Peter Hennessey, Jon Campbell, Ian Burns, and Mikala Dwyer.
Ronnie van Hout, 'Surrender', 2018 (Commission by Bendigo Art Gallery in partnership with the Melbourne Art Foundation and supported by Artwork Transport) Installation view, Melbourne Art Fair 2018
Making its debut at Melbourne Art Fair in 2022, Beyond harnesses the monumental exhibition spaces within the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre to present works of scale and significance. Carefully curated spatial interventions, performance, and sculptural works will fill the epic spaces contributing to greater conversations and presenting opportunities for artists far beyond the art fair stand.
Melbourne Art Foundation supports the inaugural sector by providing a monetary grant to participating Beyond galleries.
Sriwhana Spong, 'This Creature', 2016 Single-channel HD video with audio 14 minutes, 55 seconds. Artist represented by Michael Lett, Auckland. Melbourne Art Fair 2018.
Making its debut at Melbourne Art Fair in 2022, Video is dedicated to the presentation of video and moving image art from new and iconic international artists.
Melbourne Art Fair 2018 Project Room: Gertrude Contemporary (Naarm/Melbourne).
Providing a platform for experimentation, Project Rooms showcase the work of artists that push the boundaries of art practice through performance and multimedia works from independent and non-collecting contemporary art organisations.
Melbourne Art Fair 2018 Keynote.
Conversations is a platform for dialogue and the sharing of ideas, bringing together cultural communities and thinkers from across the creative spectrum. The aim: to address the future of art and the contemporary world through a series of talks and panels featuring artists, gallerists, curators, collectors, architects, critics, and cultural luminaries.