As always with blockbuster events, I was ready and eager to do a ‘quick’ run around of Melbourne Art Fair before exploring it in more detail. And as always, I under-estimated. During my first look, I was drawn in to almost every stall, taking in all the details and enjoying the diversity and surprises each gallery offers. After exploring not even half of the ground level, it became apparent the enormous quantity of galleries and artists here to see, the quality of which requires a huge amount of attention – and when trying to see so many in one day, becomes quite overwhelming.
The gallery spaces are well displayed – I found most of them accessible and tied together nicely. As every gallery is fighting for attention, it’s the brightest and boldest works that stand out after the initial look. Although this left me feeling like I hadn’t taken anything in properly, there is a buzz surrounding certain works, and these are the ones I will be sure to return to in the following days.
The map works by South Australian artist Laura Wills, in Hill Smith Gallery, are beautiful and personable while still containing an underlying structure of geography and landscape, a collision of vast and close-up representation.
It was also fantastic to come across Sophie Calle’s work as part of the ARNDT stand. Her framed photographs accompanied by passages of text are examples of the French conceptual artists’ autobiographical work which has placed her as one of the most influential artists of our time, and it was exciting to see her along side Australian artists and local galleries.
Overall, it has been an intense day. If you’re visiting the fair, don’t peak too early – come back every day!