Sydney Contemporary


Conversation With Gallerist Matthew Clarke, Paulnache (Gisborne)

PAULNACHE first exhibited at Sydney Contemporary in 2015 with Glen HaywardPeter AdsettMatthew Cooper and Sanjay Theodore and has been back for every subsequent edition with a new body of work that challenges our perception. On the back of a successful solo exhibition last year with Robert Jahnke, this September PAULNACHE will present a solo exhibition of New Zealand born photographer, painter and print-maker Oliver King.

Tell us about your first exhibition at Sydney Contemporary
Sydney Contemporary 2015 was my debut. I wanted to understand how an international art fair platform could fit my proposed model of Gallery, so I curated work by artists with international experience; Peter Adsett (Melbourne), Matthew Couper (Las Vegas), Glen Hayward (New Zealand)  & Sanjay Theodore (Mumbai), whose combined outputs straddled painting and architecture, performance and sculpture. It became my first authentic lesson in how to operate in a transnational marketplace. I learnt quickly under Fair Director Barry Keldoulis, how to make use of every opportunity the art fair offers, beginning with the curatorial emphasis used to create proposals, through to the site-specific presentations/installations, project programs, panel discussions and VIP events. It was the environment Sydney Contemporary had created that allowed me to evolve my practice and Gallery and shift my vision internationally.

What impact did Sydney Contemporary have on your gallery?
As a geographically isolated, provincially-based gallery, PAULNACHE needed to develop and maintain a global profile. In the arena of the art fair, a gallery is solely judged by the caliber of its artist representation and its professional conduct, rather than by location. Participation at Sydney Contemporary has enabled PAULNACHE to develop its reputation far beyond its regional reach, which in turn grows the international profile of the gallery’s artists while creating a new context for their work. My repeated presence has assured collectors, critics, and curators of my commitment to building trans-Tasman business, and allows our relationships to grow both with confidence and investment.

What has been the most exciting developments for PAULNACHE since that initial exhibition?
Sydney Contemporary was the catalyst to a new global vision for PAULNACHE. The Art Fair model is a self-perpetuating cycle which has ultimately resulted in more international exhibition opportunities for my Gallery and its artists by expanding our reputation and profile across the Asia-Pacific Region. The centrality of Sydney Contemporary to my transnational strategy is emphasised through my longstanding relationship with Fair Director Barry Keldoulis, the Carriageworks Organisation and Single Market Events. Sydney Contemporary has introduced PAULNACHE to exciting new clients which has helped to propel their work into provenance at the highest level, with the placement of major work by Prof. Robert ‘Bob’ Jahnke into significant Australasian public collections; Glen Hayward being invited to show in prestigious events in Canberra and New York; Evan Woodruffe continuing to collaborate with global brands throughout Asia-Pacific (initiated at Sydney Contemporary); and Virginia Leonard securing representation in USA, Europe and now Australia. Yet another highlight is showcasing artists with geographical or family connections (whakapapa) to the Gisborne Tairawhiti region, effectively taking them from the edge and re-positioning them at the centre of the contemporary art world.

What makes Sydney Contemporary unique?
It’s a beast of an art fair and there’s nothing quite like it in the South Pacific, yet its energy and momentum comes from its foundation; its people! Tim Etchells and Barry Keldoulis lead a professional team of exceptionally dedicated individuals, alongside the dynamic Carriageworks collective, who truly spoil us for anything else.

What’s your one hot tip for visiting Sydney Contemporary?
Sydney Contemporary is an immersive extravaganza, so its quite okay to feel somewhat overwhelmed; my advice is to just enjoy everything!

Robert Jahnke, KAOKAO outside Sydney Contemporary 2018, Carriageworks.
PAULNACHE solo presentation of Robert Jahnke, Sydney Contemorary 2018.
Robert Jahnke, KAOKAO, 2017-2018, Powder coated mild steel, powder coated aluminium, mirror pane glass, neon, 240 x 400 x 60 cm. Courtesy of the artist and PAULNACHE, Gisborne.
Virginia Leonard, Tippy Toes (Contemporary ceramics), 2017, Clay, glaze, resin, nails on steel plinths, Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and PAULNACHE, Gisborne.
Oliver King, I look at myself in the mirror everyday, sometimes for hours, 2018, Digital print on acrylic, 25 x 30cm. Courtesy of the artist and PAULNACHE, Gisborne.

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