Sydney-based artist, Nasim Nasr has been awarded the "People's Choice" Award for her extraordinary photographic work, "Forty Pages 5", included in the Finalists' exhibition for the William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize held at the Monash Gallery of Art.
The work is from Nasim's series, "Forty Pages". As described in the artist's words:
Forty Pages contemplates personal or global history in the context of movement from one culture to another in the contemporary world, and refers to forty pages in a passport.
Each passport stamp, representing either the departure from or entering a country, is integral to one’s history of the difficulties of freedom of movement and disempowerment by country of birth and its life-boundaries. At every national border one is submissive and defenseless to officialdom. This is a potent control upon individual existence and independence, especially in the contemporary world of displacement and separation between East and West.
This gradual accumulation of stamps feels like layers upon my personal history, upon my passport photo, upon my face, its aggregation steadily evolving into an identity I no longer recognize, apart from the eyes—a transformation
Forty Pages presents my body as a site or platform for the compilation of these stamps of the last decade of my life, and therefore part of the history of the transience of my being.
About the artist
Nasim Nasr completed a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design at the Art University of Tehran, Iran in 2006, and a Master of Visual Arts (Research), South Australian School of Art, Architecture and Design, University of South Australia, in 2011.
Since graduating, Nasim has developed a body of work that has been featured in various exhibitions, festivals and publications in Australia and internationally. Her photographic and video practice has sought to comment upon universal concerns in contemporary society, engaging and articulating notions of State and self-censorship and the transience of cultural and personal identity. Being interested in the concept of cultural relationships and their role in contemporary society, her practice has engaged themes of intercultural dialogue. Through the presentation of multiple channel video works, photography, performance, objects and sound these collective works have attempted to highlight the complexities within contemporary notions of interchangeable identities and cultural difference, as experienced between past and present cultures and homelands, West and East.
Currently a Finalist in The Bowness Photography Art Prize, Melbourne Nasim was also a finalist in the prestigious international 2017 Sovereign Asian Art Prize in Hong Kong; earlier this year. Previously, Nasim was a Finalist in the Blake Art Prize, at Casula Powerhouse in Sydney, (2016), and the Redlands Art Prize, National Art School Gallery, Sydney, (2015).
Nasim’s participation in important curated group exhibitions include Under the Sun: Reimagining Max Dupain’s Sunbaker, at the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney (touring to Monash Art Gallery, Melbourne); and Sixth Sense, National Art School Gallery, National Art School, Sydney.
Her work has also been presented at Bazaar Art Jakarta (2017), Art Dubai, (2015 & 2016); and Art Stage Singapore (2013 & 2014)
Her work is represented in many collections including the Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra; Artbank, Sydney; and private collections in Australia, Germany, USA, Singapore, Qatar and the UAE.
Catherine Asquith Art is delighted to present this exceptional artwork, “Forty Pages 5” (image above) by Nasim Nasr for sale. For details regarding the artwork including price please email or phone 0422 753 696.
Established in 2006 to promote excellence in photography, the annual William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize is an initiative of the MGA Foundation. The Bowness Photography Prize has quickly become Australia's most coveted photography prize. It is also one of the country's most open prizes for photography. In the past, finalists have included established and emerging photographers, art and commercial photographers. All film-based and digital work from amateurs and professionals is accepted. There are no thematic restrictions.
The 2017 judging panel: architect, art patron and academic, Corbett Lyon, artist and educator Dr Susan Fereday, and MGA Senior Curator Stephen Zagala.
Believe it or not, art is an asset. And like any asset, such as your car, your home, or your stamp collection, you insure it. Interestingly as soon as one acquires one of these items, one automatically seeks the advice of an advisor or broker to ascertain adequate insurance and annual premiums ensure thereafter. Yet, the same cannot be said for art.
Speaking with my insurance broker on a somewhat frequent basis, I am always surprised to hear how infrequent his clients seek the advice of a professional when estimating the value of their art collection; the consequences of not having an up to date valuation, and therefore a current value, can mean the difference between being reimbursed for loss or damage appropriate to its market value or incurring a loss on that initial investment.
Obtaining a professional appraisal of your artwork operates in much the same way as seeking a value for other assets. Credentials should be assessed; market sector and specialty experience should be examined together with the level of tertiary qualifications and membership with an industry association, such as the Art Consulting Association of Australia (ACAA).
Most importantly, seeking the services of an independent, objective and impartial professional will result in a more accurate valuation, and without the potential bias of an invested interest in the artwork and therefore its value.
There are a number of attributes which an experienced appraiser will utilise in order to determine the value of your artwork:
Additionally, depending upon the nature of the valuation, i.e. the artwork is being considered for a charitable contribution or gift, or the artwork is part of the asset pool in a Family Law property dispute, the valuation may also include consideration of future capital gains tax issues.
Valuing your art necessitates the same respect as valuing your other lifetime assets. Regular, up to date valuations of your artworks are an important adjunct to the ongoing maintenance and accurate documentation of your collection.
Seeking the advice and services of an experienced and knowledgeable professional is a critical step in the provision of an accurate art valuation. Catherine Asquith Art’s valuation services offer new and established collectors a comprehensive appreciation of their collection, its current parameters and indeed, future directions.
Catherine Asquith has been working within the Australian art market, and more recently, the Asian art market, across both the primary and secondary sectors for the past twenty years and is a member of the Art Consulting Association of Australia (ACAA).
According to a study of 2015, undertaken by the Australia Council “Australians value the arts”. More particularly “[A] growing number of Australians believe that the arts make for a richer and more meaningful life; they influence how we express ourselves, our creative thinking and new ideas.”
The salient points highlighted in this report indicate that the arts, which are deeply embedded in the cultural sector, make a substantial contribution to the Australian economy. “Cultural activity” defined in this report as the visual, performing, literary and musical arts, contributes “$50 billion to Australia’s GDP, which is comparable to the GDP share in the United States”, of which $4.2 billion is derivative of the arts. Expenditure on culture by Australian governments was $7 billion in 2013 with a reported $1.3 billion having been expended on the arts. The report also notes, that the main source of income to the arts is consumer spending.
The latter is what I would like to explore today; how, we as individuals ‘support;’ in all its guises, the arts. And we actually do this in a very tangible manner. But before I do this some notes on money and the arts -
To an extent the arts has had an uneasy relationship with commerce, or more specifically, money!
A lot of commentary on the art market describes art in commercial terms: “investment of passion”, “wall power” and “branding”. And with these descriptives our appreciation of an artwork can sometimes be hindered.
By the same token we actually have to acknowledge that this commercialism, is of paramount importance to the livelihood of so many members of this arena; people such as the artists, the material suppliers, the galleries, the curators, the framers, the conservators, and ultimately, our public collections.
I can remember during one of my post-grad tutorials at Melbourne Uni, my fellow students becoming horrified when I disclosed that I worked at a gallery and what I did was sell art. Murmurings of ‘capitalism’ lingered in the air as I made a quiet but obvious retreat from the discussion and indeed, from the course itself soon afterwards.
I simply didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. 20 years later I sort of do. We don’t really like to besmirch the integrity of the arts (well certainly not the purists amongst us) with commercialism; we would rather remain discreet about it and therefore employ a secret code or language, and we utilise less obvious terms such as “acquisition”, “placement” and “de-accession” in lieu of buy and sell.
But here’s the rub - buying or acquiring art is an action by an individual which in truth, has a much more altruistic element, which we are mostly unaware of, and dare I say, holds a more formidable long term benefit, to a wider group. That group is our society. That infrastructure is our culture; our history.
So what I would like to do is to follow a trajectory of sorts from the artist’s studio, to the commercial gallery exhibition, to the curated regional gallery show, to the collection of a state-owned institution. And to hopefully demonstrate how an individual decision can have so much bearing on the ‘wealth;’ of our nation.
Working in the arts I think we sometimes take for granted that the public at large understand how the machinations of the art market operates; I don’t want to dumb this down, and I certainly don’t want to suggest it’s this simple either; there are a multitude of personalities, prejudices, politics and let’s face it, people, who complicate the process. But…in its simplest form:
In order for an artist to produce an artwork, he or she has bought materials for its production, from an arts supplier, a small business. The artist may also have had some of the work framed, another small business. A photographer has been called upon to ‘document’ the series, that photographer is another small business. A specialist arts carrier has been booked to collect and deliver this new body of work to the gallery. Before an artwork is installed at the artist’s representative gallery for exhibition purposes, several invoices have been generated by small businesses.
The gallery’s primary task is to represent artists on a long term basis, providing guidance and career management to their artists. The gallery incurs on-going costs in its support and promotion of represented artists: aside from the usual utilities and services including rental on space, a gallery may well have promoted the exhibition via print media, in the form of glossy art journal advertisements, in addition to perhaps production of a catalogue. On-line media may also have been utilised. An arts writer may also have been commissioned to produce a catalogue essay. The ‘in-tray’ is piling up.
The exhibition is one of the key promotional events for both the artist and the gallery. In preparation both the artist and the gallery have (hopefully!) worked in tandem in terms of promoting the forthcoming exhibition; the gallery will have alerted its client base which will invariably include individuals, institutions, public museums and galleries, as well as regional galleries, and much dialogue will have ensued with curators. Artists will more than likely have gone crazy on various social media platforms!! And told their fellow artists and possibly some of their former tutors and lecturers.
So after a glass of wine and an extremely entertaining conversation with the artist, you decide to buy a work. Let’s call this artist, Frank. The exhibition is availed some terrific press coverage over the remaining few weeks, in addition to an excellent review by a well-known critic. Several more works have sold now, and one work is on reserve for a public institution, the latter having been prompted by the gallery’s initiative in making contact as a result of the exhibition sales rate. (This is a hard-working gallery!). In the meantime you have told some of your friends, and in fact one of them is the wife of a senior managing partner at a law firm. His interest is piqued and he ventures one lunchtime into the gallery. He’s looking for a new piece to add to the firm’s collection. But his attention is diverted by something peeking out from the stockroom; a much larger and indeed, much more expensive work. With the approval of the law firm’s selection committee, the work is acquired. The gallery now has a new client.
Invoices are attended to forthwith; and most pleasing, with the addition of the law firm’s acquisition, some funds have been freed up for the gallery to now consider further promotional activities; perhaps an international art fair.
The arts writer, who also happens to operate as a freelance curator, having been given the opportunity to produce a catalogue essay for this artist, suggests to one of her colleagues a collaboration and one in which Frank’s work would be included; her colleague is employed by an interstate regional gallery. After much discussion and considerable paperwork, a survey show examining contemporary abstract painting has moved beyond its embryonic stage, and is now scheduled for 18 months hence. The gallery is advised of this forthcoming exhibition, and excitedly relays this news to her artist, Frank.
With this new development, the gallerist personally appraises the owners of Frank’s work, in addition to including this development in the gallery’s monthly newsletter. Happily this newsletter elicits some interest in Frank’s work, and a gallery client, who had been overseas at an art fair during Frank’s exhibition, requests some more information. There are only 2 works left in the gallery’s stockroom, but the gallerist assures the client that Frank is working on new work. (Frank was able to settle his invoices after the exhibition, and has some credit with his materials supplier.)
Meanwhile, the managing partner of the law firm continues to patronise the gallery, and brings a colleague one day, who happens to be on the Board of a Foundation, of which the latter has the primary mandate of collecting art by ‘living artists’. He’s rather taken with Frank’s work, noting also the artist’s developing CV (and in particular the collections in which his work is held), and has asked to be notified when new works arrive.
There is now a small groundswell of interest surrounding Frank’s work; indeed, the gallery has been contacted by one of the art magazines (as a result of the editor becoming aware of the commissioned essay for Frank’s exhibition), and is now seeking to commission a feature article in line with the forthcoming group survey exhibition. Potential opportunities in terms of further promotion, and therefore beneficial outcomes for the gallery and its artists are now able to be more realistically considered over the forthcoming 12 to 18 months.
Does Frank’s work end up in the NGV collection? Possibly. Does the Foundation acquire one of his works? Maybe. And does the gallery go on to participate in an international art fair? Hopefully. Did your enthusiasm for Frank’s art contribute to this? Absolutely!
We should get excited about our art acquisitions. We as a society should not be ‘shy’ about ‘investing’ in art. We can and we do contribute to the sustainability and development of our cultural infrastructure. Every so often, we simply need to remind ourselves what art does:
It starts a conversation; opens a dialogue. At its most fundamental, art expresses an idea, an observation, and/or an emotion. It enlivens our consciousness, and sometimes changes our experiences of an event or exhibition. It stimulates, nourishes and feeds our senses. It contributes to the ‘wealth’ of our culture. And it reflects our society, by way of visually documenting our history, a history which is important to our future.
*This speech was given at FUSE, Flinders Lane Gallery, during Melbourne Art Week.
Exactly two decades ago I bought my first artwork, from an art fair held in Melbourne: the Australian Contemporary Art Fair or ACAF, (later to become of course, the Melbourne Art Fair). This was its fifth edition, and my visit, a very tentative initiation into the art world. Were it not for the clearly, good cheer of the gallerist at the time – I asked for shock horror, “lay-by” – I may well have never bought the work, and perhaps even, not ventured into the gallery circuit quite as promptly thereafter, until much later, when I had a far healthier bank balance and greater self-assurance. Yet for this novice at the time, it was on reflection, the palpable upbeat and celebratory atmosphere of this environment, which has proven the more seductive memory. I treasured the catalogue from that fair, carefully turning the pages over the coming months, and committing to memory the many artworks I had seen, as I awaited the arrival of my first acquisition.
For the uninitiated, the art fair model or art event, these occasional ‘pop-ups’ scattered throughout the calendar year, may be viewed as a type of user-friendly adjunct to the more formal gallery infrastructure, and perhaps in a way, yield to the public sensibility of ‘looking’ or ‘browsing’, uninhibited or constrained by the possibly, watchful eye of the gallery’s staff, or the sometimes slightly intimidating yet obviously cool, environs of the white cube. Less obvious maybe is the aspect of ‘audience participation’ at these types of events; one’s attendance actually constitutes a conscious decision to engage with the visual arts. It’s certainly a step in the right direction to unraveling the sometimes complex or challenging nuances of the contemporary art scene.
In what can only be described as an extremely positive manifestation of ‘community spirit’, some sprightly individuals and collectives from the Melbourne visual arts sector have initiated and will be hosting a virtual plethora of art and art-related events in the 3rd week of August this year, a scheduled week formerly reserved for The art event in this fair city, the Melbourne Art Fair. Satellite fairs, art events and artist talks, forums and panel discussions, a street party, an “arts-speed-dating” event (brilliant!), curated exhibitions and yes, even an arts-related, ”progressive tasting degustation”, will be happening. What’s not to like?
Without dwelling on the demise of the Melbourne Art Fair, which has already received considerable press coverage earlier this year, what is more interesting for me, a former gallerist, now art advisor, and a born and bred Melburnian, is this type of dedication to the arts: to artists’ practices,’ to the collectors and valued clients of commercial galleries, and fundamentally, to the cultural infrastructure of our society.
Certainly for many, in the wake of the collapse of the Melbourne Art Fair, a “void” has been left, and whilst those in the arts will continue to endeavour to fathom the long term effects of this, it is the resilience of arts professionals that will be truly highlighted during this time.
Still endeavouring to bring something of the experience of an art fair, albeit on a smaller scale, Flinders Lane Gallery will be inaugurating its FUSE exhibition and special program of talks (9 – 27 August). Promptly responding to this ‘void’ in the arts calendar, the exhibition will seek to highlight the need for artists to “constantly respond and adapt in order to remain vital and valid”, and how this challenge, in fact allows for “dynamic shifts in individual practices”. Alongside the carefully curated exhibition, a special program of talks* will encompass a variety of topics, with the intention of providing an educative element to the program.
602 (17 – 21 August) is the culmination of a small group of commercial galleries from both Melbourne and Sydney, opening up a dialogue on “doing something” and “keeping something alive” during this period.
Described as “a spontaneous, creative, joyous coming together for friendly art galleries wanting to share with the public the best of what they do in a new and exciting setting”, 602 will bring together 9 commercial art galleries, both Melbourne and Sydney-based, showcasing the work of approximately 40 contemporary artists.
The usual parameters of for example, a gallery’s participation in an art fair, will be left by the wayside, allowing for a new freedom on what the galleries choose to exhibit, even accommodating a re-hang mid-way through the event. Harnessing a Berliner’s approach to creative collaborations, 602 will house the gallerists’ event in a re-purposed electricity substation located at the western end of the CBD. All very neu or frisch (German for “fresh, new, crisp, cool, green, bright).
With the support of the City of Melbourne, Art Month, Art Money and Work Club, 602 promises an innovative take on collaboration, and an invigorating urban experience for art lovers.
A similar type of collegiality underscores FLAIR Melbourne (18 – 21 August). According to Donald Williams, Director of Global Art Projects (GAP), this new event “all happened very quickly” but nevertheless with a great deal of dexterity; ensuing dialogue amongst the art affiliates at the top end of Flinders Lane on how best to ‘fill the gap’, allowed a revised focus on marketing the arts. As Jane Scott, Director of Craft notes, “it’s nice to collaborate with one’s colleagues” as such opportunities are quite rare. Flair Melbourne is an amalgam of artists, galleries, restauranteurs and musicians, and has been curated by ARC ONE Gallery, Arts Project Australia (supported by NKN Gallery), Craft, fortyfivedownstairs and Sofitel Melbourne on Collins.
A range of talks, forums and panel discussions with ‘creatives’, alongside curated exhibitions and an opportunity for audience participation in an immersive exhibition involving the camera obscura technique, in addition to a progressive tasting degustation at which guests might be dining on artisan ceramics plus jazz musicians responding to an exhibition, forms part of an ambitious and highly inventive program, and indeed, will make for very much the “festival” experience.
This theme of revision of the arts scene, was part of the impetus behind the now established SPRING 1883 (17 – 21 August). A hotel-based art fair that draws on the traditions of the Gramercy Park Fair of New York, SPRING 1883 was first presented at The Hotel Windsor in Melbourne in August 2014, with Sydney following thereafter in September 2015 at The Establishment Hotel.
Now in its 3rd iteration, SPRING 1883 has always sought to provide an alternative to the traditional art fair, utilising a boutique site, and thereby allowing for a more intimate engagement between artist, collector and gallerist. Fundamental to this initiative has been an appreciation by its participants of “shared conceptual engagements”. Exhibitors for this year number 27, and comprise mostly Australian galleries, in addition to several from New Zealand, and 3 international galleries (Grey Noise of Dubai, Southard Reid of London and KANSAS of New York) due to cross the equator.
Less arduous and only crossing the Yarra River will be Andy Dinan’s Windsor-based MARS Gallery to present an installation of several gallery artists at a “favourite, iconic city venue”, The Melbourne Supper Club. Indeed, over the years, many an après art event ‘drink’ has been quaffed at this Melbourne institution. MARS @ The Melbourne Supper Club (17 – 21 August) will literally, illuminate the usually subdued club-like lighting of the space with a projection of video works, light works and stereoscopic photography in addition to some delightfully engaging cardboard sculptures.
In like form, seeking out new opportunities for unrepresented and/or independent artists was at the forefront of 3 ‘disruptors’, artists, Tony Lloyd and Sam Leach, and arts writer, Ashley Crawford back in 2010. NotFair (16 – 21 August) was conceived as an alternative satellite event to what they believed was the “gallery-centric Melbourne Art Fair”. At its heart was a curated exhibition of emerging, unrepresented and independent artists whose work would not normally be entitled to be exhibited within the more traditional fair model: what has brought these unlikely ‘event organisers’ together “is a love of art, and a strong desire to ensure artists are given every opportunity to succeed.”
Now under the careful stewardship of Gina Lee, this ‘outsider’ art fair has matured into an established event, and notwithstanding its initial parameters, has seen its business model adopt a more formal demeanour albeit still retaining its edge. Incorporating a no doubt unruly street party on opening night, NotFair Art Fair will also include 3 different types of art tours to the other fairs and events in its immediate vicinity; a “three-way speed dating” event (sounds a bit risqué) for artists, writers and curators; in addition to an exhibitions program entitled “Sign O’ The Times” and curated by Kirsten Rann.
Speaking with Gina Lee, her position is certainly, ‘of the moment’; as she terms it, “there’s room for collaboration” and a much “greater cohesiveness within the visual arts community”; indeed, I would add, it’s a requisite, in order to create greater awareness amongst the public at large, to truly imbue a sense of enthusiasm and at the same time, extend a very friendly and fun invitation to self-educate.
So…get your walking shoes on, grab an umbrella, dress in layers (this is Melbourne), join the community, and challenge your senses, as a veritable visual feast awaits you.
© Catherine Asquith 2016
*Full disclosure: I am one of the guest speakers.
I recently had the good fortune to visit an extraordinarily entertaining exhibition at the Australian Centre for Moving Image (ACMI). Manifesto is a survey exhibition of pre-eminent moving image artist, Julian Rosefeldt (b. 1965), a Berlin-based artist, renowned for his visually opulent and meticulously choreographed moving image artworks.
Utilising various selected art manifestos, such as those of the Dadaists and Futurists, and the writings (or musings) of artists such as Claes Oldenberg and Sol Le Witt, as his source material, Rosefeldt’s Manifesto ultimately questions the role of the artist in society today, as much as the relevance of such art historical ephemera. Australian actor, Cate Blanchett, performs the manifestos as a series of striking monologues, taking on various guises of some thirteen characters: ranging from the cosmetically-groomed American-accented newsreader to an obnoxious party guest, to a serene and homely, primary school teacher. Always charismatic, Blanchett manages to make these often complex, ambiguous and at times, nonsensical ‘diatribes’ both amusing and thankfully, highly accessible.
Julian Rosefeldt: Manifesto
9 December 2015 to 14 March 2016
Australian Centre for Moving Image (ACMI)
I was so pleased to catch Pat Brassington’s latest exhibition, Just So at Arc One Gallery, in April, particularly, given her recent win for the Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize 2016.
Working predominantly in photo-media, Pat Brassington is recognised as a leading exponent of Australian contemporary art. She has developed a singular practice that draws on ideas from psychoanalysis, feminism and Surrealism, consistently producing visually- and psychologically intriguing work. For this exhibition Brassington takes her title from Rudyard Kipling’s famed Just So Stories, a collection of short and highly-fantasised tales on the origins of animal phenomena.
As would be expected, amongst the fifteen new works, there is a persistent sense of the uncanny, the dream-like and downright unknown so characteristic of Brassington, that permeates her often beguiling and at times disquieting imagery. But there is also beauty and a decidedly wry humour to be found. Brassington is a brilliant artist: provocative, alluring, and mysterious, all of which makes for a terribly seductive viewing experience.
Just So: Pat Brassington
8 March - 9 April 2016,
Arc One Gallery, Melbourne
The Kaleidoscopic Turn brings together works by artists working with colour, light, sound, movement and space. Drawn from the NGV’s collection and featuring a number of recent acquisitions, The Kaleidoscopic Turn resonates with references to various artistic legacies of the 20th century from Op art to colourfield painting, offering a range of multi-sensory experiences including immersive installations, kinetic sculptures, video art, works on paper and painting in its diverse and expanded forms.
Tracing connections between a range of artists experimenting with pattern, repetition, light, colour, movement, space and various optical and kinetic effects from the 1960s to now, The Kaleidoscopic Turn aims to provoke active engagement with its audience in intense and lively ways. Whilst focusing largely on contemporary Australian art, The Kaleidoscopic Turn will include a selection of works by international figures, such as Bridget Riley’s dynamic experiments in Op Art, Martha Boto’s kinetic sculptures and Zilvinas Kempinas’s dazzling air and video tape installation.
Artists in the exhibition include Martha Boto, Angela Bulloch, Eugene Carchesio, Olafur Eliasson, Marco Fusinato, Briony Galligan and Rafaella McDonald, Diena Georgetti, David Harley, Melinda Harper, Matt Hinkley, Robert Hunter, Zilvinas Kempinas,Ross Manning, Anne-Marie May, Elizabeth Newman, Johnny Niesche, John Nixon, Tomislav Nikolic, Bridget Riley, Sandra Selig, Jesus Soto, David Thomas, Jan Van der Ploeg and Victor Vasarely among others.
Until 23 August 2015.