21 May 1993

Venice selection boosts Cottier's launch

Sarah Cottier's Newtown gallery, due to open later this year, is the talk of the Sydney gallery set - especially with the selection of one of her young stars, Hany Armanious, for the prestigious Venice Biennale next month.
Armanious is one of only five Australian artists ever selected for Venice.
Cottier had planned to stay quiet about her venture - not scheduled to open for six months yet - until her stable was finalised. But her hand has been forced by the selection of her hottest prospect for the 45th Venice Biennale.
Cottier told Inside Sydney yesterday: "Hany has been selected for Aperto, which functions as a platform for emerging artists under 40.
"It's very prestigious - and Hany was delighted, if bemused, when he found out."
Armanious's star is rising rapidly - his work has appeared in four major shows in the past year: the Sydney Biennale; Wit's End at the Museum of Contemporary Art; Shirthead at Mori Annexe; and Monster Field at the Ivan Dougherty Gallery.
Cottier described Armanious's work as disconcerting.
"Hany takes everyday objects directly around him and assembles them into a sophisticated, perverse personal index.
"His work ranges from the whimsical to the grotesque."
Cottier, a former editor of Interior Design magazine, left Yuill/Crowley Gallery last month.
The Sarah Cottier Gallery, as it will be known, will be based in the former smallgoods factory now used as a photographic studio by Cottier's business partner and husband, Ashley Barber.
"We see setting up in Newtown as taking the art to where the artists are,"Barber said.
"The art community is moving away from the city core," Cottier said. "When the Paddington galleries were setting up, there was a community there which supported them. But they've exited now."
With the Sydney art world undergoing a turbulent period of readjustment in the wake of the recession, rumours have been rife about who Cottier will be representing.
"The full picture will be clearer when I've massed a stable," she said. "But it will be small and focused - probably about eight to 10 artists."
Apart from Armanious, Barber confirmed that former Roslyn Oxley stal wart John Nixon had also made the move - a coup for the new gallery.
"We have five or six artists we're sure about, but John and Hany are the only two we can discuss at the moment," Barber said. "We don't want to be ruffling feathers at this point.
"Because of all the movement going on, it's not politically expedient to discuss it.
"However we're not offering artists huge financial incentives to come across to us. We're attracting people with a new context and focus, a new identity."
Caption: Illus: Sarah Cottier ... "The art community is moving away from the city."Picture by PETER RAE
Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Publication date: 20-5-1993
Edition: Late
Page no: 2
Section: News and Features
Length: 565
First published in The Sydney Morning Herald

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