Maree Di Pasquale
Curated Selection | Art Fairs

Maree Di Pasquale

Fostering Future Collectors

Maree Di Pasquale took over as Director of the Melbourne Art Fair in 2018, building it as a key forum for the Australian art world.

It's a big role, but one well-sized to her ambitions.

'My siblings are in medicine and finance, and it was a push for my parents to see a future in contemporary art, so I think I've always had that drive to educate or prove myself,' she says. 'It's also been to show that contemporary art has a greater purpose too, in terms of culture and community.'

Soon after graduating from her studies in Queensland, Di Pasquale moved to the Middle East where she delivered public programmes for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Art.

While she has also worked with the world's leading institutions, developing programmes for partner exhibitions at the Abu Dhabi Saadiyat Island Cultural District project, Di Pasquale remains a strong advocate for art fairs.

'No other platform brings together galleries, artists, curators, and collectors. Art fairs are an absolute melting pot of the art world that are entirely about the artists, the selling of their work, and building markets,' she says.

It's an especially gratifying role in Melbourne, where the non-profit Melbourne Art Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting living artists, produces the Melbourne Art Fair. It doesn't hurt that, in Di Pasquale's eyes, Melbourne is Australia's undisputed capital of culture.

'The galleries and institutions here are so strong, as is the support within the arts sector,' she explains. 'It's a very collaborative city. There are many private museums, along with various established collectors, collecting families, patrons and donors. So there is a wealth of generational support for collecting art that is very prominent here'.

Since becoming Director of Melbourne Art Fair, Di Pasquale has focused on fostering the development of the next generation of collectors in Victoria and beyond. She hopes the fair's ambassador programme and conversation series will spark the enthusiasm of young collectors.

Below, Di Pasquale selects some of her favourite works on Ocula.

Exhibition view: Michael Rakowitz, The invisible enemy should not exist (Northwest Palace of Kalhu, Room S, Western Entrance), Green Art Gallery, Dubai (19 September–23 November 2022).

Exhibition view: Michael Rakowitz, The invisible enemy should not exist (Northwest Palace of Kalhu, Room S, Western Entrance), Green Art Gallery, Dubai (19 September–23 November 2022). Courtesy the artist and Green Art Gallery.

Michael Rakowitz, The invisible enemy should not exist (Northwest Palace of Kalhu, Room S, Panel S-d-2)

We featured a work by Michael Rakowitz entitled The Ballad of Special Ops Coady, represented by Jane Lombard Gallery in the 2022 Melbourne Art Fair Video program. Like most of his work, the piece was an examination of the precariousness of culture through historical narratives.

This work on Ocula is a highlight, and is part of his ongoing series The invisible enemy should not exist, here shown by Green Art Gallery in Dubai. Rakowitz fits perfectly into the gallery's program with a practice that is rigorously research-led and reflective of the region. He began the project in 2007 in response to the pillage of antiquities from the National Museum in Baghdad during the Iraq War, and following the US invasion of the country. This work is significant as it acknowledges a continued history of displacement in Iraq, representing one of the most well preserved reliefs depicting King Ashurnaspiral II, which was excavated in 1847 and sent to the British Museum, and created here with Arabic newspapers, food packaging and cardboard.

Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg, A Stream Stood Still (75 cm), 2021. Wood, grout, fabric, acrylic paint, resin, polymer clay, metal, wire. 59 x 75 x 45 cm. 23 1/4 x 29 1/2 x 17 11/16 inches. © Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg.

Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg, A Stream Stood Still (75 cm), 2021. Wood, grout, fabric, acrylic paint, resin, polymer clay, metal, wire. 59 x 75 x 45 cm. 23 1/4 x 29 1/2 x 17 11/16 inches. © Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg. Courtesy Lisson Gallery. Photo: Theo Christelis.

Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg, A Stream Stood Still (75 cm)

Another standout work in the Melbourne Art Fair 2022 Video program was a work by Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg represented by Lisson Gallery, One need not be a house; the brain has corridors (2018). I recall that they were opening their first solo with Lisson Gallery in Shanghai at the same time and showing this body of work, A Stream Stood Still.

These adventurous sculptural works that appear to be made using the modelling clay and other such materials that they are so well known for in their distinctive, psychologically charged animations. They are fantastical and fragile, almost surreal—a hidden garden of an untamed imagination.

Exhibition view: Patricia Piccinini, The Gardener's Eye, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney (20 August – 19 September 2020).

Exhibition view: Patricia Piccinini, The Gardener's Eye, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney (20 August – 19 September 2020). Courtesy Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery. Photo: Luis Power.

Patricia Piccinini, Shoeform (Sprout)

Djurberg and Berg, for me, blur the line between reality and fiction and force a sort of introspection. Patricia Piccinini does the same.

We are closer to home here looking at this work, Shoeform (Sprout) represented by Sydney's Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery. Piccinini is an Australian based, internationally recognised artist known for her hyperrealistic sculptures, presenting a kind of grotesque humanity that is captivating and strangely beautiful.

This work is a strong example of her Shoeform sculptures that are surreal plants growing out of shoes. This work reminds us that nature will survive us. The world will evolve. We are the ones that will be extinct—this is sobering. This may not be Piccinini's aim, but she has a wonderful way of exploring the frontiers of technology through her work—sculptures, drawings, installations, video—that challenge our understanding of the boundaries of humanity.

Caroline Rothwell, Infinite Herbarium Morphosis #3, 2021. Full HD single channel video, with sound, 28.35 minutes loop. Sound: Theodore Wohng. Made in collaboration with Google Creative Lab.

Caroline Rothwell, Infinite Herbarium Morphosis #3, 2021. Full HD single channel video, with sound, 28.35 minutes loop. Sound: Theodore Wohng. Made in collaboration with Google Creative Lab. Courtesy Tolarno Galleries.

Caroline Rothwell, Infinite Herbarium Morphosis #3

The next work is by Caroline Rothwell—her 'nature on acid' as she says—where she explores the relationships between humans and nature.

Infinite Herbarium is a multichannel work that was presented at the last edition of Melbourne Art Fair, in a sector curated by Emily Cormack. This is but one, which uses a process of interactive learning and actual data sets from historical archives to create these hybrid species of plants.

In truth, I don't entirely understand how these are generated, but they amaze me. And the soundscape, composed by Theodore Wohng, is transfixing.

Sriwhana Spong, coindanz (room with an open fire), 2023. Bronze, patina.

Sriwhana Spong, coindanz (room with an open fire), 2023. Bronze, patina. Courtesy Michael Lett.

Sriwhana Spong, coindanz (room with an open fire)

This is a recent work by Sriwhana Spong, who is New Zealand born of Indonesian descent, as part of a solo show at Michael Lett titled Luzpomphia. Spong's performative practice and specific interest in dance transports me to another time, and this work is a highlight on the Ocula platform.

This body of work is a material exploration into imagery taken from dreams and the practices of women mystics. These cast bronzes appear to have eyes, and yet they bear a resemblance to decaying fruit. I can't help but feel they are watching us. A delightful burst of colour and the delicious materiality of bronze, I would love them in my collection.

Main image: Maree Di Pasqual.

WORKS


The invisible enemy should not exist (Northwest Palace of Kalhu, Room S, Panel S-d-2) by Michael Rakowitz contemporary artwork works on paper, sculpture, print, mixed media
Michael Rakowitz The invisible enemy should not exist (Northwest Palace of Kalhu, Room S, Panel S-d-2), 2022 Arabic newspapers, food packaging, and cardboard relief sculptures on wood panel
224.79 x 163.83 x 10.16 cm
Green Art Gallery
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Infinite Herbarium Morphosis #3 by Caroline Rothwell contemporary artwork moving image
Caroline Rothwell Infinite Herbarium Morphosis #3, 2021 Full HD single channel video, with sound, 28.35 minutes loop. Sound: Theodore Wohng. Made in collaboration with Google Creative Lab
Tolarno Galleries
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Watch: Infinite Herbarium Morphosis #3 excerpt https://vimeo.com/599293379

Shoeform (Sprout) by Patricia Piccinini contemporary artwork sculpture
Patricia Piccinini Shoeform (Sprout), 2019 resin, automotive paint
60 x 35 x 37 cm
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery
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A Stream Stood Still (75 cm) by Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg contemporary artwork sculpture
Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg A Stream Stood Still (75 cm), 2021 Wood, grout, fabric, acrylic paint, resin, polymer clay, metal, wire
59 x 75 x 45 cm
Lisson Gallery
Request Price & Availability
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