After finishing her undergraduate degree in Visual Arts, Fruzsi Kenez shares her insight into her work as curator and initiator of Adelaide’s very own Peanut Gallery.
How do you usually pick the theme for an exhibition?
For many years I had dreamed of opening a gallery space, and in that period, I had a lot of ideas for exhibitions I would like to curate. The concepts usually come to me when I draw parallels between the work of artists I come across, either in the flesh or on the internet. There is great variety in the work that inspires me but there is always a commonality that I can find which brings it all together.
How has networking played a role in establishing this gallery? What was the process of networking?
Having been a professional artist for the last eight years has put me in touch with a lot of people in the field. For any young artist, the best thing to do is to go to as many exhibition openings and art events as possible. I’d say meet people, chat with them and continue working on your practice. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing and you approach it with positivity, great professional relationships and opportunities will open up to you.
How did the idea of starting a gallery come to you?
It has been something I always dreamed of doing and knew I would one day. I undertook a Bachelor of Visuals Arts (Spec) at UniSA and enjoyed making and exhibiting my work. I also volunteered and later worked at the Samstag Museum. In my third year, I took a course in curation with the brilliant Dr Mary Knights, which really sparked a passionate interest in me. Then I moved to Tokyo for a year in 2014 and upon my return, I found that a lot of my creative peers had moved interstate or overseas in pursuit of greener pastures. What I feel is that there are many great art spaces in Adelaide but sadly, they tend to have a short lifespan. Peanut Gallery is an effort to fight against this and foster both our incredibly talented and emerging Adelaide artists as well as interstate and international artists.
What was your first post-university step?
Moving to Tokyo, exploring my professional practice and then dedicating about six months of full time to preparing everything it takes to establish a creative space! I got lucky in finding my business partner Caroline who has been an invaluable asset and works tirelessly at making this gallery happen. We started discussing the potential for Peanut Gallery around April 2015, and in May I most serendipitously stumbled upon what was later to become this space. In June, I applied for a grant from City Makers to cover our start up and renovation costs (which we were successful in securing) and then on the 30th of September 2015 we opened with our first exhibition, Of Land and Sea, which I curated featuring a line-up of 12 artists from around the world. And we haven’t looked back since!
Do emerging artists approach you if they want their artwork to be exhibited?
They do, and we are honoured to receive all proposals and expressions of interest. Having said that, we have a lot of exhibitions in the works that we have been planning for some time and put a lot of time and effort into bringing them to fruition. Our vision for Peanut Gallery sees local artists intermingled with interstate and international talent to tell a unique story and provide Adelaide audiences with a poignant experience. We have a well-stocked bar with local brews and a custom cocktail in the theme of each exhibition as well as one night only events such as last week’s Harry Potter Quiz Night Fundraiser to bring some much-needed pennies to our self-funded space. We love hearing from artists and involving as many wonderfully talented folks as possible, in making our gallery a well-loved hub of creativity.
Crash course in curation: what exactly is involved in curation and how do you go about the curation process?
There is an incredible amount of time that goes into organising exhibitions for Peanut Gallery, especially when it’s curating shows opening in three weeks! At any one time, I juggle correspondence with around 60 to 80 artists from around the world as we work on bringing together exciting exhibitions. To be a curator you have to be very well organised, good at problem solving and love what you do! You definitely have to be a people person and it helps to be a creative yourself.
What kind of responses have you received so far for the gallery and exhibitions held there?
The response has been absolutely and overwhelmingly wonderful! We’ve been blown away by the support we’ve received in regards to the number of artists who come in and thank us for being here and open to supporting their work. Peanut Gallery has been a true labour of love for both Caroline and myself, but we can’t imagine doing anything else!
Check out Instagram: @peanutgalleryadelaide
Read the full story on Peanut Gallery in the most recent issue of Frankie Magazine (MAR/APR) 2017 issue p. 22.
Visit the gallery at Shop 115, Balcony Level Adelaide Arcade, Adelaide SA. Open Wednesday – Sunday.
Words by Rachael Sharman.