Serendipity Brings Peanut Gallery to Adelaide Arcade

“It’s kind of like finding out that you’re pregnant at the seven-month mark,” says Fruzsi Kenez of the fast-paced installation of the gallery. “I went from a five year plan to a five month plan, so there’s a great sense of panic, terrific anticipation and excitement.” Kenez, a local artist herself, has been curating exhibitions…

“It’s kind of like finding out that you’re pregnant at the seven-month mark,” says Fruzsi Kenez of the fast-paced installation of the gallery. “I went from a five year plan to a five month plan, so there’s a great sense of panic, terrific anticipation and excitement.”

Kenez, a local artist herself, has been curating exhibitions in spaces such as Tooth and Nail and Espionage Gallery for the better part of eight years.

To establish a gallery such as this, in such a central location, has always been a dream of hers. “I think opening this gallery is finally professionalising my favourite thing to do,” she says, “which is look at artists’ work on Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, or whatever – It’s finally given me a legitimate excuse to do that.”

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Caroline Gliddon, Kenez’ business partner and a local graphic designer, was seduced by Kenez’ dream. “We were working together on another project, so we got to know each other through that. She told me what she wanted to do and everything.” Gliddon says.

“Later Fruzsi came to me and said, ‘This is my dream, do you want to do it with me?’” That fateful collaboration was set in motion by another encounter laced with destiny, Kenez recounts.

“My mum asked me, ‘If you had a gallery anywhere in Adelaide, where would it be?’ and I said, ‘I’ve never been upstairs in the Adelaide Arcade but my heart tells me that’s where it needs to be.’”

Kenez walked the floor of Adelaide Arcade’s upper level until she got to chatting with a woman running a vintage shop, who casually offered Kenez the opportunity to take over her private lease. “It was very serendipitous,” says Kenez.

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And so it was that Gliddon and Kenez got to work converting the space into Peanut Gallery. Months later, the pair have poured their personal savings, money from fundraisers and a $5000 grant from Renewal SA’s City Makers program into renovations.

Peanut Gallery will soon open shop with its first exhibition, Of Land and Sea. Kenez says her key ambition with the gallery is to give local artists a fresh space to exhibit in, and set their work alongside that of accomplished international artists.

“The idea is to support the grass roots because there are so many incredible artist spaces in Adelaide,” she says.

“I mean you have The Mill, Tooth and Nail, Fontanelle, so many places, and there’s not enough places for them to exhibit their art. We also want to give that chance for local artists to exhibit alongside international names that otherwise might not be exhibited in Australia.”

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In Of Land and Sea Adelaide names like Peter Fong, Bohie Palecek and Lana Adams will be on the wall with Portugal’s Daniel Moreira and Melbourne/Japan’s Kyoko Imazu. Thanks to Kenez’ years curating exhibitions, she has built a formidable network of artists to draw on and invite.

Billed as an exhibition of “grand maritime narratives, rolling landscapes and mythical beasts,” Of Land and Sea will typify the quirky and curious artwork Kenez and Gliddon hope to foster at the gallery. They expect to keep this quirky tradition rolling with further themed exhibitions, and two special events each month.

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Of Land and Sea’s launch will be accompanied by a pop-up bar just outside the gallery, complete with pirate-themed cocktails. “That whole area there will be licensed,” says Gliddon, gesturing toward a large open platform on the concourse of Adelaide Arcade’s upper level. “People can grab a drink and wander down here.”

Peanut Gallery Grand Opening, Launch of Of Land and Sea
Friday, September 30, 6pm facebook.com/events

Peanut Gallery Shop 115, Balcony Level, Adelaide Arcade
peanutgalleryadelaide.com

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