The 31st edition of Art Brussels is receiving rave reviews for its high-quality presentation and excellent sales.
The debut and contribution of artistic director Katerina Gregos and her renewal of the fair have proved to be a real success!
This 31st edition of Art Brussels, under the new artistic directorship of Katerina Gregos – who boldly opted for an entirely new approach – was awaited with great anticipation. The ‘look and feel’ of Art Brussels was entirely redesigned by Brussels designer Tom Mares and artist Walt Van Beek, chosen from a shortlist of Belgian designers and invited to work on the scenography of the fair. They revamped the art fair into a veritable Art City. Visitors were welcomed and registered in an airport-style check-in area; the fair hostesses were dressed by designers Natacha Cadonici & Miss V. in matching airline outfits. This year’s Art Brussels bag was designed by artist Kendell Geers.
The fair’s graphics were also entirely redesigned by the London-based Sara De Bondt studio. They created a new graphic design for the entire Art Brussels campaign. The exhibition cataloguewas turned into a functional and handy pocketbook. The new graphics also included the signage at the fair.
Art was there to be enjoyed from the very entrance: sculptures by Maarten Vanden Eynde welcomed visitors at the front of the building; also outside was an impressive project by Han Hoogebrugge who designed the exterior of a Range Rover, which also featured video animations in its interior.
Once inside, visitors could enjoy the fair’s new feeling of spaciousness and airiness. The carpet-stripped floors blurred the boundaries between the wide corridors and the galleries. Fluorescent tube lines guided visitors to the various zones and rest areas. Seats were always full at THE CINEMA, a cleverly designed space with comfortable vintage cinema chairs where interested viewers could enjoy a curated section of videos and short films.
On THE STAGE, the platform for conferences, debates, and performances, audiences crowded in to follow the programme that had been composed by Katerina Gregos with much dedication, andinterest. This probably also explains why more curators and representatives of local and foreign museums, as well as other actors from the art field, found their way to Art Brussels.
The programme included more than 50 key figures from the international contemporary art world: curators, artists, collectors and intellectuals such as, among others, Chris Dercon, Director of TateModern, London; Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director at the Serpentine Gallery, London; Sabrina Van der Ley, Director of Contemporary Art at the National Museum, Oslo; Ute Meta Bauer, dean of Fine Arts at the Royal College of Art in London, and Guy Ullens de Schooten, founder of UCCA, Beijing.
Belgian and international collectors were present in force! Many acquired new additions to their collections at Art Brussels, to the great satisfaction of many galleries:
The First Call gallery Thomas Brambilla returns to Italy satisfied and looks back at the best fair of the last 2 years, having nearly sold out the entire stand. They sold works by American artist Grayson Revoir and the Italian Oscar Giacoma.
Chambers Fine Art took part in the fair for the first time, and were impressed by the quality and quantity of collectors they welcomed to their stand. The work of the renowned artist Ai Wei Weigenerated much interest and the work of the young Chinese artist Wu Jian’an seemed to be equally in demand. At Avlskarl, an impressive work by Tony Oursler found a new home.
Very satisfied exhibitors at Jaeger Bucher/Jeanne-Bucher as well. This gallery sold works by Susumu Shingu, Fabienne Verdier, Michael Biberstein, Miguel Branco and noted much interest in the works of Zarina Hashmi. At Cardi, Belgian collectors went for established Italian artists such as Lucio Fontana, Enrico Castellani, Pistoletto, Piero Manzoni. Filomena Soares was extremelypleased with the sale of a 2.60 meters high sculpture by Rui Chaves to a Belgian collector. The gallery praised the general organization and the selection of galleries, which is getting better every year.
Rodolphe Janssen, who had set up a beautiful stand with works that were mostly black, sold various works by Sam Samore, Kendell Geers and Walead Beshty to Belgian and foreign collectors.At Dépendance, a light sculpture by Richard Aldrich found a new owner. The stand of Meessen De Clercq was renewed on a daily basis since a large part of the works were sold. ClaudioParmiggiani, José Maria Sicilia enjoyed much interest as well. Tim Van Laere, taking a break at the Zinneke Terrace, the fair’s outdoor terrace and one of this year’s fresh new places (where one could enjoy Belgian frites and ice cream) looked back on a very successful edition with sales of Rinus Van De Velde, Jonathan Meese, Kati Heck, Henk Visch and others.
Perrotin will take only a fraction of their exhibited works back to Paris. The beautiful solo exhibition of the Belgian artist Pieter Vermeersch was very much liked and sold extremely well.
Office Baroque knew from day one that the fair was going to be successful. They feel that work, after having been in a solo show in the gallery, is given a new life when presented among the manyother artworks at a fair. The gallery also commended the efforts of the collectors committee, whose members regularly came by in the company of their international counterparts.
For 5 days, Brussels was the epicentre of the contemporary art field, with numerous exhibitions, visits and dinners organized by participating Brussels-based galleries, collectors and institutions.
Six artists and curator run spaces were invited by Katerina Gregos to attend the fair. Etablissement d’en Face projects, Komplot, Institut de Carton, Maison Grégoire, (SIC) and La Logepresented conceptual, even adventurous projects, which were perfectly in line with their independent and non-commercial status.
Also new was the Curators Programme, in which international curators were invited to visit Art Brussels, discover the cultural institutions of the city and get into contact with Belgian and international artists living and working in Brussels. This programme was realised together with BAM, the Flemish Institute for Visual, Audiovisual and Media art.
HISK, for several years a fixture at the fair, came up with a very special, fresh and original idea. Guests were invited to make a choice ‘à la carte’ from a real menu that listed works from a variety ofartists. Two ‘garçons’ would then serve the work to the ‘client’ in a beautifully designed gold environment with a long banquet-style table. This was a ‘covert’ exhibition, a performance, and a space of social interaction. And it worked; it was surprising, interesting and often funny.
ING received a lot of interest for the presentation of the shortlisted artists of the ‘Young Belgian Art Prize’ (formerly Jeune Peinture Belge) who will be exhibited at Bozar in Brussels from June 27th.
Pirelli supports the Solo Shows at Art Brussels with the Pirelli Prize
The Solo Shows present work by established and emerging artists throughout the two halls of the fair. Galleries are given the opportunity to make a clear statement by presenting one specific project by one particular artist. This gives visitors the chance to get a more in-depth feel for the work of the artist. The Solo Shows were pre-selected by
Katerina Gregos, based on the submissions of the participating galleries. The best solo exhibition at the fair, selected by the Art Brussels Collectors Committee, was awarded the Pirelli Prize worth 10,000 euros. The winners of the best Solo Show 2013 are David Brognon & Stephanie Rollin, represented by the Belgian gallery Albert Baronian.
A second prize awarded at Art Brussels was the Karen Renders Award. Karen Renders stood at the head of Art Brussels for 15 years and always had a big heart for young and emerging talent.Art Brussels would like to continue her commitment and her life’s work. The prize – a 50% discount on the next participation at the fair – goes to the gallery with the best stand in the Young Talentzone, selected by Katerina Gregos. The winner of the Karen Renders Award is the gallery D + T Project, for their intelligent and thoutfully curated project on the concept of identity.
The 31st edition of Art Brussels closed very successfully, after having welcomed 30 432 visitors.