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Archive for the ‘Russian’ Category

Russian-born Lena Liv captures Moscow’s socialist subways in Tel Aviv museum show

Posted by artradar on September 9, 2010


PHOTOGRAPHY INSTALLATION LIGHT BOXES MUSEUM SHOWS RUSSIA ISRAEL ITALY

Artist Lena Liv takes her shots in the early morning, capturing various Moscow subway stations before people crowd the architecture. Her interest in these Stalin-era “palaces for the Proletariat” may stem from a need to capture examples of the city’s “show architecture”, remnants of a building style that once mirrored state ideologies.

Russian-born, Liv has returned to her homeland after many years living and working in Italy and Israel. Her photographic installations, capturing as they do the extraordinary in the everyday, are now on show at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in an exhibition titled “Cathedrals for the Masses | Lena Liv: Moscow Metro“.

Lena Liv, 'Taganskaya', 2006-2009, transparency on glass, fluorescent light, wood and metal construction. This station was opened on 1 January, 1950 and is themed on medieval architecture. Image courtesy of Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Lena Liv, 'Taganskaya', 2006-2009, transparency on glass, fluorescent light, wood and metal construction. This station was opened on 1 January, 1950 and is themed on medieval architecture. Image courtesy of Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

The museum summarises the exhibition on its website:

“Lena Liv’s lens exposes a paradox in the metro’s heroic building work: on the one hand, the buildings were meant to contain within their monumental dimensions a human body in search of domestication; on the other hand, this is building whose far-reaching ideology sought to turn Moscow from an ancient capital to the center of world Proletariat—to sow the “seeds of the new, socialist Moscow,” in the words of the journalists of the time. Above all, it seems that Lena Liv’s works testify that this show architecture was the first sprouts of a city that never materialized.”

Cathedrals for the Masses | Lena Liv: Moscow Metro is curated by Prof. Mordechai Omer and runs in collaboration with Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, Italy. The exhibition runs until 9 October this year.

Lena Liv 'Grand Mayakovskaya', 2006-2009, transparency on glass, fluorescent light, wood and metal construction. This station was opened on 11 September, 1938 and is considered a masterpiece of Soviet Art Deco. It won the 1939 Grand Prize at the New York World's Fair. Image courtesy of Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Lena Liv 'Grand Mayakovskaya', 2006-2009, transparency on glass, fluorescent light, wood and metal construction. This station was opened on 11 September, 1938 and is considered a masterpiece of Soviet Art Deco. It won the 1939 Grand Prize at the New York World's Fair. Image courtesy of Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Lena Liv, 'Elektrovodskaya 1 and 2', 2005-2006, transparency on glass, fluorescent light, wood and metal construction. This station was opened on 15 May, 1944 and is themed on the home front struggle of the Great Patriotic War. It was the winner of the 1946 Stalin Prize. Image courtesy of Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Lena Liv, 'Elektrovodskaya 1 and 2', 2005-2006, transparency on glass, fluorescent light, wood and metal construction. This station was opened on 15 May, 1944 and is themed on the home front struggle of the Great Patriotic War. It was the winner of the 1946 Stalin Prize. Image courtesy of Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Lena Liv, 'Novokuznetskaya', 2006-2009, transparency on glass, fluorescent light, wood and metal construction. This station was opened on 20 November, 1943 and is themed on WWII. It was built as a monument to Soviet military valor. Image courtesy of Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Lena Liv, 'Novokuznetskaya', 2006-2009, transparency on glass, fluorescent light, wood and metal construction. This station was opened on 20 November, 1943 and is themed on WWII. It was built as a monument to Soviet military valor. Image courtesy of Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

KN/HH

Related Topics: Russian artists, Israeli artists, European artists, photography, light art, museum shows

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Photography in contemporary Russia – Art Radar speaks with curator Olga Sviblova, AES+F and Igor Moukhin

Posted by artradar on August 18, 2010


MOSCOW PARIS CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION MUSEUM SHOWS

With France-Russia Year 2010 in full swing, Maison Européene de la Photographie (MEP) and the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow (MAMM), formerly the Moscow House of Photography, partnered for the photo exhibition “Photography in Contemporary Russia, 1990-2010, currently on display in Paris. Art Radar Asia spoke with Olga Sviblova, curator and director of the MAMM, along with reknowed photographer Igor Moukhin and artist Tatiana Arzamasova of AES+F.

Vlad Loktev, '1:0', photograph, 1999. Image courtesy of Maison Européene de la Photographie.

Vlad Loktev, '1:0', photograph, 1999. Image courtesy of Maison Européene de la Photographie.

Olga Sviblova has achieved almost superstar status in the art world for her documentary filmwork, numerous curatorial endeavors and tireless dedication to the arts, especially Russian photography. Art Radar Asia managed to catch up with the busy Sviblova who answered questions about the state of contemporary Russian photography, it’s growth since the early 1990’s and the pervasive misperceptions of Russian contemporary art.

“Russian photography, like Russian contemporary art, is quite unknown in the world,” Sviblova says frankly. “It is much less present when you compare it with photography or contemporary art from another country like America, from European countries like France, like Germany, like Britain.” Such statements seem to contradict the international fame that some Russian artists have achieved such as rising stars AES+F and established names like Oleg Kulik and Igor Mukhin. For Sviblova, however, widespread acclaim for Russian artists is still the exception, not the rule. The curator elaborates further on the effects of the economic downturn on Russian art:

“Russian art was forgotten. And also for Russian art and photography, there were not institutions that could support it … there was also the question that the Russian market inside the country was not constructed.”

It was in this climate that Sviblova founded the Moscow House of Photography, now know as the Multimedia Centre for Contemporary Art, in 1996. That same year Sviblova organised Russia’s first photobiennale, followed by the first Moscow International Photography Festival in 1999. Efforts such as these changed the climate of the art scene.

“So now we have in Russia a completely different situation … we have instutions for art and photography, we have our museums. In another sense photography has started to be open in the Russian region, photography started to be popular and contemporary art started, in the beginning, to be popular.”

Exploring the popularity of photography

For Sviblova, there is no boundary between art and photography, they are part of one another, and photography has always been art. However, photography as a medium has exploded in popularity and is, according to Sviblova, one of the “most important arts today”.

Igor Moukhin, "Moscou", photograph, 1988. Image courtesy of Maison Européene de la Photographie

Igor Moukhin, 'Moscou', photograph, 1988. Image courtesy of Maison Européene de la Photographie.

Factoring into the success of photography in Russia are the new freedoms afforded to artists. This new freedom which allows photojournalistic, “street” photography to “show the face of Russia”, a truthful representation of the people, society and Russian life.

“You really can tell that today photography is an extremely popular media. Today nobody asks me if photography is art or is not art; it’s really extremely popular in Russia.”

Russian photographer Igor Moukhin echoed the same ideas when we asked him if photography was being embraced within Russia.

“People have ceased and to look [at] and trust the TV. There is no independent press. And on the Internet  [there are] a lot of photos, photos about today, yesterday, about life, and these photos discuss.”

Moukhin uses the term “direct photo” in reference to his photographs of Soviet youths and comments on the subjectiveness of his photography, saying that it is not universal since context is necessary. To artists such as Moukhin, context and knowledge of Russian history are necessary to grasp the messgae of his “direct” photography. Yet not all Russian photography is specific to Russian experiences. Communication between countries is another factor when examining the popularity of Russian photography. Acknowledging a lack of communication between Russia and other countries, Sviblova highlights the importance of photography as a method to dispel misconcenptions, and to speak about what has happened in Russia in the past and what is happening now.

Nikolai Polissky, La Tour, photograph, 2000. Image courtesy of Maison Européene de la Photographie.

Nikolai Polissky, 'La Tour', photograph, 2000. Image courtesy of Maison Européene de la Photographie.

As Olga Sviblova states, the MEP exhibition in Paris presents yet another chance “to show what kind of new photography was born in that time [1990-2010] … we can show what has happened in Russia: on a social level, emotional level, economic level, and political level”. Images of revolution from the first and second Chechen wars also make up an important part of the exhibition and Sviblova stresses how photographers began to tackle issues outside of Russia, on an international level.

“We tried to show history … we tried to show the first and second Chechen wars, what was the Russian strategy … we tried to show the best photographers working at the time … At the same time, we tried to show what happens in the country, we tried to show the youth generation, the old people.”

While some artists use documentary photography to focus on Russian experiences, others use documentary photography to create ties to the rest of the world.  As the birth of “new Russia” took place, contemporary street photography captured it from every angle.

Russian photography, international issues

Although it is one of the most popular types of photography in Russia, the exhibition includes much more than just documentary-style images. What Sviblova calls classical art photography and fashion photography make up the remainder of the show and include names such as Oleg Kulik and Arsen Savadov.

AES+F, 'The Islamic Project: New Liberty', 2003, lambda print. Image courtesy of the AES+F website.

AES+F, 'The Islamic Project: New Liberty', 2003, lambda print. Image courtesy of the AES+F website.

Sviblova also speaks in length about the popular artist collective AES+F, a group that uses photography as a tool to address universal, and often controversial, concepts.  In reference to images from “The Islamic Project” series Sviblova remarks:

“After September 11 their images started to be so famous, distributed through the Internet and often given out without the signature of the artist because it was like popular art. It was not the mirror of reality, but also the magic mirror of the future … AES+F is one of the most sophisticated, one of the most complicated, and at the same time one fo the most magic artist [groups].”

In a brief Art Radar interview with AES+F’s Tatiana Arzamasova, the artist sheds some light on the collective’s use of photography in recent series such as “The Last Riot” and ‘”The Feast of Trimalchio”. “We use photography as a tool,” she remarks.

On the artists’ website they make no attempt to hide their process, showing how they use assorted images as a starting point for the final product. As a collective,the artists of AES, with the exception of Vladmir Fridkes, do not consider themselves “traditional” photographers. When asked if the international community still had misperceptions about Russian art and Russian photography, Arzamasova indicated that the idea of Russian photography as socialist media is still present. “[People] think of Russia as poor…they still think of the Cold War” Arzamasova states. Undaunted by such stereotypes, AES+F continues to stretch the boundaries of what Russian art and photography is considered to be. Olga Sviblova concludes:

“Great photography is not just image and document of reality, it’s much more metaphoric. If you know the language of the artist, you can read the message and through this message you can see not just today, or the past, you can see our future”

Other stand-out artists featured in the exhibition, which will run until 29 August this year, include the Fenso group, Sergui Tchilikov, Vladmir KupriyanovGeorgy Pervov, and Vladmir Fridkes.

EH/KN

Related Topics: Russian artists, photography, curators

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Posted in AES+F, Collaborative, Curators, Events, France, From Art Radar, Gallery shows, Interviews, Museum shows, Olga Sviblova, Paris, Photography, Professionals, Russian, Venues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

World premiere of new AES+F photo collages at Moscow’s Garage Center – video

Posted by artradar on August 10, 2010


RUSSIAN ARTIST COLLECTIVE PHOTOGRAPHY VIDEO

Made up of artists Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovitch, Evgeny Svyatsky, and Vladmir Fridkes, internatinoally acclaimed Russian collective AES+F returns once again to Moscow’s Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in the center’s newest exhibition, “The Feast of Trimalchio“.

AES+F, The Feast of Trimalchio. Triptych #1. Panorama #2. 2010, Digital Collage.  Image courtesy of Garage Center for Contemporary Culture

AES+F, 'Triptych #1. Panorama #2', 2010, digital collage. Image courtesy of Garage Center for Contemporary Culture.

Curated by Olga Sviblova, the collective’s interpretation of Satyricon, a work by Roman poet Gaius Petronious Arbiter, features a nine channel video installation of a hotel resort paradise threatened by disaster. The artists’ website states:

the atmosphere of ‘The Feast of Trimalchio’ can be seen as bringing together the hotel rituals of leisure and pleasure … On the other hand the ‘servants’ are more than attentive service-providers. They are participants in an orgy, bringing to life any fantasy of the ‘masters’.

The show, which runs from 19 June to 29 August, features both the video installation as well as several brand new, never-before-seen panoramic digital collages.

Watch Garage Center’s short preview of “The Feast of Trimalchio” here (video length, 1:07 mins)

EH/KN

Related Topics: AES+F, Russian, photography, video art

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Posted in AES+F, Collaborative, Consumerism, Fantasy art, Human Body, Moscow, Museum shows, Olga Sviblova, Photography, Russia, Russian, Utopian art, Video | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Russian curators prosecuted for showcasing banned art: media round-up

Posted by artradar on August 2, 2010


RUSSIAN ART CURATORS BANNED ART LAW

After a two-year trial, two Russian curators, Yury Samodurov and Andrei Yerofeyev, were declared guilty of “inciting religious hatred,” despite massive protest. Although they escaped the three-year prison sentence demanded by the prosecution, the judge declared them guilty and each had to pay a hefty fine. Critics fear the results of this trial are proof of cultural oppression in Russia.

They had showcased art banned from other Russian museums in an exhibition entitled “Forbidden Art” at the Sakharov Museum.

Alexander Kosolapov's 'This Is My Body', from "My Blood My Body" series, one of the works from the controversial exhibition "Forbidden Art 2006" at the Sakharov Museum.

Alexander Kosolapov's 'This Is My Body', from "My Blood My Body" series, one of the works from the controversial exhibition "Forbidden Art" at the Sakharov Museum.

Strong public interest in the case

Most media leans in favor of the Russian curators and sees the verdict as a sign of cultural oppression and censorship in Russia. However protesters from both sides were present outside the courthouse on the day of the ruling. Those offended by the paintings and who initiated the prosecution were mostly fundamentalist Russian Orthodox Christians while those against the prosecution consisted generally of artists and human rights activists. Multiple blogs and news agencies have covered the trial, ranging from arts websites to Russian interest magazines and blogs about human rights.

Extreme factions from both sides have voiced their protests. The New York Times reports that radical art performance group, Voina, released cockroaches into the courtroom, an act criticized by Samodurov. According to the Associated Press, extremist members of the prosecution threatened the curators in court, reminding them of the fate of Anna Alchuk, curator of “Caution: Religion!” who was found dead in Berlin in 2008.

Artists “incited religious hatred”

'Chechen Marilyn' by Blue Noses Group (2005, colour print, 100 x 75 cm), one of the works from the controversial exhibition "Forbidden Art 2006" at the Sakharov Museum.

'Chechen Marilyn' by Blue Noses Group (2005, colour print, 100 x 75 cm), one of the works from the controversial exhibition "Forbidden Art" at the Sakharov Museum.

The works in question include an icon made of caviar, a depiction of Christ with a Mickey Mouse head, and an image of Christ with the McDonald’s sign and the words “This is my body”. There were also some non-Christian symbols included in the list of offensive images such as Chechen Marilyn and the Chinese invading the Kremlin. The exhibition spurred a lot of anger amongst religious groups.

In a video interview with Russia Today, a member of the Russian Orthodox Church explains that,

Orthodox believers, as citizens of their country…have the right to protect their sacred symbols. It was not the church that initiated this prosecution, but the people who were offended. The investigation proved that the art at the exhibit was offensive towards believers, and incited religious hatred.

The New York Times also mentioned, however, that Russian Orthodox Church officials believed that while displaying the paintings was criminal and the curators should be punished, they shouldn’t be imprisoned. Furthermore, the Russian Minister of Culture was critical of the prosecution.

A fight against censorship

The defendants’ view is that this exhibition was a critique of the materialism of Russian society and a fight against censorship of the arts, and had nothing to do with religion. Ironically, critics fear that results of the trial have shown that censorship is quite powerful in Russia.

Samodurov faced similar charges for a 2003 exhibition called “Caution: Religion!” He says the Church has reacted more strongly in the “Forbidden Art” trial.

Human rights and arts activists fully disapprove of the judge’s ruling, and are alarmed not only at the guilty verdict but at the fact that this trial even took place. The BBC News reported that thirteen renowned Russian artists signed an open letter to President Dmitry Medvedev protesting the trial. Russia Today reports that,

…much more concerning [than escaping the jail sentence] for people in their circumstances is what they’ve seen as a curb from their freedom of expression.

In addition support from other artists and curators has been prevalent. The Associated Press reports that Marat Gelman, a Moscow gallery owner, declared his support for the pair by saying he would launch his own “Forbidden Art” exhibition should the ruling be in favor of the church. One sympathizer stated for the Associated Press before the verdict was declared,

‘I am very afraid for them,’ she said. ‘The church is now younger, more energetic.’

Some fear a return to a cultural oppression similar to that of Czarist Russia. Some suspect the Kremlin may have had a role in lightening the punishment of the curators to prevent tarnishing their international image. Critics have predicted that people will be wary of displaying and producing potentially offensive art in Russia, and this will make Russian art less competitive globally.

MM/KN

Related Topics: Russian artists, curators, venues – Moscow

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Posted in Activist, Body, Brands, Celebrity art, Censorship of art, Consumerism, Curators, Identity art, Moscow, Nationalism, Political, Religious art, Russia, Russian, Social, Themes and subjects, Venues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Cause and Effect: London solo for Macau-Russian artist Konstantin Bessmertny

Posted by artradar on May 11, 2010


Konstantin Bessmertny Causarum Cognitio Philosophicus

Bessmertny's Causarum Cognitio Philosophicus

Courtesy Rossi & Rossi

RUSSIAN ARTIST TALK EXHIBITION

A technical impresario who underwent rigorous formal training, Konstantin Bessmertny has risen to become one of Macau’s foremost artistic ambassadors.

Raised in Far Eastern Russia on the Chinese border, Bessmertny learned the traditions of European painting while studying under Russian dissidents exiled eastward by the Soviets. Later moving to Macau, a city of Chinese and Portuguese history, perpetually shadowed by the bustling Hong Kong, Bessmertny is a creature of boundaries between times, cultures and places. He represented the Chinese enclave at the Venice Biennale in 2007.

Konstantin Bessmertny

Konstantin Bessmertny, La Battaglia di Anghiari dell'Opera Perduta di Leonardo (Copy after Leonardo No. 2) 2009

Bessmertny’s works address the many absurdities of contemporary living and our understanding of history. The paintings are lush, thick with coded allusions to high and low culture. They gleefully portray challenges of basic, almost universally accepted understanding of zeitgeist and history.

Rossi & Rossi, in association with Amelia Johnson Contemporary, is holding an exhibition of much anticipated new paintings and sculpture by Bessmertny — Causarum Cognitio or Knowledge of Causes.

The exhibition is to be held from May 7 to June 3 at Rossi and Rossi www.rossirossi.com. An artist’s talk was held on May 8  with Pamela Kember, a director of the Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong.  Kember is a curator and historian of art. She has lectured at the Hong Kong Arts School and the Academy of Visual Arts in Hong Kong. She has contributed to Asian Art News, World Sculpture News and Art Asia Pacific.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue 52 pages in length.

Konstantin Bessmertny

Konstantin Bessmertny

Courtesy Museu de Arte de Macau

Pamela Kember

Pamela Kember

Courtesy Chelsea College of Art & Design

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Two contemporary art museums planned for Moscow

Posted by artradar on September 12, 2009


RUSSIAN ART MUSEUMS

Two new contemporary art museums are planned for Moscow reports Artinfo.

National Centre for Contemporary Art

Facade of National Centre for Contemporary Art

Facade of National Centre for Contemporary Art

Mikhail Mindlin and Leonid Bazhanov, directors of the National Centre for Contemporary Art in Moscow, initiated the plan to establish a new contemporary art museum in the region. The $100 million proposal, although not government-funded, is approved by the Minister of Culture Alexander Avdeev.

Mindlin and Bazhanov face two options: “either wait until the crisis is over or form a partnership with gallerists and local businessmen who show an interest in contemporary art.”

On July 24, the Ministry of Culture invited a number of gallerists and businessmen to its private session.

According to ARTINFO, attendees included:

Gary Tatintsian, owner of Tatintsian Gallery (which recently sold a small Jake and Dinos Chapman sculpture to the center at a discounted price after no one stepped up to buy it following its debut at a group show there four years ago), and Alexey Tsarevsky, head of Horizont Finance Company. Horizont is owned by Valery Nosov, who also owns ArtMedia Group, a publishing house that puts out two art magazines — Art+Auction Russia (a publishing partner of ARTINFO sister publication Art+Auction) and Blacksquare — and an arts and culture Web site, openspace.ru. Tsarevsky promised help from Horizont, including “consulting with the center on the predevelopment level and financial administration of the project.

The goal is to complete the project by 2015.

While in the process of developing a new museum, Mindlin and Bazhanov hope to expand their current museum too:

The two, who would lead the new institution, plan to expand the center’s current home to include 25,000 additional square meters (269,100 square feet) of new exhibition space, as well as a café, storage facilities, and a cinema, among other amenities. Essentially, the center would transition from a small, state-funded institution to a large and complex one, with the new museum inheriting its management and resources.

Their plan is not exactly new. The center already expanded once, in 2004, adding a three-story building as part of a larger redevelopment plan that would have included a large hotel and financed the center’s activities with money from developers. The current proposal adapts the earlier plan to the realities of the current economic situation. For example, with most of Moscow’s building projects on hold, no commercial spaces are planned to accompany the future museum, and it’s unclear if the new project will be subject to an architectural competition.

Stella Art Foundation

That Obscure Object of Art. Collections of Stella Art Foundation. Displayed at the Venice Biennale.

That Obscure Object of Art. Collections of Stella Art Foundation. Displayed at the Venice Biennale.

In tandem, Stella and Igor Kesaev, respectively the director and the funder of the Stella Art Foundation, have recently purchased a Constructivist garage in the centre of Moscow for a planned museum to house their foundation’s collections.

The couple showed their private collection of postwar art in Vienna a year ago, and the foundation financed an Ilya and Emilia Kabakov exhibition at St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum(www.hermitagemuseum.org) in 2005, as well as Culture Minister Alexander Avdeev’s trip to the Venice Biennale for the opening of the Russian Pavilion this year.

Despite the state’s inability and reluctance to provide financial aid, the Ministry of Culture may still provide funds by drawing on Russian businesses.

Russian oligarchs invest in art to rehabilitate their image with the Kremlin, buying works abroad and bringing them (or “returning” them, in patriotic terms) to Russia.

Read full article at ARTINFO

Contributed by Wendy Ma

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Posted in Art districts, Art Funds, Funding, Moscow, Museums, Russia, Russian | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

More art, better art, riskier art at Art HK 09

Posted by artradar on May 19, 2009


HONG KONG ART FAIR

“What do you think of the art fair this year?” Advisors, fair visitors, writers and artists graciously suffered our question ‘du jour’ for the duration of the much-anticipated second edition of Art HK.

Tipped to be the Art Basel of Asia after its successful inaugural edition in 2008 we, along with art market participants around the world, were curious to know if this year’s show was still on track to fulfill its promise.

There was more art on offer this time with 110 participants (up from 101 in 2008) and there was a consensus view that the show was well-organised. “The management of the show is slick, very slick,” said a reporter from an established London-based arts magazine.

Whether it was the latent potential of the Asian market or the polished work by organisers Asian Art Fairs Ltd , a collaboration between Single Market Events, Andry Montgomery and Will Ramsay of Pulse Contemporary Art Fairs, prestigious galleries such as New York’s Gagosian and London’s White Cube signed up for the first time this year in an unexpected coup for a fair so early in its career.

But what about the quality of the art? Did it hold up against the top international art fairs? What did galleries dare to bring to a new market in the midst of a wrenching recession? How safe did they play it?

The answer: Happily not very safe at all. The utilitarian convention centre hall venue was filled to the rafters with eye-sizzling  non-decorative pieces: intriguing installations vied with over-sized multi-media works and towering sculptures.

Last year Amelia Johnson Contemporary sold Macau-based Russian artist Konstantin Bessmertny’s  popular paintings  like sweets. The year she also showed his more demanding enormous horse sculpture/installation/performance piece Momentum pro Aliquis 2008/9, a riderless Renaissance horse in wood.

“It is much, much better than last year” said a Hong Kong-based art advisor with 15 years of experience. “It is more cutting edge, much riskier”. Managing editor of Orientations magazine, Hwang Yin agreed “Yes the quality of the art is far better this year, less Chinese painting. The work on show is much more interesting.”

Even a Hong Kong hedge fund manager fair visitor who has not purchased an artwork in 10 years noticed the difference. “The quality is up several notches compared with last year. I found plenty of ideas and I am thinking of buying a piece this time”.  An account manager for a London-based arts magazine visiting the fair for first time said she liked the art at the fair because it is ‘international’ and was particularly intrigued by the Korean works because of their novel use of space and materials.

While feedback was overwhelmingly positive, there were a few stray, albeit muted, dissenters. A young highly-regarded Asian curator was less enthusiastic: “I think the art could be better but to be honest I am biassed. I have a problem with fairs anyway as I come from a non-profit background. But I can say that the work at Green Cardamom is stellar and The Drawing Room is showing some interesting pieces too”.

Hong Kong artist James Feldmanblogged unhappily about the Ferdinand Botero-like fat figure sculptures and the ‘saccharine kitsch’ from Beijing. But he did like Baselitz and Schnabel: “they stood out like a couple of grizzled WWII vets swaggering through a kindergarten”.

Surprise was the response of renowned Biennale-exhibiting artist Din Q. Le from Vietnam whose solo show South China Sea Pishkun at 10 Chancery Lane opened during the fair. “I am taken aback by the enthusiasm for the fair that everyone is showing. In the west the art scene is kind of depressed.”  

Hong Kong is known for its energetic, can-do culture and maybe that accounted for some of the fizz and excitement.  But for Johann Nowak of DNA Berlin, it was the future opportunities offered by the Asian art market which made his voice bubble with excitement as he talked to us. He believes Hong Kong is the ‘perfect place in every way’ for an art fair. ‘It is just perfect’. Pressed for specifics he came up with a benefit new to us: he explained that one of the key advantages of Hong Kong  is that “there are no dominant galleries in the town” allowing a level playing field and equal opportunities for visiting galleries. ”There are no gallery intrigues, that is what makes Basel work so well too”.

And what about sales? 

Reuters  focussed on the performance of the major international galleries in the first days of the fair and reported ‘notable sales’ such as the  Gilbert and George ‘Gingko’ piece bought from White Cube by an Asian collector for GBP325,000. For a rounded view, Art Radar approached a few of the other lesser known and Asian galleries on the last day of the fair.

Tokyo-based Yamamoto Gendai said “We have not sold so many pieces here, about 5” and German gallery Levy reported just one sale. Korean art specialist Cais Gallery who participated last year too said they had sold 4 to 5 pieces in the US$4-8,000 range. “It is slow compared with last year, fewer collectors”. Another Japanese gallery sold 5-6 pieces in the US$5-20,000 range with much interest shown in Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photographs. Beijing -based Aye Gallery sold 7 pieces.

In terms of sales, this was a “bits and pieces” fair and on the last day the mood was less buoyant than suggested by early press reports. Nevertheless the galleries remained firmly committed to the fair because of ‘the quality’. According to Novak, this year making sales is less important than networking and exposing work to institutions and international collectors. “Next year is the year to watch sales.”

Related links: Images on Flickr, 80 images on Arrested Motion blog,

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Posted in Fairs, Hong Kong, Market watch, Recession, Russian | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Art Dubai 2009 – who sold what to whom? 15 galleries talk to Art Radar

Posted by artradar on March 23, 2009


MIDDLE EAST ART FAIR

Which artists were favourites? 15 exhibitor galleries talk to Art Radar in the final day of the fair about sales, attendance and some new collector trends.

art-dubai

Summary:

  • Middle Eastern collectors showing first signs of interest in East Asian art
  • Pieces in the price range US$20-30000 sell best
  • Sales down compared with last year; booths have mixed results
  • More art fair visitors from institutions
  • Russian collector base changing

Set out below is a round-up of comments from a selection of galleries participating in the fair.

Triumph Gallery – Russia

Ruth Addison: “The fair is going OK rather than fast in terms of sales but it is great in terms of contacts and opportunities. Some of our artists have been invited on residencies. We did not expect too much because of 1) the recession 2) Russian artists are new to the Middle East and 3) this is the first time for Triumph at the fair. Most interest has been shown in AES+F.”

Aidan Gallery – Russia

Aidan Salakhova, Director: “Sales have been slower, much as we expected. We have sold 2-3 pieces. We may come back next year but we don’t plan to attend any art fairs in the next 5-6 months. We were the first private gallery in the USSR when we opened 17 yeas ago. In Russia now there is so much change happening to the local collector base, many people are losing money and other new collectors who are making money – perhaps from the government – are entering the market and replacing them. Our aim is to survive the next couple of years and wait for the market to settle”

Grosvenor Gallery London

Connor Macklin “The fair has been better than expected for us. The mood is different this year but we have made sales in the range of US$2,000 to US$100,000 per piece”.

Haunch of Venison – London, Berlin, Zurich, New York

Adrian Sutton, Senior Sales Director “We have had a successful fair. We have sold one piece and are close with two other pieces and if they come off, sales ( of Indian artist Jitish Kallat and Wim Wenders ) will be over a quarter of a million US dollars in total.”

October Gallery London

Elizabeth Lalouschek Artistic Director: “We have found that there has been more interest in larger works. We have sold 10 works with prices varying from US$2,500 to US$90,000 including two El Anatsui works. This fair we have noticed more of an international attendance and more museum directors than in previous years. Perhaps this is because the art fair is being held at the same time as the Sharjah Biennale.”

El Anatsui at October Gallery

El Anatsui at October Gallery

Mario Mauroner Vienna Austria

“This is our third time here and it has been very quiet. Most interest has been shown in Barthelmy Toguo from Cameroon. We did well at Bologna and Arco so Art Dubai has been disappointing . But we set up in 1972 and have survived recessions dating back to the 1973 oil crisis so I don’t doubt we will survive this too.”

Galerie Kashya Hildebrand  Switzerland

Kashya Hildebrand “This is our third trip and we are very happy because members of the Royal Family have bought Asian art for the first time – a Korean artist….a major development.

There is a also a group of serious Dubai-based Iranian collectors who come to the fair. They take their purchases very seriously, pore over the pieces, ask lots of questions and return each day. Last year this group also began to buy Asian art for the first time which is very exciting.”

Korean artist Ran Hwang purchased by Royal Family

Korean artist Ran Hwang purchased by Royal Family

Galerie Volker Diehl Moscow, Berlin

Monica F. Eulitz International Director:  “The fair has been very well attended and we have seen buyers from the entire Gulf region this year not just local participants. We have sold a few pieces in the US$20,000-30,000 range.”

 Kalfayan Galleries  Greece

Roupen Kalfayan: ” Sales have been so-so but it has been wonderful for contacts. Business is slower than last year. This is our second year.. We have had a lot of interest in the Syrian photographer Hrair Sarkissianwho will be exhibiting at the Istanbul Biennale. He started to receive attention from collectors last year and we have placed his work with European collectors at the fair this year. Also Tarek Al Ghoussein.”

B21 Dubai

Tessa de Caters: “We have made some sales and the video and digital Iranian artist Leila Pazooki has been receiving attention.

Pyo Gallery  Korean

Jeong Yim Gho, Chief curator “It is slow compared with last year. Last year was pretty good but not this year though we have made a few sales in the US$20-30,000 range” Most interest was shown in Park, Sung-Tae.

Hakgojae Gallery, Seoul

Kim Jyon director “This is our first visit and sales have not been good. U Fan has sold and there has been a lot of interest in Lee Lee Nam but no sales yet of this artist’s work.”

Aicon GalleryNew York, Palo Alto, London

“Sales are reasonable but much slower than last year”

Bodhi Art Mumbai

Puneet Shah Asst Gallery Manager: “It has been slow fair for us. We have made no sales. The artist which has attracted most attention is Subodh Gupta.

Edwynn Houk Gallery New York  US

Edwynn Houk “This is our first year and we have made a good beginning. We have sold 6 pieces, all photographs by Lalla Essaydi. We have found that Western artists seem to have less resonance with local collectors this year but perhaps interest will develop over time. We would like to come back to Art Dubai”

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Russian billionaire collector Mikhelson continues support for art despite downturn – Bloomberg

Posted by artradar on February 16, 2009


RUSSIAN ART COLLECTOR

Varoli reports on Bloomberg that Leonid Mikhelson is sponsoring a display of 30 works by 20th-century Russian master artist Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, many of which are well known to the public.

Billionaire Leonid Mikhelson’s company OAO Novatek is sponsoring Russia’s first exhibition of a state museum’s works by a private gallery, with a display of 30 masterpieces by the 20th-century master Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin.

Russia’s second-biggest gas producer is making history 534 miles southeast of Moscow at the Victoria Gallery in the Volga city of Samara. Patronage is aiding Russian culture despite the decline in economic growth, stocks and the ruble.

Some of the paintings, known to many Russians since childhood, show a Bolshevik leader dying on the battlefield and a peasant riding a red horse which sails off into the sky.

“Novatek doesn’t abandon friends in hard times,” Vladimir Smirnov, Novatek’s vice-chairman, said in an interview. “We will continue to finance exhibitions at leading Russian museums.” The pieces are on loan from St. Petersburg’s State Russian Museum.

Novatek’s  is also financing the Russian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in June 2009.

The company is the main sponsor and has pledged 300,000 euros ($385,700). Mastercard Worldwide is another leading sponsor of the pavilion, while the Russian government pays about 10 percent of the costs.

“Without Novatek’s support, it wouldn’t have been possible to pull this off,” said Olga Sviblova, chairwoman of the Russian Pavilion. “Most Russian companies prefer to support classical art, not contemporary art.”

About Mikhelson:

Novatek Chief Executive Officer Mikhelson is a collector of Russian fine art. While he declined to comment about his collection, art dealers say he prefers 19th-century and early 20th-century Russian art.

Born in a town on the Caspian Sea in Russia’s republic of Dagestan, Mikhelson graduated in 1977 from Samara’s Civil Engineering Institute. Before helping to create Novatek in 1994, he spent most of his career building gas pipelines.

In April 2008, Forbes estimated Mikhelson’s fortune at $5.9 billion, and ranked him as Russia’s 27th richest person.

Source: Bloomberg

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Posted in Biennials, Recession, Russia, Russian | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Kandinsky prize winner Russian artist Alexey Beliavev-Guintovt prices boosted by continuing controversy

Posted by artradar on January 30, 2009


Beliayev-Guintovt Star

Beliayev-Guintovt Star

 

RUSSIAN ART PRIZE

The Art Newspaper reports that Kandinsky Prize prize winner Alexey Beliavev-Guintovt continues to cause controversy and threatens a split amongst the supporters of the Russian contemporary art scene.

“These (art) unprecedented divisions in a community which hitherto has been more-or-less united to promote contemporary art in and outside Russia,” said Matthew Bown, a Russian art dealer based in London.

Artist accused of being fascist, jury member disavows vote

The debacle began on the night of the award ceremony when 2007 winner Anatoli Osmolovsky

stood up and lambasted Beliayev-Guintovt when he was announced the winner. In the days and weeks that followed, prominent dealers, critics and curators readily gave interviews accusing the artist of being a “fascist” and “ultra-nationalist” for his views, and his art style that harks back to Stalinist-era aesthetics.

Friedhelm Hutte, a jury member and representative of Deutsche Bank, the prize’s co-sponsor, retracted his vote for Beliayev-Guintovt in an interview with the German website, Taz.de.

Beliayev-Guintovt prices boosted by controversy

Whatever the state of the argument, and despite the economic downturn, the Kandinsky Prize and all the surrounding controversy have done the winner no harm at all. Triumph Gallery reports that prices of Beliayev-Guintovt’s works are up by 30%.

Source: The Art Newspaper

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Posted in Emerging artists, Moscow, Painting, Prizes, Russia, Russian | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »