I always liked the niche player approach of the Viennese art fair: They were focusing on their neighborhood: Art form Central and Eastern Europe. There are 29 of exhibiting 122 galleries from this region.
In recent years many artists from this tiger state region were very exciting, but not yet as overhyped as – for instants (emerging market) artists from China or India.
The overall impression is that of a good satellite art fair to a big one like Basel or Armory. Thanks to exhibition director Edek Bartz Viennafair 2009 is never embarrassing: As everywhere there is bad art too, but not more than anywhere else. The big Viennese galleries who are acting globally (Krinzinger, Hilger, Kargl, and so on) showed mostly an overview on their program and gave the fair a ‘premium’ touch.
I think in general: Viennafair is ok.
There was an interesting interactive video projection by Romanian 2META group (Maria Manolescu and Romelo Pervolovici). It was called ‘Sousveillance’. There were numerous eyes projected at the wall. With an electronic wand you could open an eye and create an individual sound of this eye.
The artists say: ‘If by surveillance we understand the art of watching over the activities of persons or groups from a higher authority, sousfeillance does no longer transform the individual to a target (…) the viewer and the user are those who sousveil (create, select, activate the image).’
Feriancova Contemporary from Bratislava, Slovak Republic, showed a nice wall installation of 2002 by Dorotha Kenderová: It was called ‘All about Eve’ and consisted of perfume logos that constructed a sentence between Eve and Adam.
Eastern-Europe art specialist Knoll Gallery (Vienna and Budapest) showed two scary light boxes by the Russian art group AES + F of their ‘Defilé’ series. The group of artists took photos of unknown people found dead in the streets of Moscow, Russia. In the morgue they have been dressed up by the artists in fancy designer clothes and photographed. This way they give their last defilé in the arts world. Very provocative - as Russian artists often are.
In his second booth Hans Knoll devotes a one-man-show to Tony Cragg with an excellent selection of sculptures.
Andreas Huber Gallery, who is operating Internationally (Miami, Basel,…), and focusing on young art showed interesting work by conceptual Austrian painter(?) Florian Schmidt.
There was also an interesting spice sculpture by Portuguese artist Joao Pedro Vale. It was fully covered by curry, a smelling reference to the Portuguese colonial history. The art dealer, Ms. Filomena Soares, told me that they sold already another work by this artist to the Tate collection, London.
As I said, there was boring art too: Austrian artist Gustav Troger, who is known for gluing bits of mirrors on everything he gets his hands on, did this also to a boat in the booth of Artelier Contemporary.
But I rather prefere the elegant sculptures by Tony Cragg.
I cannot understand why you don't like the work of Gustav Troger. Obviously you are an ignorant!
Even the fair's catalogue says that he is collected by prestigious collectors:
MUMOK Vienna,Albertina Vienna and many Austrian and American private collections.