Volta5 is a satellite fair to Art Basel. The fith edition of the curated art fair Volta5 in Basel was located in the Markthalle right across the train station. The location was somewhere between warehouse and white cube.
There were 110 galleries of 29 countries. 18.000 visitors saw the fair. The preview attracted not only important collectors like Jerry Speyer (NYC), Susan and Michael Hort (NYC), Anita Zabludowicz (London) or Thomas Olbricht (Berlin), but also institutional buyers like the MoCA San Francisco.
In general, I have the feeling that new comer art currently is not easy to sell. You can notice this especially at all satellite art fairs as there always are the younger galleries with the younger art. Many collectors know that and bargain even harder for higher discounts. That makes is even more difficult for the art dealers to promote their artists.
What about the art?
ADN gallery of Barcelona offered for € 32,000 a spectacular life size sculpture by the young Spanish artist Eugenio Merino: It is called 'Pretty Murakami' and shows Japanese artist Takashi Murakami as pretty woman prositute. (It even wears one of the handbags desigend by Murakami.) When I was there it was not sold yet but according to the gallery a curator invited the artist to the next Shanghai Biennial.
I think it is critical and it is fun – but I am not sure: If Merino would have the success Murakami has, wouldn’t he do handbags too? Isn’t he too close to Maurizio Cattelan?
I noticed some interesting conceptual drawings by Ryan Gander at the booth of Gallery Taro Nasu, Tokyo: The work 'As if it had fallen page (Rose's arm)' of 2009 is the photo of his drawing as a tattoo.
'Investigation 61 - An idea Diluted' of 2008 consists of 3 drawings about Vincent van Gogh and the role of an artist. They are made on seized transfers that can be printed on the wall. It is interesting how he questions the 'original' - but sells it in an edition of 3.
Polish sculptor Olaf Brzeski uses the creative power of fire: He showed his sculptures in the booth of Czarna gallery, Warsaw.
His fire related works are integrated in the walls of the booth. For ‘Dream – Spontaneous Combustion’ He burns the walls of the booth and combines it with his artificial smoke made of resin. Or he burns the wall and has the teeth of a smile appear. He says: ‘Fire is nothing but a change in the form of matter.’
I like his work.
Brazilian art dealer Nara Roesler showed interesting work by the Biennale artist Alberto Baraya: In his series 'Proyecto herbario de plantas artificiales' he makes 19th century science style herbariums of artificial flowers made of plastic. That gives an interesting dialogue between artificial and natural.
After his art submarine surfaced a week ago in the Venice Biennial Barbarian art gallery (Zürich / Moscow) showed some earlier photos and drawings by Alexander Ponomarev. He is both, a trained artist and a naval engineer. The art dealer says the colorful painting on the submarine transform this weapon into a peace symbol.
Wasn't there a song about a yellow submarine?
At the exit there was a spectacular work by Zilvinas Kempinas: ‘Flux’. It is a magnetic tape that seemed to fly in the air of a fan without being fixed somewhere. It is like a magic trick you cannot figure out.
This year, of all the satellite fairs I saw in Basel, Volta5 was the one I liked most.