Vienna Contemporary 2018 Second part

As I already mentioned in the first part of the post about Vienna Contemporary, the countries present are mainly from Central- and Eastern Europe; still, few galleries come also from Korea, China, Northern Europe. A special focus is dedicated to Armenia after the recent Velvet Revolution, which took place in April and May 2018 and has revolutionised as well the national perception of art, creating a new dimension of artistic language that just until recent times has been the only way to protest.

What literally surprises me is when I see the name next to three drawings: Kostya Novoselov. And when I start reading the caption my supposition gets confirmed: he is the Konstantin Novoselov who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for having succeeded in isolating a single layer of graphite, the exceptional graphene (and since I am a scientist too I like to show you the structure of both: the Art of Nature).

The three drawings are realised with the same material he has studied so extensively: graphene ink (and Chinese ink) on rice paper. I find this simply amazing.

Kostya Novoselov, New music, 2018
The molecular structure of graphene (a) and graphite (b) (fig. by Rory Brown taken from here)

And a huge Carrara marble from the artist Thom Puckey represents a naked woman walking on her knees and one hand while holding a gun and hiding a knife behind the back. I find impressive the contraposition between the use of such a classic and noble material to picture, in my opinion, what is probably one of the most controversial topics at the moment: the subordination of women, the social vulnerability that puts them –us – on a constant alert and defensive mode; and still the awareness and the strength to react in any possible way –with any possible means.

Annie Gentils Gallery – Antwerp (BE); artist: Thom Puckey

An interesting and varied collection of artworks is displayed by the H.A.N. Gallery from Seoul: a frame with overlaid grids that recreate a picture in black and white (Seungmo Park); a futuristic light installation (Susanne Rottenbacher); and some metal elephants whose legs recall the visionary animals of Dalì (Wook-Jang Cheung).

Gallery H.A.N. – Seoul (KR); various artists
Gallery H.A.N. – Seoul (KR); various artists

The Trafo Gallery, which I already mentioned in the first part of this post, offers as well some futuristic art, representing Michal Cimala with his robotic lit mannequins; while the Tobe Gallery exhibits some portrait photography in which the light (or better the darkness) and the subjects remind in a way the portrait paintings from the Renaissance, giving a timeless allure to the picture.

Tobe Gallery – Budapest (RM); artist: László Mészáros

At the booth of the Bechter Kastowsky Galerie the artworks acquire new dimensionality by hanging one on the other and getting complete by the wallpainting.

Bechter Kastowsky Galerie – Vienna (AT); artist: Philip Patkowitsch

These are just few examples I found interesting to mention, mainly to show the variety of the selections made for introducing what is going on in and around the European art world. I hope I did stimulate your curiosity, and maybe we’ll see each other there next year!

For galleries and artists out there, the call for 2019 is now open. Have fun with art!

Artelier Contemporary – Graz (AT); artist: Sonja Gangl, O.R.G.A.S.M. #2



Vienna Contemporary 2018

Two weeks ago Vienna was hit by a great number of artists, collectors, gallerists, or simply art lovers thanks to two big events dedicated to contemporary art: Parallel and Vienna Contemporary. Due to time restrictions I decided to visit the latter since, well, I don´t like to be redundant but, I kind of ran into it…

Marx Halle, entrance of Vienna Contemporary; artist: Golif

Vienna Contemporary is an international art fair born from an idea of Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt in 2015, to gather more and less famous artists coming mainly from Austria, but also Central- and Eastern Europe.

Bechter Kastowsky galerie – Vienna (AT); artist: Philip Patkowitsch

I feel excited by the opportunity of visiting it, and very curious about the selection. I start walking around, being impressed by the size of the exhibition –120 galleries and 500 artists– and the variety of styles, techniques, and people. It is very interesting to find connections among the galleries coming from the same country, in terms of colours, materials, forms, arrangements. And together with the exhibition there is also place for open discussions and interviews. I am happily lost looking around when I realize the first talk is starting. (Now I really don´t want to write a journalistic article about it, even if that´s what it may result in the end; but I do find worth to mention some interesting things I have listened to).

Artload – “A-live” interview series at Vienna Contemporary; curator and moderator: Vivian Gandelsman, guests: Stuart and John Evans

The talk I attend is with Stuart and John Evans, a father-and-son couple of art collectors, who present themselves and their role in the art world.

A collector has a crucial part in supporting artists, helping them getting into the market, introducing them to galleries or sometimes even financing them; and as well their attentive eye and –most of all– their passion for art make them a touchstone for newcomers, whether gallerists or new collectors. This, of course, requires a constant dedication. For the last ten years, in particular, they have been searching for new art from Latin America and started to build a new collection.

While listening to them describing their recent travels to Brazil, exploring different little shops and ateliers, I can shape a very nice picture in my head: the talented hidden artist discovered by the resolute and fond seeker. And this is what I like to imagine in an ideal world: that anywhere you are, any background or environment you have around, if you are talented you will emerge. Well, collectors make it happen! And not only because they can afford to buy expensive pieces – on the contrary, often it is thanks to them if the quotations of an artist arise. But the first, main reason moving them is the deep love for art. Stuart Evans uses a beautiful sentence while talking about his background:

“Art is transformative, but when you commit it rewards you.”

Probably you can apply it to anything, sure; we are still talking about human intellect, and human intellect has multiple directions but the same modus operandi, in the end.

I keep looking around with one big question buzzing in my head, the one I didn´t dare to ask at the open discussion: how can you tell whether a craft/hand work is actually an art work? I look around and I see so many different works: some are beautiful, some are very well done, some are…a big question mark. The answer, though, comes by itself while imagining all the different stories behind any single brush stroke, behind the lens, behind every concept; some may like it, some may not; still, certainly there is a story worth to be told.

(to be continued…)

Trafo Gallery – Prague (CZ); artist: Michal Cimala
Vienna Contemporary – partial overview