A building and lots of people walking around

Photo London is one of the leading photographic fairs

Photo London’s ninth edition aims to integrate photography into the contemporary art world. But can it? Isabella Fergusson finds out

The cobbles of Somerset House aren’t quite bearing the catwalks of heels, neon suits and russet trousers one sees at Frieze or Art Basel. More cameras than Gucci bags slung across shoulders, more prams pushed, more WatchHouse coffee than Ruinart champagne. It seems more democratic – but to its strength or its downfall?

100 exhibitors, 44 cities worldwide: the numbers are good for London’s top photography fair, and returning galleries are strong. But, ever since photography entered the commercial world in the ‘70s, it has been seen as something of a niche by many. Its Director, Kamiar Maleki insists, however, that 2024 has seen yet more progress in cranking the door open to a contemporary art-collector-base.

man looking at picture in an art fair

This year’s Photo London is curated by Dani Matthews and entitled Shifting Horizons; photograph by Isabella Sanai

What’s happening this year that’s made it successful? ‘We’re branching out,’ he says, ‘we’re including more film, more mediums, and the car’ – he points to a navy electric car, a Lunaz, parked in the Somerset House courtyard – ‘which has been invested in by big names such as David Beckham – these have helped gain traction’. Is this because photography is not attractive enough by itself? ‘We have to entice the High Net Worths through other mediums’, he responds diplomatically. Perhaps a hint that photography alone still lacks respect; but perhaps, too, a testament to Maleki’s success in luring people into giving it the attention it deserves.

a woman in front of a daguerrotype image

Rebecca Hicks, Director of Purdy Hicks, in the reflection of a daguerrotype by Japanese photographer Takashi Arai; photographed by Joe Oswald

Photography’s technical gymnastics are exhibited with undeniable flair: see Takashi Arai’s impressive daguerrotypes, Susan Derge’s cameraless photography, laid directly over Dartmoor puddles of frogspawn, and Roope Rainisto’s AI-based works, thrumming with viewers, to a remarkable manipulation of printing mediums across the fair. The number of mediocre works was to be expected, but the number which stood out as sensational from the many Michael Jackson-type portraits was higher than one might imagine.

an exhibition room

Photo London brings together the world’s leading galleries in a major international photography Fair at Somerset House; photograph by Isabella Sanai

Sales? Well, as Rebecca Hicks, Director of Purdy Hicks, comments, the general consensus is that sales ‘remain quiet so far’. Maleki slides past the question with an ‘ask me on Tuesday!’ Fru Tholstrup, London-based art advisor and curator, though, beams with anomalous success of her showcase of Mariano Vivanco’s work from his latest book, ‘Peru’, hopping through folklore and mythology expressing striking figures between humans and animals, which one tends to associate with drawings rather than photography. Mariano remains confident in photography’s ability to leak into fine art, with a winking ‘Respect Photography, or Die!’. And he’s sold with fine art figures, too.

man standing outside a building in a suit

Kamiar Maleki, Director of Photo London; photograph by Joe Oswald

Some dealers insist they are at Photo London for the artistic exposure as much as sales. Gerber & Stauffer Fine Arts has an exhibition featuring Iranian-born Rahi Rezvani, introduced to the commercial world for the first time. Successful in luxury, performing arts and entertainment industries, he has never before sold a single print of his works.

man in front of image in of the sea

French photographer Valérie Belin has been named as the Master of Photography 2024; photograph by Isabella Sanai

But why start now? ‘People think success in photography is selling lots of photographs. I disagree. It’s about choosing carefully and selling well.’ He refuses to sell hundreds of his prints he has laid out, from a portrait of Quentin Tarantino to fiery images of dance, to a triptych covered in a natural substance he associates with sperm. Technologically, these seem extremely impressive, perhaps as or even more than those on the wall. When asked how he took them, he smiles knowingly, holding back. Brimming with confidence, he isn’t particularly interested in selling lots, but few, well-chosen ones.

That’s the way to elevate photography to the fine art world, he and Thomas Stauffer, Director of Gerber & Stauffer Fine Arts agree. Reduce the print number – even to one (in the case of his photograph ‘Willem Dafoe’) – signed with guarantee of no reproduction, and photography can have the value and respect of art. Although, in general, the knowledge that further prints can be made will always linger with all types of photography except polaroid. Even when reducing the number of editions, photography still remains on the precarious edge for established contemporary collectors.

man with red hair and blue background

Willem Dafoe, photographed by Rahi Rezvani, 2012

It’s entirely the other way around for Ana Matos, Director of Salgadeiras Arte Contemporânea. The very fact that, unlike painting, photography editions expands to an average of 5 to 7 means that it gains a democratic value, attracting a new wave of emerging millennial collectors. Such can be seen in the floor for the Nikon Emerging Photographers Award, part of Photo London. The average age decreases, buzz increases and – while sales are still reportedly quiet – the recognition and discussions are engaging a new crowd in collecting. Perhaps it’s not so much about gaining older contemporary art collectors, but shifting the next generation of collectors to photography.

man in front of an image of mountains

Photo London has two major exhibitions as part of the Public Programme, over 120 new and returning international exhibitors; photograph by Joe Oswald

And perhaps, by virtue of its less revered status, Photo London does focus more for new art and expression than collector-base. As photographer Maryam Eisler comments, ‘Photo London is a place of discovery and new talent.’ One can meet the photographs at eye-level, rather than kneel before them, and the fair is focused on the artform itself, and forming a snapshot of its growing identity and credibility. One feels closer to it all, somehow. And – as Eisler also points out – this is aided by its ‘excellent satellite programme of talks and critical thinking.’

reflection of a woman taking a picture in front of a picture

Photo London 2024 features over 400 photographers from around the globe; photograph by Joe Oswald

Photography remains on the sideline of established contemporary art; sales seem quiet. But, stripped of the catwalk-tendency of many art fairs, which can distract from the art itself, the model of a fair where art is accessible and thought about, rather than prized solely for sales, may be commercially more challenging, but is extremely refreshing. And, though established collectors may not dive into buying, photography might just present a more democratic art world – with a long way to go.

Photo London runs at Somerset House from 16-19 May 2024

See More: photolondon.org

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Reading time: 5 min
man and woman sitting next to each other
man and woman sitting next to each other

Magnus Renfrew has twenty years’ experience in the international art world, the last decade of which have been spent in Asia

Magnus Renfrew knows about art fairs in Asia. He co-founded Art Hong Kong (now Art Basel Hong Kong) and has launched numerous other fairs in the region. He speaks with LUX about Art SG, the fair he and his partners launched in Singapore as a hub for Southeast Asia, the Asian art market, and the future of art fairs

LUX: Do you think Singapore will become an art and/or cultural hub for Southeast Asia? Why did you choose Singapore rather than (for example) Bangkok, Jakarta, or KL?

Magnus Renfrew: Each city is unique with individual strengths and spheres of influence. Singapore is the gateway to Southeast Asia and as the de facto hub for the region, which has a population of 650 million people nearing the size of Europe, so logic dictates that it too should host an international art fair to serve a region that has some of the fastest growing economies in the world. What’s more, Southeast Asia has a diverse and exciting range of cultural ecosystems, and we want to bring together these communities alongside the international art world. Singapore has exceptional infrastructure and transport links, great hotels and restaurants, English is commonly spoken, Mandarin is commonly spoken. All these factors make it an exceptional place to host a major international art fair.

Furthermore, Singapore has a strong local art scene, with local galleries and considerable government investment in art and culture, which sees an active interest in growing the ecosystem in the city. The city’s cultural landscape is developing rapidly with world class museums such as the National Gallery of Singapore, Singapore Art Museum, alongside a growing cluster of commercial galleries, and an increasingly engaged community of collectors. We saw the successful launch of our inaugural edition last year, and I am excited to see the fair continue to develop against this exciting backdrop.

The case for Singapore is continuing to build as it gains greater importance geo-economically, geo-politically and as the Asia centre of wealth management. Singapore is in the ascent in every aspect and culture will inevitably be a part of that story.

LUX: You have significant fairs in Japan and Taiwan. What is the secret of a successful art fair in East Asia?

MR: It is important to have a solid premise for the fair, to identify the natural catchment area, to focus on who the fair serves, and to build domestic and regional support from all stakeholders – the government, galleries, collectors, and institutions. There are no shortcuts and it takes time to build.

What are the differences between Art SG and Art HK at a similar stage?

MR: The overall context of the art market in Asia is of course very different and the collector base across Asia has developed out of all recognition. In a very short space of time ART SG has successfully been able to attract a geographically diverse audience from across Southeast Asia and beyond. The context for ART SG is very different. When we started ART HK there were few institutions and an art scene heavily focused on auctions – it is arguable that ART HK played a significant role in building the case for Hong Kong as a cultural hub and in encouraging collectors to understand the importance of the gallery system. Singapore’s art scene is much more established than Hong Kong was when we launched, with a vibrant gallery scene and exceptional institutions, as well as a pro-active private collectors and foundations. This was reflected in the extraordinary diversity and quality of offerings during Singapore Art Week.

ART SG has its own distinctive identity as an important meeting point for collectors and art lovers from Southeast Asia and around the world by bringing together the best of regional and international galleries and artists, alongside dynamic programming to deepen understanding of its cultural context.

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LUX: Second year of Art SG saw some galleries (Perrotin, Zwirner, Esther Schipper) not return – why? Will they be back?

MR: Galleries have a host of different reasons that play into their decision making including their own programming. Pace is going to be opening their space in Tokyo this year, so they will be participating in Tokyo Gendai for the first time. Perrotin has chosen to do Taipei Dangdai and Tokyo Gendai this year. A number of galleries who chose to sit out ART SG this year visited the Fair and expressed how impressed they were with the quality of attendance, the buzz and the energy. I would anticipate that we will be working again with those galleries in Singapore and elsewhere in the future.

Colourful art

Southeast Asia’s leading international art fair (ART SG), attracted 43’000 visitors in 2023.

LUX: How did this year’s edition do, commercially?

MR: We are delighted by the response to the second edition of ART SG. Throughout the fair’s four days, galleries reported speedy and sustained sales, with works placed in major private and institutional collections. Galleries highlighted an enthusiastic response from both established and emerging collectors from all corners of the world, with many noting that ART SG had provided a great platform for meeting new collectors.

A snapshot of reported sales include: Thaddeaus Ropac sold a work by Anselm Kiefer for EUR 1.1 million, alongside works by Lee Bul, Miquel Barceló, Jules de Balincourt, Alex Katz, Oliver Beer, Mandy El-Sayegh, and James Rosenquist; Sundaram Tagore sold a range of works by Hiroshi Senju, Jane Lee, Miya Ando, and Zheng Lu for a combined total of over USD 1 million; White Cube sold works by Tracey Emin, Jessica Rankin, and Darren Almond, among others for a combined total of GBP 1.5 million; Waddington Custot sold two sculptures by Barry Flanagan, including a work sold for USD 680,000 to a Chinese resident of Singapore, an installation featured as part of PLATFORM by Ian Davenport sold for USD 360,000 and two sculptures by Yves Dana, including a work for sold for USD 92,000 to a collector based in Singapore; Lehmann Maupin sold a number of works, including a painting by David Salle sold for USD 250,000 to a prominent family collection in Singapore, alongside multiple works by Lee Bul and Kim Yun Shin for prices within the range of USD 200,000 – 300,000 and USD 60,000 – 90,000 respectively; Johyun Gallery sold a number of works, including a painting by Park Seo-Bo for USD 250,000 and multiple works by Lee Bae for prices in the range of USD 50,000 – 180,000 each; The Back Room placed an installation by Marcos Kueh featured as part of PLATFORM to an institution in Singapore with a price range between SGD 50,000 – 100,000; First-time participant Sabrina Amrani sold three works by Carlos Aires within a price range of USD 27,000 – 60,000 to private collectors in Singapore; Asia Art Center sold a number of key works by Li Chen and three works from Ju Ming’s Tai Chi Series, all of which have been acquired by private collectors, with a total value of around USD 600,000; Waterhouse & Dodd sold four works by Duncan McCormick to private collectors in the UK, South Korea, Italy and Hong Kong for a combined total of USD 150,000; albertz benda reported a sold-out presentation of three new paintings and four mixed-media watercolours by Australian painter Del Kathryn Barton to a Chinese collector on the opening day; Carl Kostyál reported a sold-out booth of Indonesian artist Atreyu Moniaga, with works priced at USD 18,000 each; Harper’s sold a painting by Eliot Greenwald for USD 40,000 and a painting by Marcus Brutus for USD 32,000; and MAKASIINI CONTEMPORARY sold works by Nir Hod and Jacob Hashimoto for USD 68,000 and USD 40,000 to private collectors in Singapore and Belgium respectively.

Read more: Shangri-La, Singapore, Review

LUX: Some collectors said to us that official programming for significant collectors was limited compared with early years of Art HK. How would you respond to this?

MR: Within ART SG’s bespoke VIP program, collectors were able to tap into a vibrant and dynamic line up of art events, openings, and after-parties to enrich their experience of the overall fair and art week, including private collection visits in collectors’ residences, artist studio visits, gallery openings, and more. Collectors were able to RSVP to openings and curator-led tours of private collection and foundation exhibitions such as Translations: Afro-Asian Poetics by non-profit collector-led foundation The Institutum, curated by Dr Zoe Whitley, director of Chisenhale Gallery, London, Rough, presented by The Pierre Lorinet Collection, and Chronic Compulsions presented by The Private Museum, as well as tours of major museum exhibitions at the National Gallery of Singapore and Singapore Art Museum. There were after-hours events including specially curated art parties at the National Gallery Singapore, ArtScience Museum, and Soho Residency, and a young collectors’ party at a spectacular new venue with views over the Singapore skyline. Our collector programming also offered immersive art and food dining experiences created especially for ART SG, such as Indochina by Senang Supper Club which featured two Cambodian artists discussing their art and non-profit initiative in Siem Reap over a curated menu from the Indochina region; a walking tour of cultural precinct Kampong Glam led by award winning cookbook author Khir Johari and Michelin-starred chef Ivan Brehm; and a four-hands Afro-Asian dinner which reflected the narrative and curation of the Translations exhibition. In addition to the official programming by the fair, there were also a number of gallery dinners, collector-hosted evenings, and karaoke nights and many other parties to round off the week.

LUX: What will you change about the fair for 2025?

MR: We will be doubling down on VIP outreach across our core constituency of Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and also Vietnam, as well as markets with a resonance with Singapore, such as Australia, New Zealand, Chia and South Asia, and expanding the programming of the fair both within on-site and for collectors throughout the city. We will be working on more collaborations with privately owned museums and foundations, as alignment with collector-led initiatives that seek to make a difference is key to ART SG’s ambition to grow the regional ecosystem.

art exhibiton

The Art SG 2023 showcased an assembly of leading galleries from the region and around the world

LUX: What is the main collector base for Art SG?

MR: There is an established base of sophisticated collectors in Southeast Asia and a younger generation of new buyers who are hungry to engage with contemporary art.

Singapore is also increasingly home to the region’s wealth base as demonstrated by the growing number of family offices opening here, as well as its emerging position as Asia’s tech capital. This together with established international businesses and entrepreneurs recognising the benefits of Singapore as the base for their pan-Asian operations, provides the context for a rapidly developing, forward thinking and affluent collector base, who are increasingly engaging with Singapore’s rich cultural landscape.

Thousands of VIPs attended the preview day of ART SG’s highly anticipated second edition. Strong attendance from both local and international collectors and leading figures from institutions, museums, and foundations, hailing from Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia, Japan, Korea, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan as well as Europe and the US. Notable visitors include:

Collectors

  • Alan Lau, Hong Kong
  • Albert Lim & Linda Neo, Singapore
  • Alexander Tedja, Indonesia
  • Alina Xie, China
  • Andrew Xue, Founder of Pond Society, China & Singapore
  • Belinda Tanoto, Founder of Tanoto Art Foundation, Indonesia
  • Dato Noor Azman Mohd Nurdin, Malaysia
  • Disaphol Chansiri, Thailand
  • Ellie Lai, Taiwan
  • Eric Booth & Jean-Michel Beurdeley, MAIIAM, Thailand
  • Evan Chow, Hong Kong
  • Han Nefkens, Han Nefkens Foundation, Spain
  • Harayanto Adikoesoemo, Founder of Museum MACAN, Indonesia Iwan Kurniawan Lukminto, Founder of Tumurun Museum, Indonesia Jack Feng, China/Singapore
  • Ji Dahai, Founder of Yalv River Art Museum, China
  • Jim Amberson, Singapore
  • Justine Tek, Director and CEO, Yuz Museum, China
  • Kim & Lito Camacho, Singapore
  • Kit Bencharongkul, MOCA Bangkok, Thailand
  • Kulapat Yantrasast, USA
  • Leo Shih, Taiwan
  • Li Fan, Founder of Whale Art Museum, China & Singapore
  • Mike & Lou Samson, Philippines/Singapore
  • Nathan Gunawan, Indonesia/Singapore
  • Nishita Shah, Thailand
  • Patrick Sun, Founder of Sunpride Foundation, Hong Kong
  • Pierre Lorinet, Singapore
  • Pontiac Land Group, Singapore
  • Rath Osathanugroh, Thailand
  • Rudy Tseng, Taiwan
  • Rvisra Chirathivat, Thailand
  • Simon Cheong, Singapore
  • Shunji Oketa, Founder of Oketa Collection, Japan
  • Thomas Shao, Founder of the MetaMedia Group and the Shao Foundation, China TY Jiang, Les Yeux Art Foundation, USA
  • Wu Meng, M Art Foundation, China
  • Xiaoyang Peng, Founder of DRC No.12 space & The Bunker, China
  • Yang Bin, China

Institutions

  • Aaron Cezar, Founding Director, Delfina Foundation, UK
  • Aaron Seeto, Director, Museum MACAN, Indonesia
  • Derek Sulger, Co-Chairperson, UCCA, China
  • Eugene Tan, Director of National Gallery Singapore and Director of Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
  • Jessica S Hong, Senior Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art, Toledo Museum, USA Judith Greer, Director of International Programmes for Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE
  • Lee Dong Kook, Director, GyeonGi Cultural Foundation and Gyeonggi Province Museum, Korea
  • Mami Kataoka, Director, Mori Art Museum, Japan
  • Pi Li, Head of Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong
  • Sook-Kyung Lee, Director, The Whitworth, Manchester & 14th Gwangju Biennale Stefano Rabolli Pansera, Director, Bangkok Kunsthalle, Thailand
  • Virginia Moon, Associate Curator, Korean Art, LACMA, USA
  • Xie Siwei, Museum Director, Yuz Museum, China
  • Xue Tan, Senior Curator, Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong
  • Zoe Whitley, Director, Chisenhale London, UK

LUX: Will art fairs remain strong commercially in the coming decades?

MR: Art fairs always have and will continue to play a crucial role in the art market.

The recent edition of ART SG saw 45,303 visitors across four show days, hailing from Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia, Japan, Korea, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan as well as Europe and the US – in increase from the 43,000 visitors who attended the inaugural edition. The strong international attendance from leading private collectors, as well as directors, curators, and patrons from international museums and institutions at ART SG is a testament to the importance and appeal of the fair as the region’s leading fair.

people talking to each other

Meaningful dialogues and insightful conversations were held alongside the Fair at ART SG 2023

LUX: Will Art SG help awareness of SE Asian Art grow on the global scene, or is that not the point?

MR: Definitely. As Southeast Asia’s leading art fair, ART SG invites the world’s leading collectors and art leaders to experience Singapore and all that the region has to offer, but also encourage a new generation of emerging collectors to be inspired by the rich diversity of art the region.

ART SG 2024 saw a strong line-up of Southeast Asian galleries making a dynamic debut at the fair, as well as some of the most significant galleries from across the region, featuring both established and emerging Southeast Asian artists. Some of the highlights include FOST Gallery (Singapore) which presented a a significant showcase reflecting recent contemporary art practice in Singapore and Southeast Asia, including Donna Ong, Eng Tow, Ian Woo, Wyn- Lyn Tan, as well as Elaine Roberto-Navas and Luis Antonio Santos; Gajah Gallery (Singapore, Jakarta, Yogyakarta) which showed renowned artists from the region including Suzann Victor, Yunizar and Uji “Hahan” Handoko Eko Saputro; and BANGKOK CITYCITY (Bangkok), whose first-time participation featured a new installation by Tanatchai Bandasak, large-scale paintings by street artist Alex Face inspired by significant political movements in Thailand, and works by renowned Thai artist Korakrit Arunanondchai featuring his classic motifs of denim, fire and mythical imagery, among others.

artsg.com

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A silver metal bar with glasses in it in front of a red wall
A silver metal bar with glasses in it in front of a red wall

Barrha Bar by Yann Le Coadic. Image courtesy of Pouenat

After two years online, PAD returns to its home in Mayfair, and with it brings its eternal reverence to craft and tradition, as well as new faces to the artistic hub – heritage and innovation await

From the 10-16th October, the 14th edition of PAD London, sister to PAD Paris residing annually in the Jardin des Tuileries, returns with its celebration of 20th century and contemporary design, with “a roster of world-class interior decorators and designers”, as the various disciplines of art and design meet again.

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Grounded by the history of its founder, Patrick Perrin, a fourth generation antique dealer, the art and design fair coalesce modernist tradition and contemporary works, as 67 galleries bring designers from across 27 countries, with visitors able to walk amongst cachet mid century Italian cabinets and historic names such as Portaluppi, Scandinavian textile compositions, works from Poland to Portugal, only to gloss over the worldly exhibits awaiting. The booths will be sites of collaboration, “sparking a conversation between past and present”, as stated by Perrin, with exhibitors placing retro-futuristic and contemporary metal work alongside Brazilian modernist design; natural, sculptural forms rubbing shoulders with American furniture.

white splattered paint on a black board

‘Jackson Pollock’ Screen Room Divider by Dino Gavina & Kazuhide Takahama. Image courtesy of Portuondo London

“With their distinct approach to collecting, PAD London and PAD Paris epitomise how artistic genres across time and periods interact to reveal astonishing combinations and create the most individual and striking interiors.” says Perrin, “Over the past decades, the two PAD fairs have become a byword for connoisseurship, exquisite taste and curatorial flair, showcasing the very best in modern and contemporary design and decorative arts from the world’s leading galleries.”

green cushioned chairs with bronze metal

Chaise Maurice Armchairs by David Nicolas. Image courtesy of Nilufar, Amendolagine and Barracchia

The week will show returning masters such as Joy de Rohan, a reminder of the unique platform PAD London provides French artistry, and 18 first time exhibitors, such as London’s own Francis Sultana and Beirut based Galerie Gabriel and Guillaume.

Read more: The Special Relationship of Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar and Ali Jassim

The most established and emerging of  new voices across art and design are being exhibited, as age old techniques are adopted by young maestros. Equally a beacon of innovation, the fair promises many designers focusing on sustainable practice, with responsibly sourced materials and repurposed waste, reflecting upon materiality as a result.

A bright yellow marble looking light in front of a blue wall

Aqua Fossil Chandelier by Amarist Studio. Image courtesy of Priveekollektie

The artful world of jewellery will be presented by a triad of female gallerists, as women dominate across other mediums too, as PAD continues to deliver unending variety rooted by a deep care for craftsmanship.

PAD London will be taking place from the 10th to 16th October.

Find out more: www.padesignart.com
For tickets: tickets.padesignart.com

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A woman in a pink dress standing in front of golden and wooden doors
A woman in a pink dress standing in front of golden and wooden doors

Nazy Vassegh photographed in the Grand Hall at Two Temple Place. Photo by Alex Board

This May sees the second edition of Eye of the Collector kicking off the summer art season in London. Conceived as a new style of art fair, the concept sees Two Temple Place transformed into an imaginary collector’s home for a boutique style fair. Ahead of the opening, the founder, Nazy Vassegh, tells us why she created this unique fair and the key focus this focus this year

The idea for Eye of the Collector came about from a work trip I took to the opening of the 2019 Venice Biennale. As I wandered around extraordinary palazzi full of carefully curated breath-taking art from all eras, I questioned why art fairs were so formulaic – boring white tents and aisle after aisle of white box booths. My collector friends were also starting to complain to me about suffering from ‘fairtigue’. Given that I worked in what was supposed to be a creative industry, I thought it was time to take action.

A white tree with antlers coming out of the top

Image from Eye of the Collector 2021: Susie MacMurray, The Stalker 2021. Courtesy of Pangolin gallery

Returning to the UK, the search for an appropriate home for Eye of the Collector began. My husband was working in the fashion business at the time and had staged a show during London Fashion Week at Two Temple Place. When he showed me the building and I learnt more about the history of the interior it became quickly clear that this was the perfect home for what we wanted to achieve.

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Built in 1895 for William Waldorf Astor, then one of the richest men in the world, the brief to the architect had been to create ‘the finest building irrespective of cost’. The result is a riot of neo-Gothic panelling, stained glass windows and rare marble mosaic floors created by the finest craftsmen of the time. As a sign of true quality, the supporting pillars of the galleried landing were carved from solid ebony and, in the reinforced safe room, William Waldorf kept the title deeds for most of modern Manhattan.

A wooden room with art on the walls

Image from Eye Viewing Room, 2021 showing the Lower Gallery

My intention had always been to present art and design in a setting that collectors could imagine in the context of their own homes and this fitted the bill perfectly. Owned and run by the Bulldog Trust I also liked the idea that we were re-purposing a historic building and in so doing supporting a charity dedicated to good causes.

After a digital-only edition in 2020, Eye of the Collector finally launched in real life in September 2021. Given all the disruption of the previous eighteen months I really didn’t know what to expect. This was going to be the first real art event in a long time and no-one could predict how collectors and the wider art world would react, especially to something as new as Eye of the Collector.

A red couch in a grey and beige room with art on the wall

A range of art is shown at Eye of the Collector from works by emerging artists to the masterpiece classics

Art and design from modern day to antiquity was presented from thirty international galleries, curated as if in an imaginary collector’s home free of the traditional booths and putting the art centre stage to encourage new collecting pathways and creative artistic juxtapositions. Prices ranged from a few thousand pounds for an original work by an up-and-coming young artist to a few million pounds for an early masterpiece by Lucien Freud. This allowed collectors of all types and at all stages of their collecting journey to engage.

Read more: Sophie Neuendorf’s Inside Guide To The Venice Biennale

Our next edition will take place from 11-14 May once again at Two Temple Place, WC2. This time around we are placing an emphasis on female artists. A wide variety of works will be offered for sale including contemporary art, some made especially for the fair, mid-century and modern design, ancient art and studio ceramics.

Find out more: eyeofthecollector.com

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A girl posing in an art gallery and a man taking a photo on his IPhone
A girl posing in an art gallery and a man taking a photo on his IPhone

VOLTA Art Fair. New York City. Photo: David Willems

Kamiar Maleki entered the art world at a young age and quickly became a leading curator and collector. Now Director of Volta Art Fairs, he speaks to Contributing Editor, Samantha Welsh, about the opportunities Volta is creating for new galleries and artists, ahead of the opening of the fair in New York on 18 May
A man wearing a suit, white shirt and green tie

Kamiar Maleki. Photo by Kenneth Nars

LUX: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and where you spent your formative years?
Kamiar Maleki: I was born in Iran in 1978 to a family of politicians, military generals, and diplomats. We escaped Iran in early 1979 before the revolution. My formative years came thereafter, spent between France, USA, Germany, and the UK.

LUX: How did your appreciation for art become a compulsion to discover and collect?
KM: My appreciation for art started in Germany. I remember seeing sculptures by Niki De Saint Phalle in the squares of Germany and was mesmerised by them. We also spent much time in Vienna, where my parents exposed us to galleries, museums, and the theatre. My love of art transitioned from a love of sculpture to painting and then well beyond.

The compulsion to collect came after college. As a gift, my father gave my brother and I funds with which to begin our collections. These funds came with a condition. We were advised to extensively research and pitch to him the merit of works we wanted to acquire. If we wanted to sell anything, we had to follow the same philosophy and were required to reinvest the proceeds back into art. This activity functioned as our own personal art fund in a way. I was lucky to discover some gems early on during this period, from Ged Quinn to Oscar Murillo. The discovery of new talent became a compulsion — I truly loved meeting, supporting, and cultivating fresh talent.

two people looking at abstract art on the wall

VOLTA Art Fair. New York City. Photo: David Willems

LUX: Over time have you evolved personal guiding principles?
KM: Absolutely. The more art you see, the more you read, the broader the mindset becomes. Your ideas change as well as your tastes. You learn to hone your eye.

LUX: Is there a conversation to be had about how we buy and show art?
KM: Yes, I believe progress is always centered on continuing to question existing models. Whether through my curatorial work or my involvement in the market, I have a practical understanding of how connoisseurs and collectors discover new artists:

The art world is a social market and it operates cyclically, like a traveling nexus. If you’re setting out to expose seasoned collectors to new talent, you need proximity, both geographically and ideologically, to the key players of the art market.

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Six years ago, I curated my first show on how one buys, sells and researches art on platforms like Instagram, having bought my first piece on Instagram over seven years ago. Just last summer, I curated the very first art-in-residency program to create NFTs by collaborating with different industries, across the music industry, digital art and traditional art.

It is the responsibility of the curator or director to vet quality and content, to ensure that what you present resonates across audiences. Through exposure and education, there exists the possibility to reinvigorate how we transact.

A woman staring at a black piece of art of coming out of the wall

VOLTA Art Fair. New York City. Photo: David Willems

LUX: What was the pull for you to work for Will Ramsay of Ramsay Fairs to lead Volta Art Fair?
KM: I identified in Volta — and by extension Ramsay Fairs — a fair model that mirrored my approach to the art market. I gravitate towards discovery and towards support of galleries, artists, and platforms that posit new and fresh ideas. I see profound opportunity in the role Volta plays as a complement to the entrenched fairs in the art market’s capitals.

LUX: ‘From adversity comes opportunity!’  During the two years of the pandemic you have rebuilt and reset your pillars to ‘Discover. Connect. Collect’.  What does this entail?
KM: I am confident that after the statewide pause in New York and several challenging years globally, VOLTA can reestablish its foothold as a strong emerging- to mid-market platform at the heart of New York’s fair season.

With the May art fair calendar in New York undergoing significant transitions in the past few years, we’re energised by the chance to align Volta with Frieze Art Fair. We have the opportunity to expose new and established collectors to a distinct roster of new and returning galleries unique to Volta. Despite the challenges we faced these past years, those galleries that have emerged have done so with a newfound commitment to their program — and we have as well.

LUX: At a personal level, you mentor artists and gallerists; how do you manage this day to day?
KM: In all honesty, it has become a bit more difficult, as I am committed to fulfilling my role as director of Volta which requires a lot of travel and long hours. I’ve reframed my responsibilities to strengthen the fair’s program and to create a platform that supports our gallery network. In focusing my attention on supporting the galleries, the artists are supported by extension.

A woman showing people an art work of flowers painted on a canvas

VOLTA Art Fair. New York City. Photo: David Willems

LUX: How is Volta positioned for multi-media presentation, viewing rooms and so on?
KM: We leverage our website, the Volta Voices blog, and social media as a tool to communicate the highlights of our fair program, but we remain committed now more than ever to the in-person experience. When you navigate a fair comprised of legacy, blue-chip galleries, you’re often confronted by artworks and artists with whom you are already familiar. Our gallery roster is more experimental and less universally recognised — and that for us is very exciting! The experience of seeing the work in person and dialoguing with the gallery or artist directly at Volta is what marks that critical point of discovery and therefore distinguishes us.

Read more: 6 Questions: Bettina Korek, Serpentine Galleries

LUX: At the same time, Volta has upscaled experiential engagement, leasing a 40,000 flagship for Frieze NY.  What are you showcasing this year?
KM: At the heart of Volta New York’s program, and taking up the majority of our real estate, is a dynamic roster of over 50 galleries, some of which join us for the first time, others who previously exhibited with Volta in 2014, or 2019, and have since returned to us. Having these galleries join us on our journey has been critical to our success and therefore they are the focal point of this year’s program.

Beyond our exciting roster of exhibitors, we are welcoming several new programming partners to activate the space. For instance, we will be co-presenting the Volta Spotlight Prize with an exciting NFT platform with whom we’ve partnered. Given that we are able to congregate in person again, we’re also quite looking forward to the return of our full-service café and lounge.

A mother and child standing in front of a wall installation

VOLTA Art Fair. New York City. Photo: David Willems

LUX: How are you finding young artists are reacting to new realities, disruption and distortion?
KM: Beyond the logistical challenges, I see a renewed fervour to create and a strengthen commitment to their practice. So many artists were unable to visit their studios, to source materials, and to exhibit their work. It led to a need to innovate and adapt, hence the proliferation of digital media and new modes of creation. Now I think this digital sensibility or lens has infiltrated the market. Yet, there is still a deep desire to return to experiences, to in-person connection, to tactility.

LUX: Through ‘Volta Voices’ how are you championing emerging talent?
KM: VOLTA Voices is our online editorial platform that features a series of interviews with vanguards of the contemporary art world and friends of Volta , past, present and future. We pride ourselves on welcoming cutting edge, pioneering galleries to Volta. By extension, we see Volta Voices as yet another platform for our exhibitors to communicate their unique vision and that of their artists.

LUX: What advice will you give your children when they embark on their collecting journey?
KM: Stay curious. Don’t let the market dictate where you seek out new artists. Follow what speaks to you, ask lots of questions, and be willing to discover.

Find out more: voltaartfairs.com

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Reading time: 7 min
palm trees and city skyline
cityscape

Image by Sterling Davis

As the art world’s elite flock to Los Angeles for Frieze art fair, Olivia Muniak, founder of catering company La Cura and LA resident, shares her guide on the best places to drink and dine around the city
woman holding plate of food

Olivia Muniak

Growing up in the restaurant business, I learned to appreciate the subtleties of what makes a restaurant succeed. I saw my parents transform a casual European cafe into New York’s coolest lunch spot after which they launched two chic Italian fine dining restaurants in the heart of Greenwich Village and having worked myself in pretty much every front of house position, I know how much hard work it takes to deliver an exceptional dining experience. It goes without saying that the food has to be good, but the best restaurants know that it’s also the lighting, the decor, the people that define their identity and keep clients coming back for more.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Since moving to Los Angeles in 2017 to set up my business La Cura, I’ve made it my priority to scope out the city’s best places to eat and below are just a few of my favourites. Some newly opened, other’s mainstays in my book.

Bicyclette

The sister restaurant to the famed French cafe République.

Stepping down into the bistro feels like midnight in Paris, it’s a lively, warm space and almost every seat in the house gets a peak into the kitchen. Reservations are a must and make sure you arrive a little early for an aperitif at the bar. The food is classic bistro style, but so thoughtfully prepared. The soft egg, onion tart and bouillabaisse are amongst my favourites. Whether you go for a bottle of wine, or by the glass (my tip: ask for half-pours so you can explore the by-the-glass list), talk to the sommelier for their recommendations.

bicyclettela.com

luxurious restaurant interiors

The interiors of Gigi’s Hollwood. Image: @gigis_la

Gigi’s Hollywood

A trendy favourite for a late night dinner that begins and ends with cocktails.

The emerald green and gold interior, and white tablecloths feel fresh and luxe in contrast to the sporty-clad staff – it’s a vibe and we’re all into it. The quintessential California-french menu has many hits including the baguette with butter and caviar, but the most unexpected dish, at least for LA, is the Schnitzel and it’s delicious. Be sure to make a reservation.

gigis.la

Read more: Michael Xufu Huang on Supporting Emerging Chinese Artists

Cafe Stella

A tiny garden restaurant tucked away behind an even better bar.

Go for dinner, plan to stay late for drinks, and possibly, a spot of dancing. The interior is a bit worn and rustic, but that’s what makes it cool. The menu is also French bistro style and has all the favourites: Moules frites, Steak frites, Poulet Roti and Sole meunière.

cafestella.com

Crudo e Nudo

A very casual “fish market” with sidewalk seating, natural wines and the best crudo you will ever taste – trust me!

Crudo e Nudo takes sustainable seafood sourcing  to a new level. The chef knows every fisherman that brings in the day’s catch, and how that fish was caught. You can see the Japanese influence on a very Californian menu in the seasoning of the dishes but also in the discipline in the way the food is prepared. It’s worth striking up a conversation with the chef who’s friendly face you’ll see at the counter. The menu rotates but you can always find these dishes: Vegan caesar with Furikake and  Tuna Toast.

crudoenudo.com

Read more: Koons, Kitsch & the Evolving Art Market

Grá Pizzeria

A funky local spot in the Echo Park area.

The interior is pared down with exposed brick and an open garden patio. A few things worth mentioning about the pizza: the dough is made with a long-fermentation sourdough recipe that the owner brought over from the UK, and cooks in a wood-burning stove so it’s crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. More importantly, it holds it shape when folded (a true sign of a quality pizza). The Margherita is my favourite but the seasonal pies are always worth a taste. The plate of prosciutto and green lovage salad should also be on your order.

xn--gr-nia.com

outdoor dining

The patio at Gjelina. Image: @gjelinarestaurant

Gjelina

A well-known spot but deserving of the hype.

The menu is a journey through California produce, with some of the most creative, seasonal vegetables, pizzas and pastas. As soon as a vegetable is not at it’s peak, it’s off the menu. Gjelina is equally great for brunch, lunch or a relaxed, yet elegant dinner. If you can’t get a reservation, try  their sister restaurant Gjusta, which doubles up as a deli.

gjelina.com

 

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Reading time: 4 min
installation of digital artworks
installation of digital artworks

Galerie Nagel Draxler’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach

After the scaled-back events of last year, Art Basel is back and it’s bigger than ever with 250 galleries from over 36 countries. Our columnist Sophie Neundorf reports from Miami

Sophie Neuendorf

The vibe was fantastic, full of joie de vivre, as collectors descended on Miami to celebrate the comeback of the Art Basel Miami Beach. On the opening day, there were many joyful reunions between friends, collectors, and gallerists seen and heard around the booths and despite timed entry due to Covid regulations, most of the stellar works sold out instantly.

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According to collectors, advisers and dealers, sales are similarly soaring at neighbouring fairs Nada and Untitled. It’s not so much a case of if to buy, but how to get there first. Who will get take home a much coveted painting by Amoako Boafo? Or the Genesis Tramaine being sold at Almine Rech? Or the Flora Yukhnovich work at Victoria Miro? It’s quite the dilemma for galleries that want to reward loyal clients, place works with museums, and grow new audiences at the same time, all while steering clear of speculators, but c’est la vie!

beachfront gallery

Saint Laurent Rive Droite’s beachfront gallery features an exhibition of works by an exhibition of works by Japanese artist Sho Shibuya

NFTs are, unsurprisingly, taking centre stage with multiple galleries showcasing digital offerings. Galerie Nagel Draxler is devoting much of its booth to a show-stopping group installation of tokenised multimedia works led by artist and maverick collector Kenny Schachter while a few aisles over, Pace is taking a somewhat softer approach with its presentation of Block Universe (2021), a collaborative work by Drift and D.J./crypto-artist Don Diablo. This year, there’s also a booth and three-day series of live talks dedicated to Tezos, an open-source, energy-efficient blockchain network where scores of recognised media artists have tokenised their works over the years. The centrepiece of the booth is a multiscreen installation that allows visitors to add their algorithmically distorted self-portrait to works by generative artist Mario Klingemann (AKA Quasimondo), then mint the results as NFTs on the Tezos blockchain.

Read more: Pioneering Artist Michael Craig Martin on Colour & Style

Among the many impressive events taking place this weekend, my highlight is Saint Laurent Rive Droite’s ephemeral gallery in the centre of the city (until December 5, 2021). Inside the space—a pink-and-red cube set on the beach, practically glowing against the backdrop of ocean and sky—there’s an exhibition of works by Japanese artist Sho Shibuya, commissioned by Saint Laurent’s visionary Creative Director Anthony Vaccarello. Shibuya has recently gained widespread attention for his series of daily paintings, Sunrise from a Small Window, created in his Brooklyn apartment over the last 22 months. Using the front page of The New York Times as a canvas, the artist has been ritualistically painting over the front-page stories with the hues of each morning’s sunrise, covering the often down-trodden news with an ever-changing symbol of revival and hope. It’s well worth seeing.

floating artwork

Michael Kagan, APOLLO 2021 (2021). Photo courtesy of the artist and Half Gallery.

Meanwhile, one of the stranger sights in Miami this week is an Apollo space capsule floating in Biscayne Bay as if just returned home from a lunar voyage. This isn’t, however, some wormhole into the heyday of the U.S. Space program, but an art project from artist Michael Kagan and New York’s Half Gallery. It’s no coincidence that Yusaku Maezawa, the Japanese billionaire art collector who promised to take a group of artists with him to the moon aboard one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets, is one of the artist’s collectors. Kagan is clearly angling for a seat.

And then, of course, there are the parties. White Cube’s bash at Soho Beach House, which featured a performance from Sister Sledge and a lot of dancing, is the most talked about so far, but with a few days to go, there’s plenty of more time for partying.

To me, it feels very nearly like the good old days, but with the added edge of NFTs and groups of eager millennial collectors (musician Joe Jonas and Bachelor contestant Kit Keenan have been spotted milling around) with a healthy appetite for emerging stars and an even larger one for big name artists and galleries.

Sophie Neuendorf is Vice-President at artnet. Find out more: artnet.com

 

 

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woman looking at colourful artwork
woman looking at colourful artwork

Opera Gallery at Masterpiece London 2019. Photograph by Ben Fisher. Courtesy of Masterpiece London

In his second column for LUX, art collector, advisor and chairman of Masterpiece London Philip Hewat-Jaboor discusses how art institutions are engaging a new generation of collectors and dealers
portrait of a man in black and white

Philip Hewat-Jaboor. Photograph by Danny Evans

I’m often asked why we’re seeing a new generation of collectors and dealers entering the art market, and I think the impact of the past year has both accelerated this growth and brought into perspective how important it is for the art world to engage, nurture and support the young.

This past year all involved in the art world – museums, galleries, dealers and auctioneers – have had to evolve and come up with increasingly sophisticated ways to draw in new audiences. The move to online platforms has drawn in younger buyers who are digitally native and the process of buying art has become almost instantaneous, without any of the perceived barriers of a gallery or auction house. According to this year’s Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report, high-net-worth millennials are now the fastest-growing group of collectors.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

In my opinion, one of the greatest changes we’ve seen over the past 20 years (and certainly since I first started working in the art world), is how knowledge and experience is communicated and shared. There has been a shift towards collaboration and discussion in art world, especially, over the past year. Knowledge, history, opinions and even prices are much more readily available whether that’s via a gallery’s website, through social media, an online article or panel discussion. This access to knowledge is vital to engaging younger collectors and nurturing new dealers.

visitor to an art exhibition

Masterpiece London 2019. Photograph by Ben Fisher. Courtesy of Masterpiece

Engaging with young people and reaching new audiences has never been so important to preserving the longevity of art, and over the last few years, there has been a dramatic increase in new initiatives, young patron groups and innovative uses of social media to provide a greater level of accessibility. Christie’s Education, for example, recently launched their Young Collectors Club, The National Gallery in London have a Young Ambassadors initiative, there’s the Young Patrons Circle at the V&A, and at Masterpiece, we have a Young Collectors group as well as a school of Vetting and museums-focussed symposiums open to young professionals. These not only invite younger generations to be part of the discussion, but give them the opportunity to discover a breadth of collecting possibilities and learn as much as possible from lots of different disciplines.

Read more: An exclusive private tasting of Ornellaia with Axel Heinz

Michael Diaz-Griffith, executive director of the Sir John Soane Museum Foundation in New York, founded the New Antiquarians to generate interest in collecting amongst a younger audience and is passionate about supporting the antiques business. “In the past two years, younger lovers of art, antiques and design have really started buying. They may have relatively small budgets, but they are spending in interesting ways – often a heady mix of old and new art, antiques and contemporary design,” he told me over email.

Photography, contemporary art and design are particularly appealing to the new collector, partly due to the more accessible price points whilst the world of traditional, or older works of art is less familiar and relies on the passionate communication of the dealer or museum curator to engage new collectors. Nevertheless, the thirst of the next generation to engage with works of art, to become involved and to expand the breadth of their horizons is really exciting to see.

Philip Hewat-Jaboor is Masterpiece London’s Chairman of the Fair. Read his previous column here

This year’s edition of Masterpiece London will take place online with smaller-scale live activations in London in June. For updates and online events, visit: masterpiecefair.com

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digital art auction

Auctioneer Oliver Barker directing Sotheby’s global e-auctions. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

As part on an ongoing monthly column for LUX, artnet’s Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Sophie Neuendorf forecasts this year’s emerging trends and evolutions in the art world

Sophie Neuendorf

We’ve just emerged from arguably the most difficult and unpredictable year in recent history. The Covid-19 pandemic caused a synchronised and deep downturn of the global economy in the first six months of 2020. Social distancing measures and a lockdown of businesses in reaction to the health crisis resulted in falling consumer demand and economic output. Skyrocketing unemployment shook consumer confidence, and companies cut back on investments in light of declining demand, supply-chain interruptions and the uncertain future.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Amid the uncertainties and restrictions caused by the pandemic, fine art auctions plummeted in the first half of 2020. Total sales value dropped across all major regions. According to the artnet Price Database, global auction sales for fine art fell by 59% to $2.9 billion in the first half of 2020 compared to a more robust performance of $7 billion in the first six months of 2019.

art world graph

Infographic courtesy of artnet

However, despite a 29% decrease in both the number of lots offered and sold at auction year-over-year, the global sell-through rate remained steady at 65% in the first half of 2020. Major auction houses pivoted to online platforms, generating some incredible virtual transactions. In June, Sotheby’s sold Francis Bacon’s Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus (1981) for $85 million. Roy Lichtenstein’s White Brushstroke I (1965) achieved $25 million.

Even though 2020 will most likely be remembered as one of the most unpredictable and difficult years in modern history, it also pushed boundaries and accelerated the art world into the digital age. With this backdrop in mind, I’m going to take the risk and make 7 art world predictions for the year 2021 – because, if anything, last year has set the stage for some ground-breaking changes to aspire to.

1. Digitalisation is here to stay.

Plato was right: necessity is indeed the mother of invention. During the COVID-19 crisis, one area that has seen tremendous growth is digitalisation, meaning everything from online customer service to remote working to supply-chain reinvention to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to improve the art business. As I discussed in my last column of 2020, the digitalisation of the art market is here to stay. With galleries, museums, and auction houses pivoting online and thinking outside the box in response to the pandemic, a positive trend of accessibility, efficiency, and transparency accelerated within the art world. This also goes hand in hand with a global trend of sustainability and conscious living.

Naturally, an online viewing of art can never quite replace the in-person experience, nor should it. The impact of seeing Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa online is, of course, not quite the same as admiring it in person. However, the transactional element of the art market will emerge as a strong contender to the traditional brick and mortar purchasing process, democratising the art market and opening it up to a new generation of art lovers.

2. Some art fairs will actually happen this year. But they will be a balanced, online/offline experience.

With social distancing still de rigueur this year, it will be difficult for fairs to accommodate their usual amount of art-loving and people-watching visitors. Add to that a gallery’s sky high participation costs, especially after a difficult year, and we’re looking at only very few fairs happening in 2021. My conservative prediction is that those of us able to travel can look forward to visiting ARCO Madrid (which has been postponed to July), Art Basel in Basel, Volta Basel, Frieze London, FIAC Paris, and Basel Miami, at best. The rest of us will have to enjoy the virtual editions of these fairs again this year.

Read more: COMO Group CEO Olivier Jolivet on travel trends for 2021

3. Galleries will evolve as serious contenders to art fairs and traditional auction houses.

Gallerists have always been of utmost importance as a bridge between the creative genius of an artist and the wider public of art lovers and collectors.

This year, galleries who have embraced the innovation which the Covid-19 pandemic necessitated will emerge stronger than ever. Either through online sales and viewing rooms or through collaborations with other galleries and institutions, these art dealers will rise as serious contenders to brick-and-mortar auction houses.

4. Some young artists will start bypassing galleries and begin selling directly out of their studio via social media or other websites.

It’s already a widespread practice among young artists in Asia and I foresee it crossing over to Europe and the US this year. With countless galleries, unfortunately, having been forced to close over the last year, many artists may have become increasingly accustomed to selling via social media and other websites. Especially young artists may be inclined to bypass the traditional route expected of them by the art world, and chose to build their careers independently.

pop art

Roy Lichtenstein’s White Brushstroke I (1965) was sold by Sotheby’s for $25 million. Image courtesy Sotheby’s

5. Socio-economic issues will be at the forefront of major gallery and museum shows this year.

Artists have, historically, documented moments of change and upheaval. After a year that has compelled us to come to terms with a global pandemic, has seen us fight for equality during the Me Too and BLM movements, as well as confront global warming, now’s the time to examine these pivotal moments within gallery and museum shows.

The arts are known to push boundaries and open up discussions around difficult and oftentimes painful subjects in a spirit of tolerance, curiosity, and learning. I believe that galleries and institutions will harness this unique moment to exhibit artists who are capturing the zeitgeist.

contemporary art

Francis Bacon’s Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus (1981) was sold for $85 million at auction by Sotheby’s in June 2020. Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.

6. There will be more fine art works sold at auction this year than over the last few years.

Given the global economic and private difficulties we are currently facing, it wouldn’t be surprising if the IRS, a divorce attorney or the grim reaper force the sale of many a private collection. It’s a rather gruesome prediction, but historically the art market has been very active during a time when some micro or macro-economic situations are under stress.

Looking at Deloitte’s Art & Finance report or artnet’s Intelligence Report, fine art has gradually emerged into a serious asset class. When you compare fine art sales to the S&P, for example, more often than not it is art which is a safer alternative asset than stocks or even real estate. It is highly likely that many artworks will find speculative buyers this year, as economic changes and challenges will cause a shift in wealth.

Read more: Visual artist Clara Hastrup on her studio experiments

7. There will be a major shift in the market resulting in a new focus on quality rather than quantity.

Life was moving along as rapidly and frivolously as usual during the months before the Covid-19 pandemic forced us into seclusion. It struck me even then that the art world was moving into an unhealthy direction, where being seen at a champagne reception was more important than the quality of work on display. Where people-watching at Frieze or Basel was far more interesting than any oeuvre, and gossiping about people or prices trumped any serious deliberations of the works on view.

However, the past year has forced all of us to focus on what’s truly meaningful within our lives and on how fleeting it actually is. How do we really want to spend our time? Do we actually have to visit all of those art fairs and events? Perhaps we should seize the moment and focus on those artists and personal interactions that really enrich our lives.

This may seem like a rather wild prediction, but I’m certain that only those galleries, fairs, and institutions will survive that really concentrate on bringing added value to our lives. Perhaps we will move to a ‘new normal’ where multiple editions of the same fair or gallery are unnecessary, but are, instead, complimented by an incredible and easy to access online offering. Now is the time to excite with quality, depth, and innovation – because time is precious.

art world infographic

Infographic courtesy of artnet

8. Art will not only evolve as an asset class, but also as a financial product.

Over the past few years, art has slowly evolved as a serious contender to assets such as gold, stocks, or real estate – and it is arguably a much more stable asset. Given the high barriers to entry into the art market, specifically to the high-returns, blue chip market, I predict that there will be a derivative product developed soon, to be traded on the market similarly to other indices.

Price indices offer important insights for anyone looking to track the performance of a collection of artworks produced by a single artist or movement. At artnet, for example, we already provide an innovative price index methodology that relies on the unique strength of our flagship product, the Price Database. Our proprietary method creates indices that track the evolution of artwork prices over time, which can be tailored to focus on artworks belonging to a specific medium, movement, size, or any combination thereof, and in comparison to other indices, such as the S&P. It’s only a matter of time until the exchange traded derivative is developed. Stay tuned!

Follow Sophie Neuendorf on Instagram: @sophieneuendorf

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Reading time: 8 min
woman on sofa
woman on sofa

Katrina Aleksa Ryemill is a co-founder of Association of Women In The Arts

Non-profit organisation Association of Women In The Arts was founded with the ambition of providing a networking and mentorship platform for women working in the arts in the UK. Since the pandemic, their membership has expanded globally with a new online programme. As part of our ongoing philanthropy series, Samantha Welsh speaks to the organisation’s co-founder Katrina Aleksa Ryemill about the importance of a professional support network, adapting to a digital world and expanding globally

LUX: Tell us about the Association of Women In The Arts, and why is it already such a powerful organisation?
Katrina Aleksa: Since our beginning in February 2016, AWITA’s main focus has been to bring the inspirational women working within the art world together, and this remains our core strength to this day. AWITA’s membership includes gallerists, curators, art advisers and academics as well as auction houses, museum, public sector and art fair professionals.

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Quite simply our members are our key strength and what makes us the powerful organisation that we have become. For so long there was no place where women, who are underrepresented in top positions in the art industry (as they are in many others), could unite, network and help each other in a safe and positive environment. AWITA provides just that, and every time another fantastically talented woman joins our network we become stronger, better represented and more powerful. Leaders across the art world can share and collaborate in a safe way. We adapt and pivot very quickly to changing times the current crisis is just one example of it. Quite simply, we are stronger together.

women standing on stage

AWITA Great Women Artists: why women? panel discussion at Sotheby’s London in partnership with Phaidon. From left to right: Katrina Aleksa Ryemill, Harriet Loffler, Marina Ruiz Colomer, Wells Fray-Smith, Mary Findlay, Rebecca Morril, Kate Gordon. Photograph by Pedro Lima

LUX: What experience and expertise do you look for in your members?
Katrina Aleksa: AWITA is a non-profit membership organisation open to women with a minimum of five years’ experience in the art world. We want gallery owners to connect with curators, arts journalists to connect with dealers, art advisors to meet academics in a lively, informal atmosphere. We believe in collaboration over competition, and want the membership to include as many different voices as possible.

LUX: AWITA is already the most connected network in UK for women in the visual arts, what do you think attracts women who are already influential in their fields?
Katrina Aleksa: Honestly, I think it’s the calibre of women who are already in the network. It’s a safe place to grow and share and ask questions. I think at whichever point somebody may be in their career, you still have questions even if you have been in art world for 20 or 30 years. Of course the questions may change as people advance through their careers, but many of the topics and challenges are the same.

Additionally, the nature of the art world, where creativity is at its core means that it constantly changes and challenges itself, arguably more than any other industry. Therefore, anyone working in the sector must also ensure they stay relevant and current, which means challenging, developing and growing your own thinking, and a network can really help with this. Nothing stays still for very long in the art world.

Of course, there is also the fact that women in senior roles can often feel alone due to their under-representation –  so many pieces of research have shown that women crave a network of peers, which of course is what AWITA is.

women in discussion

Rebecca Morril and Katrina Aleksa Ryemill (right) at the AWITA Great Women Artists event. Photograph by Pedro Lima

LUX: Do you have strong representation from non-UK based membership?
Katrina Aleksa: This is actually something completely new to us, not to mention very exciting. Ever since we set up there have always been a number of international applicants wanting to join and also numerous people who have wanted to set up AWITA entities in their local countries. However, whilst we always have wanted to do this we simply haven’t, until now, had the resources to expand internationally.

Read more: How sustainable knitwear brand Aessai supports female craft collectives

We have, in many ways, really benefitted from the pivot we needed to make during these unprecedented times. Whilst we were very UK and London centric, organising some wonderful events that our members would attend and enjoy, the pandemic has meant that we had to move all of our events online. No longer were we “restricted” to the UK and predominantly London-based events that we were offering. We are now able to reach incredibly inspirational women across the globe that we would of not been able to do locally in London. Our membership has expanded internationally as result of that and I’m so proud that our international membership group is now the fastest growing aspect of AWITA.

LUX: What real life platforms are you working on at the moment?
Katrina Aleksa: We have recently launched a partnership with Cromwell Place, which is a first-of-its-kind exhibition and working space for galleries, dealers, collectors and art professionals seeking a presence in central London. With creativity, connection and collaboration at the core this partnership amplifies our mission and values.

female focused event

Dressed for the art world AWITA event with Edeline Lee at Fenwicks London. From left to right: Indre Serpetyte-Roberts, Kate Gordon, Edeline Lee, Sigrid Kirk, Polly Robinson Gaer, Linsey Young, Helena Lee, Katrina Aleksa Ryemill. Photograph by Pedro Lima

LUX: During Covid, AWITA has turned adversity into advantage by running a series of hybrid events. What works well for live-streaming, and will you continue to exploit this format post-Covid?
Katrina Aleksa: Absolutely! I actually think that this “hybrid model” where the event is both online and ‘in person’ has huge potential to continue to ensure that we are offering a more inclusive model for our members around the world, whilst also offering what so many of our members crave: an in person experience immersed in the art world, surrounded by like minded art professionals.

Read more: Jazz legend Abdullah Ibrahim’s guide to Cape Town

That said, I think the mood from everyone, not just our members, is that we have all now overdosed on “zoom” already. So the challenge is making the authentic and positive experience of our online programme running alongside our live events. I don’t think we will ever return back to being 100% online or offline, I believe the future and certainly 2021 will be a balance between both.

LUX: You have also focused on creating digital content – what kind of conversations has this facilitated?
Katrina Aleksa: We are still learning. My favourite quote is ‘flying a plane while building it’ and this is exactly what we are doing right now. We have had a tremendously positive response from our members, but we need to keep it up, not rest on our laurels and keep adapting to changing times.

panel discussion

Finding Balance: How to thrive in a 24/7 world panel discussion with AWITA at Phillips. From left to right: Catherine Blyth, Jo Stella-Sawicka, Angela Choon and Dr Zoé Whitley. Photograph by Pedro Lima

LUX: Have perspectives and priorities altered in 2020?
Katrina Aleksa: I don’t think there has been anyone who hasn’t been affected by current health crisis, whether you are in or outside of the art world, or whether you are an employer, an employee or even self-employed.

We, of course, had to adapt and pivot to be able to stay ahead of the curve and support our members. It was a priority for us to support our members, in whichever way they needed help or advice. We even instituted a very casual weekly coffee morning, online, which some of our members described as a lifeline, and a welcome break from home-schooling.

LUX: How have collectors adapted to this changed world?
Katrina Aleksa: I love that the art world hasn’t stopped! Whilst it has been very challenging for many people, I have also seen some people really flourish. Whether that be artists that were “breaking through” or professionals who were taking on new challenges, there have been many positive stories that we should all look at for motivation and inspiration. Of course, it is a challenging time and my heart goes out to all of the people who have been ill or have suffered losses during this difficult period, but the world keeps turning and art works have been bought and sold. Many online auctions have been showing a great increase in their results and like many other online businesses have really thrived. I always say, change is always happening and like in nature, the ones that are able to evolve and change are ultimately best positioned to survive and thrive. This pandemic has, in my mind, just presented a sped-up opportunity for change.

LUX: What sort of political or cultural partnerships are your members potentially exploring and can AWITA reach out to their sisters in parts of the world where women’s talents and voices are stifled?
Katrina Aleksa: It’s important to continue to build networks. We are talking to women in organisations around the globe and will be concentrating on leadership and new structures and models. We are concentrating on finding innovative and useful ways to keep the important conversations that need to be had going. While we may not be able to see each other in person, we can still stay connected.

LUX: What are your next plans?
Katrina Aleksa: With the huge increase across our membership we are finding that we are now able to represent more women than ever before, looking at tackling so many diverse challenges and opportunities around the art industry. Every new member we have ensures another voice and another way of thinking, so we will continue our growth drive – adding women into our network from all over the globe and then empowering them through more mentoring, networking and professional development.

Find out more: awita.london

Samantha Welsh is a contributing editor of LUX with a special focus on philanthropy.

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Reading time: 8 min
collage artwork
collage art

The Power Of Black And White, Dennis Osakue, Acrylic & Collage on Canvas, 150cm x 150cm, 2020

Signature African Art, one of Nigeria’s leading contemporary art galleries, opened its first European location in Mayfair, London in March this year and is now hosting a group exhibition entitled Say My Name in collaboration with award-winning writer and film director Ava DuVernay. Ahead of the show’s public opening tomorrow, we speak to the gallery’s director and curator Khalil Akar about the Black Lives Matter movement and power of visual art 

man in suit

Khalil Akar, Photo © Zaki Charles

1. What influenced the gallery’s decision to expand internationally, and why London in particular?

We have been supporting the work of African artists for the past 30 years, since opening the gallery in Lagos. We have been waiting for the right opportunity and the right time to open a space outside of the continent. Over the past few years, African art has become increasingly popular and having assessed the global art market, we felt this was the best time to open in London. We chose London as it is one of the art hubs of the world. We wanted to give our artists a platform to showcase their talent to the European market and we felt the UK was the best place in which to do so.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

2. How have global attitudes towards African art changed in recent years?

The global art market has finally started to recognise the contemporary talent that exists within the continent, outside of traditional art forms. We have seen increased sales of African art at auction houses, and fairs like 1-54 Contemporary African Art have helped to encourage a greater interest in art from Africa. The next step for the market would be to have a larger presence of African galleries in household fairs such as Art Basel.

collage of faces

George Floyd, Oluwole Omofemi, Acrylic on Canvas, 50cm x 50cm each, 2020

3. The timing of the gallery opening was rather unfortunate, how has the pandemic impacted business?

We opened a solo show by Nigerian artist Oluwole Omofemi just before lockdown, which was very popular by collectors and sold out. We have worked hard to adapt to the current circumstances and challenges, increasing our digital networking and outreach to collectors and providing virtual tours of our exhibitions to our audiences. The additional digital approach has allowed us to reach more collectors and increase sales.

contemporary art gallery

Installation view of Say My Name, presented by Ava DuVernay at Signature African Art, London, Photo © Mora Ltd

4. What was your curation process for the upcoming group show Say My Name and how did the collaboration with Ava DuVernay come about?

The curatorial process was rooted in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The vision was to shine a light on things that need to change in society including how Black people are perceived and treated in the global community. Ava and I discussed this theme at length for Say My Name, which also aligned with the topics raised in her 13th documentary for Netflix. The collaboration also focused on raising awareness of police brutality following Ava’s announcement of her LEAP (Law Enforcement Accountability Project) initiative, which aims to hold police in the US accountable through artistic storytelling. We’re planning to donate 40% of proceeds from the sales of both the London and LA shows to the fund. In terms of the artists selected, we have worked with them in the past and knew that they would feel strongly about paying tribute to these figures and histories in the UK and US. We wanted to connect the continent with the deep experiences of the diaspora.

Read more: Sculptor Helaine Blumenfeld on the power of public art

contemporary portrait

Breonna Taylor, Moufouli Bello, Acrylic on Canvas, 150cm x 120cm, 2020

collage artwork

Boshielo, Giggs Kgole, Anaglyph, Oil, Acrylic fabric & mixed media on Canvas, 230cm x 150cm, 2020

5. Many of the works celebrate key figures and moments in Black history, is it important that viewers recognise and understand these specific references?

It is hugely important that everyone knows the correct history and understands the references in the show. We hope that visitors to Say My Name will learn more about Black history in the US and UK and leave the gallery with food for thought on what part they can play in improving the current world system.

mixed media artwork

In Remembrance of Bruce’s Beach, Dandelion Eghosa, photography, analogue collage and embellishments with acrylic paints on canvas, 190 x 127cm, 2020

6. In a more general sense, how do you see visual art participating in wider contemporary discourse?

Visual art plays a key role in wider contemporary discourse and has the power to influence the status quo. As Say My Name opens in London, Americans continue to protest on the streets every day since the murder of George Floyd in May. On the continent, young Nigerians are now protesting and advocating for the #EndSARS movement. As an art gallery, we feel it is our responsibility to use our voice to continue and support these conversations to help the creation of a better world.

‘Say My Name’ runs until 28 November 2020 at Signature Art London, and will open in in Los Angeles in February 2021. For more information visit: signatureafricanart.com

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Reading time: 4 min
Two young men in their rooms

You’ll bump into The Gstaad Guy at the yacht club, the art fair and on the slopes; if you don’t know him already, you’re clearly in the wrong milieu. Here, the Instagram legend’s two alter egos, super-wealthy Eurotrash Constance and his nouveau New York cousin Colton, take our questionnaire. Interview and photographs by Maryam Eisler

Constance

Your favourite brand?
Loro Loro, Piana Piana of course! They just know! And the vicuña, the best of the best.

Your favourite music?
Whatever you can dance to holding a glass of wine! Bocelli at the top. And then you drop
some Julio [Iglesias] and Dalida into the mix and you get perfection! And, of course, my very own ‘Commercial Flight’.

Your favourite car?
A Jaguar E-Type, no doubt. Pure class.

Who do you like hanging out with the most?
My dearest Prince Will. Prince William. Sometime Bill [Gates] and Jeff [Bezos] join us, too.

Your favourite artist?
Picasso. He just knows.

Your favourite resort?
Cheval Blanc, because it’s the Cheval Blanc. And I don’t count the Gstaad Palace as a resort, as it’s my second home. My pied-à-terre.

Your favourite restaurant/favourite dish?
Cipriani. Tuna tartare and artichoke salad to start, and a veal farfalle for main.

Colton

Your favourite brand?
Chrome Hearts – fo sho.

Your favourite music?
Travis. He’s savage! 21. Lil Pump. You know, the classics.

Your favourite car?
LAMBO TRUCK.

Who do you like hanging out with the most?
Cousin Constance.

Your favourite artist?
Alec Monopoly! He’s just crashing it and cashing it!

Your favourite resort?
Amangiri fo sho. Do it for the gram!

Your favourite restaurant/favourite dish?
Cipriani, plain penne. And in LA, Omakase at Matsu[hisa]. Can’t beat it!

Find out more: gstaadguy.com
Follow Constance & Colton on Instagram: @gstaadguy

This article was originally published in the Spring 2020 Issue.

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Abstract ink painting in black and pink
Ink painting of a moon

‘Moon Walk’ (1969), by Liu Kuo-sung

Navigating the deep waters of the Asian art scene could be treacherous, without a guide such as Calvin Hui. Jason Chung Tang Yen talks to the Hong Kong and London-based globetrotter, art connoisseur and entrepreneur about his mission to bring contemporary Chinese ink art to the global stage

DEUTSCHE BANK WEALTH MANAGEMENT x LUX

“Ink is not just a medium; it embodies a cultural language,” says gallery owner and art fair entrepreneur Calvin Hui. He’s referring to contemporary Chinese ink art and the enterprise he founded, a booming art platform titled Ink Now, first launched in Taipei and generating considerable buzz among art lovers and collectors. However, Hui’s vision for Ink Now extends beyond any fixed formats; he has introduced a notion of “more than ink, and more than an art fair. We are bringing awareness of ink art’s essence and spirituality in a cultural context, beyond its pure medium form,” he says.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

For more than 2,000 years, ink art, once made with burnt pine trees and organic matter on rice paper or silk, has been the primary – and most celebrated – form of artistic expression for Chinese calligraphers and painters. The traditional art form reached its peak in the Song Dynasty, from 960-1279AD; historical masterpieces from that era are still preserved in the palace museums in Beijing and Taipei and Qu Ding’s Summer Mountains has a permanent home at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Western artists, from the Impressionists to Pablo Picasso, have long been inspired by the ink art tradition, but in recent years, new media and influences from the West have made their own mark on the medium. Today’s artists often turn to or reinterpret traditional ink art techniques while in pursuit of a contemporary breakthrough, resulting in multi-layered works that are filled with cultural references and meaning. And some advocates for the medium, such as Calvin Hui, are hoping to lay the foundations for a new golden age of ink art.

Contemporary style Chinese ink painting

‘Far Side of the Moon’ (2019), by Victor Wong.

Asian man in suit sitting in installation artwork

Calvin Hui at Victor Wong’s solo exhibition ‘TECH-iNK Garden’

A network of contacts and the ability to plan on a grand scale are required to make this happen, but Hui has long operated in the nerve centre of the art market, bridging the gap between contemporary Eastern art and the market in the West. He is the cofounder of the 3812 Gallery, with an outpost in Central Hong Kong and St James’s in London, and his company also provides professional and private art consultancy services. His vision for the Ink Now venture is driven by his passion for Chinese artists who are producing works steeped in heritage, but who look towards the future.

One such artist is Hsiao Chin – a favourite of Hui’s and a master of abstract art in Asia – whose work captures the duality of Taoist philosophy and will be shown in a solo exhibition, PUNTO: Hsiao Chin’s International Art Movement Era at 3812 Gallery next year to coincide with the artist’s 85th birthday. “Hsiao Chin’s work perfectly interprets the ‘Eastern origin in contemporary expression’ principle advocated by Ink Now and 3812 Gallery,” Hui declares. “Though the artist always claims that his work is not Chinese ink, it is obvious to see that Hsiao applies Eastern philosophical thoughts such as Lao Zhuang in Western art.” These influences translate into abstract paintings that merge colourful brush painting with modernist compositions. The show will also include a variety of archival materials that will be shown for the first time outside of Asia.

Read more: Viviane Sassen’s ‘Venus and Mercury’ at Frieze London

And Hui, unsurprisingly, has big plans to take what was once a niche market mainstream. “The objective of having a brand and platform like Ink Now is to materialise the pursuit of art from a cultural perspective to a commercial one,” he enthuses. “Over the last century, particularly in the US and Europe, the shifting influence of culture exported from the East [has transformed] due to political power shifts.” With billions of people now familiar with ink’s cultural language, the discipline is poised to gain widespread popularity.

For Hui, the “Western perspective on Chinese contemporary art was, in a way, too repetitive and rigid while lacking historical and aesthetic context.” Jay Xu, director of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, agrees that although Chinese inks inspired and continue to inspire Western art, there is still much for us to learn. “Picasso himself once said that had he been born Chinese, he would have been a calligrapher, not a painter, and there was a tablet of Chinese calligraphy on Matisse’s wall. Whether or not Western artists understand the Chinese culture or fully understand the context of ink as a colour and ink as a linear expression, it has inspired many generations of artists both in the East and the West.”

Art exhibition with press

The inaugural Ink Now art expo in Taipei earlier this year

Ink Now is designed to deliver a more nuanced study of the genre by creating a platform for academic discussions, online archives and collectors’ gatherings. Hui’s approach allows an international audience to access material and information in a “globalised community on one’s palm via smartphones,” as well as physically in the gallery spaces and exhibition venues. Ink Now is not merely an art fair; it is “trans-regional and multifaceted”, enabling “international dialogues in various cities”. And, as Hui revealed in our interview, the initiative will be coming to London, perhaps as early as 2020.

Hui knows that the words we use to talk about art are significant, and that the name ‘Ink Now’ underlines the platform’s forward- looking approach to cultural identity. The emerging and established artists promoted by Ink Now create work that is supremely relevant to the issues that preoccupy us in the present. ‘Tech Ink’ is another phrase coined by Hui to refer to our relationship to art in the online age. “Discovering, appreciating, collecting art all happens in the digital realm now. It is a new era; we are particularly fortunate to be part of making new history.”

Abstract geometric artwork using ink

‘Magical Landscape’, by Wang Jieyin

Liu Kuo-sung is a Chinese artist whose Modernist work is part of this new history. For Kuo-sung, “Ink has always been part of our culture’s DNA,” not just a media but, “really something much deeper. To me, ink is more spiritual.” He believes our era of digital connectivity will help to both influence the market and inspire ink artists. “With the evolution of technology, culture exchange and influence will be easier and faster. During my early career, information [was] scarce and I needed to either borrow a catalogue from a public source or physically go to a museum or gallery to see artworks. Today, you get so much information without needing to leave your house.”

Read more: Spanish artist Secundino Hernández on flesh & creative chaos

Museum director Jay Xu thinks the medium could even challenge the lens through which we view art history. “From the Renaissance, the scope and definition of art has been evolving, and though art has been regarded [in relation to] a Western canon, what ink could possibly do is to rethink the canon of art in general. It is a much more diverse world that we live in now. The global phenomenon must include artistic expressions of all cultures and regions, in which each have their own definition of what art is.”

The art form finds perhaps its most modern expression when machines are involved in its creation. “Digital art is definitely a trend, especially in the Western market,” Hui points out, citing Victor Wong’s artificial intelligence ink paintings, a collaboration between the artist and his AI assistant, Gemini. The robot that Wong programmed has created a fascinating, meticulous body of shuimo ink work, heading into uncharted artistic territory and prompting a wider discussion on AI artworks and the definition of art.

The relationship between traditional and contemporary inks is one duality that is explored in the art form; the tension between Western and Eastern influences is another. Jay Xu cites artist Xu Bing and his ability to “create scripts writing English alphabets in Chinese calligraphic strokes – an iconic mode of expression that is part of the ongoing evolution of calligraphy.” The museum’s 2012 exhibition, Out of Character: Decoding Chinese Calligraphy, featured works from the Jerry Yang collection, including animated calligraphy by Bing and “juxtaposing Western abstract expressionism with ink art to form a dialogue”.

Abstract ink painting in black and pink

Abstract ink painting

Here: ‘L’inizio del Dao-2’ (1962); above: ‘L’Origine del Chi-3’ (1962), both by Hsiao Chin

As both a gallery owner and a collector, what does Hui think about mixing business with pleasure? “The inevitable marriage of art and investment is an agreeable phenomenon; however, the danger of treating art solely as an investment means to neglect its artistic value while focusing on the price. Art should always be about value, not the market price.” Value should be established first, and the market should follow. “As an art consultant, I take great precaution in investing in art. It is crucial to know the difference between cultural assets and financial products. The art market is much more complex, with different factors and less regulations and compliances than the financial sector.”

There is no doubt that the ink art market is growing: “The regional market in China itself is an important index on the one hand, but on the other, acceptance and exposure in locations such as London provide outlooks for the market trends.” As a gallery owner, Hui has a track record of successfully bringing works by celebrated regional artists onto a more international stage, and platforms like Ink Now often mark the beginning of a surge in the market; the growth of the contemporary African art scene in London and New York followed a similar trajectory. Ink Now’s strategy is to focus on ink art, “not just as a category, but rather as a set of mutual cultural linguistics that bridge various cultures and markets together.”

Read more: Louis Roederer’s CEO Frédéric Rouzaud on art and hospitality

Calvin Hui and Ink Now’s mission has artist Liu Kuo-sung’s backing: “As an artist, we need to understand our mission in life is not only to create good art, but also to leave a mark or make a contribution to our culture and civilisation. Ink art has evolved so much in the past 50 years. Today, young ink artists are creating some amazing new forms of ink art, and I have also seen some great ink art works from Western artists as well.”

On the business of collecting, Hui is equally passionate: “Mankind is drawn to collect, it is in our nature. Owning art is owning experience, emotion, and a piece of the past, it should have a story of its own, to have an interaction with the collector. It is a highly individual and subjective act. One should always collect what one loves. Buying art should not always be about investment. It is about the purest form of passion. I only buy what speaks to me, something I can engage on a deeper level.”

And what was the first piece of art that Calvin Hui collected? A lithograph by Joan Miró, an artist who was fascinated by Eastern culture and who incorporated calligraphy and ink art into his oeuvre. In other words, the artwork that Hui first chose was not only a testament to his impeccable taste, but a glimpse into his future.

Find out more: ink-now.com/en

abstract artwork with multiple lines

‘Moving Vision: Neither Dying or Being’, by Wang Huangsheng.

Calvin Hui’s six artists to know

Wang Jieyin
From the start of his career, Shanghai-based Wang Jieyin has been inspired by the cave paintings in Dunhuang. His contemporary take on ancient Chinese art results in artwork with a muted palette, a focus on natural shapes and romantic, abstracted depictions of landscapes.

Chloe Ho
Chloe Ho’s ink art references both her American and Hong Kong background with unexpected elements such as coffee and acrylic paint. Her exhibition, Unconfined Illumination, runs at 3812 Gallery in London until 15 November.

Chinese ink painting with pink and black ink

‘Volcano;, by Chloe Ho

Wang Huangsheng
Living and working in Beijing, Wang Huangsheng is a curator and professor whose minimalist contemporary ink drawings convey a range of moods, suggest landscapes and allude to calligraphy.

Victor Wong
Victor Wong’s debut in TECH-iNK is a breakthrough in combining technology with art, calling into question our definition of art and culture, while creating highly detailed, original ink depictions of surfaces, such as the moon.

Landscape painting in ink

‘Contraction and Extension of the Twilight’, by Liu Dan

Liu Dan
Liu Dan is known for the contemporary twist he applies to his organic, shaded landscapes, devoting himself to detailed studies of flowers and rocks using Chinese ink and brush techniques.

Hsu Yung Chin
Hsu Yung Chin’s practice incorporates both writing and painting, merging boundaries between the two forms of expression, and breaking all the traditions of calligraphy in order to create works that feel relevant to contemporary Chinese society.

This article was originally published in the Autumn 19 Issue.

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Installation shot of an art fair with guests walking around a sculpture
Installation shot of an art fair with guests walking around a sculpture

Installation view of Tony Cragg, Bust, 2014 from Jerome Zodo Gallery at Masterpiece London 2019, photography Ben Fisher, Courtesy Masterpiece London

Ahead of the public opening of Masterpiece London’s 10th edition, we ask the fair’s chairman Philip Hewat-Jaboor for his exclusive recommendations of what to see

Art fairs can be overwhelming, especially when they’re on the scale of Masterpiece London which, this year, brings together over 150 galleries and specialists with displays of contemporary artworks, antiquities, rare books, objets d’art, furniture and jewellery.

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‘Rather than grouping our exhibitors by the kind of objects they present, we integrate them so that an antiquities dealer may sit side-by-side with a jeweller or a contemporary art gallery. We have seen how juxtaposing different works of absolutely encourages collectors to learn about and buy works of art they may not usually have the opportunity to discover,’ says Philip Hewat-Jaboor.

Below are his top recommendations of things to see at this year’s edition:

The sculpture series

‘This year, we introduce Masterpiece London’s Sculpture Series. Our inaugural curator is Jo Baring, who is the Director of the Ingram Collection of Modern British and Contemporary Art. She has selected dynamic modern and contemporary works made from different and sometimes unusual materials to encourage visitors to challenge their perceptions about sculpture. This includes works by Gary Hume, Susie MacMurray and Bryan Kneale amongst others.’

Close up shot of pom pom art installation

Phyllida Barlow, ‘untitled: GIG’ (detail), 2014, ‘Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women 1947-2016’. Installation view at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, Los Angeles CA. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.© Phyllida Barlow, Photo: Fredrik Nilsen 

Phyllida Barlow’s installation

‘Not to be missed is Phyllida Barlow’s sculptural installation for Masterpiece Presents, in conjunction with Hauser & Wirth. Masterpiece Presents provides a platform for innovative, immersive works of art at the entrance to the fair. The artist is known for using found materials, and her installation follows the supersized ‘pom pom’ works she first developed in the 1990s.’

Read more: JD Malat Gallery opens psychedelic anniversary exhibition

Antiquities

‘See exceptional works of art at the fair like Edward Hurst’s rare Roman British mosaic, Augustine Rodin’s famous The Thinker (on offer at Bowman Sculpture), and the recently discovered lost work of Sir Anthony Van Dyck at Philip Mould & Company.’

Partial wall mosaic

Edward Hurst: Romano-British Mosaic, attributed to the Durnovarian School, early 4th century AD. From the Roman Villa at Dewlish Dorset. Courtesy Edward Hurst

Curated booths

‘Enjoy carefully curated booths that epitomise our cross-collecting ethos, such as Daniel Crouch Rare Books and Les Enluminures’ shared booth inspired by Harari’s best-selling book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Axel Vervoordt, Godson & Coles and Rose Uniacke also work in this vein, presenting works of art across a range of materials and eras.’

Low coffee table photographed under spotlight in a dark room

Axel Vervoordt: José Zanine Caldas, Sculptured Dining Tabe, Brazil, 1979, Juerana and Pequi wood, Courtesy Axel Vervoordt

Canadian Inuit art

‘Our Principal Partner, RBC, will be presenting a curated exhibition of Canadian Inuit art in their lounge. This will include works by Shuvinai Ashoona, Annie Pootoogook, and Tim Pitsiulak, who are all artists from the Kinngait Studios Inuit art community.’

Masterpiece London 2019 sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada runs from 27 June to 3 July at Royal Hospital Chelsea. For more information visit: masterpiecefair.com

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Reading time: 2 min
Portrait of chinese art collector Kelly Ying
Sign for Art021 art fair in front of a water fountain and skyscrapers

Art021 is a contemporary art fair in Shanghai set up by art collector Kelly Ying and her husband

Co-founder of Shanghai’s contemporary art fair Art021, Kelly Ying is considered one of the most influential young art collectors in China. Here, we speak to Ying about art collecting, love at first sight and supporting young artists.

Portrait of art collector Kelly Ying

Kelly Ying

1. You used to work in fashion industry, what made you want to start collecting contemporary art and do you see a connection between the two worlds?

I think there are definitely connections between art and fashion, and we need to explore that more. I started to collect art many years ago because of my family. My mom and my husband [David Chau] have a strong influence on my collection and collecting decisions.

Follow LUX on Instagram: the.official.lux.magazine

2. What draws you to an artwork? Do you think your tastes tend towards a particular aesthetic?

I believe in “love at first sight”, therefore the initial emotional and aesthetical chemistry of an artwork is very important to me. As a woman myself, emotions play a significant part in my collecting decisions. However, I also try to balance emotions with intellectual analysis, looking at artists’ background, past exhibitions, exposures, etc. Recently I’m really attached to artists working with different media, multi-media and mix-media works.

3. Why did you decide to set up Art021?

My husband, Bao Yifeng and I all thought that there should be a high-quality contemporary art fair in Shanghai at the time. We felt the urge, and we got the courage, so we made ART021 happen.

Portrait of chinese art collector Kelly Ying

Originally working in the fashion industry, Ying is now focusing entirely on art.

4. Which artists are exciting you at the moment?

Many artists excite me. I like young artists. I find Chinese artists like Li Qing and Zhao Yao very interesting. During my recent trips to LA, I discovered that there are lots of talented young artists based in LA who deserve more attention. I also like artists like Amalia Pica and Ryan Gander, who make very conceptual artworks.

5. What advice would you give to young collectors?

I think young collectors should just get out, look at art and visit lots of exhibitions and fairs. It’s also important for them to talk more often with the right person in the art world.

6. What gets you up in the morning?

A nice cup of coffee!

Follow Kelly Ying on Instagram: @kellyyingxoxo

Art021 runs from 7-10 November 19, for more information visit: art021.org

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Abstract vibrant painting by Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar.

‘Love Ritual’, 2018/19. Oil on canvas. Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar.

This year’s edition of artmonte-carlo brings international galleries to the Côte d’Azur. We speak to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat resident and artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar about the fair and the rising interest in contemporary Iranian art

artmonte-carlo returns to the French Riviera for its fourth-edition with a select list of prominent international galleries, including Kamel Mennour, White Cube and Victoria Miro to name but a few. This will be artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar‘s first time participating in the fair at Dusseldorf-based gallery Setareh’s booth, alongside contemporary Iranian artist Reza Derakshani. The booth will also feature works by Gregor Gleiwitz, Hans Hartung, Imi Knoebel, Markus Lupertz amongst others.

Based in Dusseldorf with three locations, Setareh Gallery presents a global selection of contemporary and modern art. Established in 2013, the gallery is anchored in the Rhineland whilst operating internationally.

Known for his vibrant, abstract mixed-media paintings, which draw on ancient Persian motifs, patterns and landscapes, Behnam-Bakhtiar celebrates a complex cultural identity and not only invites new perspectives on the region, but also explores themes of a prosperous way of life, human evolution, the universal language, eternal feelings and Self, history, present and future. His work awakens a strong sense of experiencing positive emotions and transcendence, while accessing its audience’s psyche to bring about locked knowledge, intuition and human sensitivity.

Follow LUX on Instagram: the.official.lux.magazine

‘It is not a surprise that Iranian art holds its own league due to the vastness and richness of the Iranian culture and heritage,’ says Bakhtiar. ‘Even though the contemporary Iranian art scene has faced many challenges throughout the last few decades due to the political climate on Iran – unfortunately affecting its artists, gallerists and art institutions – Iranian artists due to the quality of their work and their profiles internationally have managed to perform in an outstanding manner, being represented by leading galleries internationally, holding important museum and gallery exhibitions.’

Abstract painting by Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar

‘Mini Lovers’, 2017. Oil on canvas. Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar

Read more: Inside one of the world’s most exclusive business networks

Behnam-Bakhtiar’s own work has been steadily gaining an international presence since his emergence on the art scene back in 2009. A recent sale Christie’s sale in Dubai, U.A.E, Dubai, U.A.E, saw his painting ‘Eternal Spring, 100 x 73 cm’ surpass its estimate of USD 6,000 to 8,000 to sell for USD 12,500, whilst ‘Hunting the Dawn, 199 x 224 cm’ by Reza Derakshani sold for USD 112,500, both nearly doubling their estimates.

Bright pink abstract painting by artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar

‘Psychedelic Wholeness’, 2017/2018. Oil on canvas. Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar

Abstract colourful painting of flowers

‘Flower Garden’. Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar.

Bakhtiar will be unveiling a new collection of works at the fair and is looking forward to exhibiting in a country that he feels a deep connection to. ‘As a somewhat local artist living and working in the neighbouring Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat while having roots in the principality from a very young age, it is nice to be representing the arts of the region in a fair of this calibre,’ he says.

artmonte-carlo runs from 25 to 28 April 2019. For more information visit: artmontecarlo.ch

To view more artwork by Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar visit sassanbehnambakhtiar.com or follow the artist on Instagram @sassanbehnambakhtiar

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Digital art installation of multiple screens by Victoria Fu
Digital art piece by California based artist Victoria Fu

‘Double Curtain 1’ (2017). Victoria Fu.

California-based artist Victoria Fu, the official artist of 2019’s Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounge at Frieze Los Angeles, is at the forefront of exploring the realm between the digital and the analog, as she explains to Anna Wallace-Thompson

DEUTSCHE BANK WEALTH MANAGEMENT x LUX

Portrait of digital installation artist Victoria Fu

Victoria Fu

Hazy circles of red, blue and aqua overlap, a Venn diagram of mingling new colors emerging from textured surfaces. Elsewhere, scratches like the snags on celluloid skip across the faded screen of a computer desktop. They exist amongst a procession of lights and shadows, but – like the most famous shadows of all, on Plato’s cave wall – which are real, and which are not?

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It’s a good question, and one that Californian artist Victoria Fu finds immensely intriguing. In an ever more digitized world, Fu is interested in the space between the real and the virtual, the analog and the digital. This duality leads to lush, textured works and installations comprising layers of shapes and forms, blurring the boundaries between what is physically there and what is digitally inserted (or even projected) onto a surface.

Image of an artwork by Victoria Fu featuring a digital green square bent in one corner

‘Medium Square 4’ (2018). Victoria Fu.

Born in Santa Monica, and a Stanford and CalArts alumna (she is also the co-founder of The Moving Index, an online database of all things video art), Fu’s artistic practice explores how we navigate time and the body within this evolving area. “When I began working with moving image installations (film and video), I found myself migrating into the digital and virtual world, away from the materiality of film and its processes,” she explains. “I started to feel what can only be described as a sort of existential loss of the ‘real’ – whatever ‘real’ is. The loss of a connection, of situating my body in time and space. I addressed this loss through combining both analog and digital elements in a variety of installation formats and configurations.” With works such as Double Curtain 1 (2017), part of her solo show ‘Télévoix’ at New York’s Simon Preston Gallery in 2017, for example, she literally divided the room to create a double-sided installation that played with contrasts such as dark/light and physical/virtual, and showed her fascination with what the normally unseen rear of an image might be like. Meanwhile, in ‘Velvet Peel’, her solo show at LA gallery Honor Fraser in 2015, her interest in how we interact with our world was evident in Pinch-Zoom (2015), a large, Las Vegas-style neon sign in which fingers pinch in and out, as when manipulating the touchscreen of a smartphone.

Read more: Switzerland’s spectacular new ski region

LUX: You probe what lies behind an image. Can a digital image really have a ‘back’? Can you turn it over?
Victoria Fu: While working on Belle Captive 1 (2013) for the Whitney Biennial, I was making installations with faux walls. You could see a projected image on the ‘face’ of the wall, but if you went around the back, it was the unfinished raw wood frame of the structure, revealing the image as nothing more than an empty façade. I started thinking about how an image is, for lack of a better word, so ‘flat’ and one-directional. It begged the question: what’s on the other side? How would one conceive of an image ‘in the round’, or sculpturally, in installation?

Digital art installation of multiple screens by Victoria Fu

‘Belle Captive I’ (2013). Victoria Fu

LUX: How are you exploring this other side?
Victoria Fu: Part of what appeals to me is the unknown, and the spookiness of it as well. What is the dimension of a pixel – does it have space? What is behind it? Let’s flip it over! So much of what we see on TV, in films and advertisements, is all done in post-production. There are all these layers of things that don’t really have a root in the ‘real’ world. In most films, you can sort of imagine what the air smells like in a room between a figure and the background, you have that sense of dimension and place. But with enough computer-generated elements, there are so many disparate layers all spliced together to form a coherent image reality. There’s no texture. There’s no ‘smell’. I’m fascinated by that glassy emptiness.

LUX: Wait, what do you mean ‘the smell’ of an image?
Victoria Fu: How do we make sense of our relationship to images through our bodily senses? How does the act of touching the screen and the new haptic dimension of images influence how we understand where we are in the world, and to some degree who we are? There’s an ontological element to these acts, how we make sense of our being – obviously we use our eyes in this image-saturated world, but now we’re ‘touching’ images too. It makes sense then that we might try to make use of our sense of smell. What does an image smell like? Textures in certain images can conjure up an abstracted sense of smell. With some digital images there’s a void, like when you have a cold and you can’t taste or smell anything. It’s that absence that I find so interesting, as a texture in itself.

Neon yellow arrow wired onto a yellow wall

‘Scoop’ (2015). Victoria Fu.

LUX: There’s a lot of this duality in your work – the landscape that exists between the ‘there’ and the ‘not there’.
Victoria Fu: I identify with a generation that grew up in an analog world but is perfectly fluent and comfortable in the digital. I’m interested in mixing things together in a way that one can’t extract what part is digital and what is analog, and in showing how these things are inextricably connected to each other as images.

Read more: Meet the new creative entrepreneurs

LUX: How so?
Victoria Fu: Double Curtain 1 from ‘Télévoix’ is a single film frame that contains the glitches and by-products of hand-processing film. The shapes on the curtain are scratches on film emulsion, and the particular way in which the different color layers of emulsion flake off. I then took this film image to somebody in Hollywood who works with 3D post-production, and they extruded 3D shapes out of the 2D ones, almost like creating a topological map of a landscape, and printed it on the back of the curtain. The double-sided curtain expresses these dual worlds – it’s the same world, it’s one curtain, yet that reality can be expressed in more than one way (depending on which side you’re standing). There is a video projection on the wall behind the curtain that imagines what kind of shadows that 3D-extruded shape would cast. This is the game of telephone, where each translation distorts the next iteration of the original – hence the name of the exhibit, ‘Télévoix’.

LUX: How important to you is the viewer’s body in the space itself?
Victoria Fu: Very – it’s one of my primary interests. A work can be viewed as documentation, as a video file, and still engage somebody, but it really is a different experience in person. I think a lot about how we spectate, how we situate ourselves in time and space in relationship to the moving image, and how that is changing. When you view one of my moving-image works there are moments when you can get quite comfortable and immersed in the narrative, and then there are moments where you are yanked into another space – and sometimes it’s the very gallery space you’re sitting in. This back and forth is what I find interesting, where you never quite sit comfortably.

Neon light artwork depicting a hand pinching by Victoria Fu

‘Small Pinch-Zoom (white)’ (2015). Victoria Fu.

LUX: Have you thought about working in virtual reality?
Victoria Fu: I’m curious about VR but I draw the line at interactivity and an actual touchscreen. I enjoy the buffer between spectator and image, and that’s kind of where I live. VR still emphasizes a kind of cinematic looking in a way that might be in keeping with my interests.

LUX: Speaking of the moving image, the Frieze LA venue is Paramount Studios, a real film lot. Does that relate to your work in any way?
Victoria Fu: With Frieze opening in LA there’s a very conscious coming together of Hollywood and the art world, and I think there are a lot of commonalities between the two that I embrace, as it’s very relevant to the content of my work. The language and tools of film production are central subjects for me. I think the context of Hollywood will help underline how I am thinking through the processes and tools of how we create a visual reality through the moving image, and how we are changing as spectators, from viewers to users in a melding of the two.

Victoria Fu has been invited to create a site-based installation in the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounge at the Paramount Theater, Los Angeles, presented in collaboration with Deutsche Bank’s Art, Culture & Sports division. Deutsche Bank has been supporting cutting-edge artists globally for more than 35 years – building a substantial collection of works on paper, recognizing young artists with awards and commissions and organizing numerous exhibitions and museum partnerships. For more information visit: art.db.com

This article was first published in the Winter 2019 issue

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An artistic interpretation of Runiart Champagne House by Scottish Artist Georgia Russell
Hubert Le Gall's artistic interpretation of Runiart champagne house

Ruinart 12 months Vineyard Shadows by Hubert Le Gall

Ruinart has long been a supporter of contemporary arts. Since 1896, the champagne house has commissioned renowned artists to present their own unique vision of the brand, with the most recent interpretation by internationally acclaimed Spanish artist and sculptor Jaume Plensa. Today, in the run up to Frieze London and Frieze Masters, Ruinart (the fair’s official partner) has opened a hub at the Rosewood London for art and champagne lovers to further explore the brand’s artistic history.

The Ruinart experience at Rosewood London begins with a walk through the lobby and Mirror Room to admire six of the artworks previously commissioned by the champagne house by Maarten Baas, Georgia Russell, Gideon Rubin, Piet Hein Eek, Hubert le Gall and Erwin Olaf. The selected pieces represent each artist’s interpretation and celebration of different aspects of the Maison Ruinart including the vision of its creator, its history and the specialised art of champagne making from vine to bottle.

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Runiart champagne bottle Blanc de Blancs

Runiart Blanc de Blancs

Visitors can then enjoy a glass of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs by the glass or a Ruinart Champagne Cocktail expertly created by the Rosewood London mixology team and paired with a Lobster Croustade, Avocado and Wood Sorrel canapé. There are also specially curated menus to be enjoyed amongst the artworks in the Mirror Room  including the Ruinart Champagne Breakfast Menu with ‘Lobster Eggs Benedict’ and ‘Fresh Strawberries and Ruinart Mimosa Granite’ and the Ruinart Afternoon Tea Menu inspired by Hubert Le Gall’s artwork on display in exhibition.

An artistic interpretation of Runiart Champagne House by Scottish Artist Georgia Russell

The Grand Livre by Scottish artist Georgia Russell for Ruinart

Read next: Richard Mille’s Art & Elegance in Chantilly

For true decadence, the hotel’s Ruinart x Frieze Experience includes a one night stay in a deluxe suite for 2 people with a bottle of Ruinart champagne on arrival, Ruinart champagne cocktails and paired canapés in the Mirror Room, chauffer driven BMW transfers to and from Frieze London, plus VIP access to Frieze London and a glass of champagne at the Ruinart Bar at Frieze London. Yes, please!

The Ruinart Hub at Rosewood London runs from 25 September to 25 November.

 

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Fotofever Paris is a friendly kind of art fair. It welcomes newcomers, whether or not their pockets are deep, and favours fresh faced talent. Ahead of the fair’s fifth edition, held under the majestic roof of the Carrousel du Louvre, Millie Walton speaks to the founder and director, Cécile Schall about the emotional impact of artwork, how digital apps have affected photography and the next generation of collectors.

founder of fotofever

Cécile Schall. Image by Paola Guigou

Millie Walton: What inspired you to start fotofever?
Cécile Schall: My passion for photography is something that’s always been with me, fed by my family’s attachment to this art form for many generations. I founded fotofever 5 years ago, driven by the feeling I had when I purchased my first ever artwork 8 years ago; the emotion took over me and I knew I had to have that work. I found a way, through instalments, so that I could have it in my home and enjoy it every day. I now want to show other art lovers, that it’s possible to become a collector and also demonstrate why it is important to collect, which will support artists and to allow great artistic creation to continue.

MW: How do you compete against more established and larger art fairs?
CS: fotofever stands out from the other fairs firstly because it is the only one focused on encouraging and guiding new collectors. Our program ‘start to collect’ has been created specifically to offer new collectors a selection of quality artworks within a price range attainable for new collectors ( less than 5,000 Euros). It will also offer more established collectors some guidelines and the basic principles about collecting photography, so that they can ‘safely’ let their heart fall for an artwork and purchase it.

Fumikazu Ishino photography

Fumikazu Ishino ‘A Caramel Tooth Filling’. Courtesy Einstein Studio

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I see photography as the most appropriate medium to begin buying and collecting contemporary art. It’s the most accessible aesthetically and financially. Today, however, unfortunately we see that most people who have the financial means to collect, hesitate to take that first step. Often this is because the art world is intimidating to novices.

Fotofever is the perfect hunting ground for confirmed collectors who seek to discover the artists of tomorrow – our independence allows us to present galleries with a bold program. Highlights of this year’s fair include the new zig-zag scenography, The Collector’s Apartment and organised discussions between artists, collectors and gallerists.

Eric Bouvet photography

‘Burning Man’ 2012 by Eric Bouvet, Courtesy Galerie Hegoa

MW: What advice would you give to someone looking to start a collection?
CS: To start a collection, you first have to realise that you don’t need to be wealthy or an art expert to buy your first piece of art. There is no set age to begin a collection, nor one to stop.

As a starting point, look for a theme that speaks to you, that is close to your heart, a passion. The theme is sometimes unconscious and may reveal itself to you well after the purchase of the first work…

Go to a gallery that you feel comfortable with, one where you imagine trust can be established. Perhaps that represents an artist who you’re already aware of.

Read next: In conversation with Frieze art fair’s co-founder, Matthew Slotover

Follow your heart and wait for the right moment. When you come across a good work, you’ll know. It will be like a light bulb has been switched on inside your head.

Despite this wave of emotion, keep your feet on the ground and start “small” when it comes to price and do not hesitate to ask the gallery if you can pay in monthly instalments as many are open to this.

Hugh Arnold's underwater photography series

Hugh Arnold. ‘Series Agua Nacida’. Courtesy Hilton Asmus Foto

MW:How do you think the art market has changed in recent years?
CS: The art market has evolved a great deal over the last decade, especially with the development of online galleries, or physical galleries that sell online. This has broken down a lot of galleries and encouraged more transparency with pricing, something that we agree with at fotofever is displaying the price as one of the exhibitor requirements.

MW: Are there any particular themes or trends that you can see emerging in photography?
CS: Each year fotofever gives birth to new collectors thanks to an eclectic selection of several hundred works presented by galleries from around the world. If it were not for these galleries and their expanding horizons, then this would not be able to happen. As a forward-looking photography art fair we are open to all new types of photography and its artists. Technology is moving fast and many of the galleries at fotofever mirror this, whether it’s the discovery of artists on Instagram or tricky aerial photography.

Antonie Rose photography

Antoine Rose. ‘Spiagge Bianche Study 2 Serie Tuscany 2015’. Courtesy Xin Art Galerie

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Millie Walton: How do you think digital apps like Instagram, have impacted the world of photography?<>
Cécile Schall: We live in an image-saturated world. Everyone carries some type of camera on them and are encourage to use it, to document, to share, sometimes to show-off! There is a generation that have grown up surrounded by photography. One of the focuses of fotofever is to educate the younger generation about photography as an art form, rather than a lifestyle accessory.

One of the main challenges we see when it comes to contemporary photography is its reproducibility, as opposed to the uniqueness of a painting or a sculpture. Photographers are creating more and more unique works to make them stand out not only visually but creatively too.

Edouard Taufenbach photography

Edouard Taufenbach. Cinema 1p Serie Cinema. Courtesy Galerie Gratadou Intuiti

This challenge is to do with the apparent simplicity of the photography practice, in a world where everyone with a smart phone considers themselves a photographer. It can give photography the status of a simple reproduction technique, when the creative process of some artists is very complex and part of the uniqueness of their work – such as Catherine Balet who worked full-time over 3 years to create her series Looking For The Masters in Ricardo’s Golden Shoes, or Antoine Rose who rides an helicopter over seaside resorts to take perfectly vertical shots.

For children ‘Les p’tits collectionneurs’ (the little collectors) is a 25m2 area at the heart of the fair that we’ve created in order to host fun and free educational workshops for children aged 6-12 years old. We want to show to children the entire creative process behind a photographic work by allowing them to take on the role of model, photographer and graphic designer.

The 18-35 generation also buy a lot online and social media has become influential in their decisions. Although we think that the physical encounter with an artwork is essential, the internet is an amazing information tool. We have been working on our web site to present all the artists that have been exhibited by the 300 galleries at fotofever since 2011. Our idea is to turn this site into a catalogue so that it acts as the fair’s continuum to support these partnerships.

Keren Bereshit photography

Keren Bereshit. 3 Bereshit 2002. Courtesy Lelia Mordoch

MW: In your view, what makes a good photograph?
CS: It’s unexplainable, judging whether an image is a good photograph is something that comes from experience but also from deep emotions. It’s completely subjective and that’s what makes walking around a photography fair such an interesting experience, to be able to see so many versions of a photograph as a work of art.

Read next: Art is the greatest legacy, says auctioneer Simon de Pury

MW: Which participating galleries are you most excited about this year?
CS: Throughout the year preparing the fair, the fotofever team has looked for the most promising, local and international galleries sharing its commitment to emerging contemporary artists using photography as a medium, so we are looking forward to seeing all the projects to be presented in real at the fair.

We are excited for all our exhibitors for different reasons, some because they have come so far (Asia for example), others because they are new, some because they’ve been with us from the beginning. They all add to the eclectic mix, but they all have fresh approaches to photography that you won’t see at other fairs.

fotofever paris 2016, runs from 11th to 13th November at the Carrousel du Louvre

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Frieze Art Fair in Regents Park, London
The Frieze art fairs in London and New York are the reference points for the brave new world of contemporary art: at once ground-breaking and commercial, edgy and established, and a badge of honour for the galleries selected to sell there. Frieze co-founder Matthew Slotover talks to LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai about digital art, the future of culture, and new developments.
Co-founder of Frieze art fair, Matthew Slotover

Matthew Slotover

Matthew Slotover is the co-founder of Frieze art fair in London and New York, and is fast becoming one of the art world’s éminences grises. Although that’s probably a misnomer for this boyish-looking 48-year-old who looks as insouciant as he did the day he and Amanda Sharp founded Frieze magazine in 1991, soon after they had left Oxford University.

Their art fair – the slightly less brash, slightly more cerebral, but just as influential, alternative to Art Basel – is still the most desirable place for the world’s biggest gallerists, collectors, and their armies of hangers-on, to display and purchase.

Slotover and Sharp have resisted the impulse to roll out their brand around the world. Founded in 2003 in a tent in London, Frieze only opened in its second venue, in New York, in 2012. This year, a quarter of a century after the specialist art magazine that spawned the fairs was founded, they took on some outside investment, for the first time, from the sports and entertainment agency WME-IMG – behind Slotover’s innocent facade and genuine love of the new in art is as tough a businessman as any.

Read next: Jude Law talks whiskey, hats and wagers

ON DIGITAL & POST-INTERNET ART
“People have been talking about digital art for 20 years, and your perspective on the subject partly depends on how you define it. Is it art that exists in a purely digital form? If so, what does that mean? Or does it mean art that exists only on the web, or as a video file or an audio file?

Art that only exists on the web is not, I think, the way you define digital art. We have not had very many brilliant examples of artists using a purely virtual presence in that way.

Frieze Art Fair in Regents Park, London

‘Annals of Private History’ by the Spanish installation artist Amalia Ulman at the Live section of Frieze London, 2015

In the past couple of years there has been a conversation about what some people call post-internet art. This usually has a physical component to it. It can be a video animation, but it can also be a sculpture or a flat artwork that refers to the internet and to modern communication, using images collected from the internet, such as logos, graphics and text from Instagram and other social media. It uses the language of technology and new communication to make art.

The art world wants objects [not purely virtual art], and artists want to create objects. I didn’t like Richard Prince’s Instagram paintings  when I first saw them, and now I think they’re brilliant: the work is about taking images that exist already and contextualising them. Richard loves photographic imagery; he used to be a photo editor before he was an artist. So he goes on Instagram, finds images that he likes, and makes a gnomic comment underneath them. He then does a screen grab and then a big print out with the image, with all the comments below. He is both inserting himself virtually into the Instagram world as an artist, and also making a physical object out of it. This leaves him open to criticism by the original image makers. When he did a stand comprising these pictures at Frieze New York last year, we had Facebook and Instagram comments saying we steal people’s copyright.

Read next: Discovering the ancient heart of Hermes

Prince’s response was that recycling images is what he has always done. One of the girls whose image he took did a grab of his picture, which was on sale for $90,000, and started selling prints of it for $100. He thought recycling his work and questioning the value was great.

I find it hard to distinguish between painting, photography, sculpture, digital art and installation. People say to me at Frieze, “There was a lot of photography this year”. I reply that I didn’t see it as photography. A lot of artists move between media. And if digital art has to be shown on a monitor in a gallery, is it physical or not?

Frieze Art Fair in Regents Park, London

‘Collection of Suppressed Voices’ by the Czech artist Eva Kot’átková at the Live section of Frieze London, 2015

What everyone looks for in art is something new that relates to its time, that isn’t just an updated version of what was done before. Most great artists historically follow this pattern: their work could only have been made in their time, they were pushing boundaries.

As to the companies that sell digital images to be displayed on mobile devices, it turns out that what people want on their phone is not beautiful images created by an artist or designer: it’s the age of the selfie, and they want to take the picture and they want it to be of themselves. If you look at Instagram, what are people doing and sharing? It’s very egocentric, and a bit disturbing. I’m not sure art sold for digital devices is really ever going to take off.”

ON BUYING ART ONLINE
“According to TEFAF’s market report this year, the amount of art being sold online is estimated to have gone up from 6% to 7%. Still a small amount, but going in the right direction. Clearly, we are getting more comfortable spending larger amounts of money online. But there are caveats. A couple of months ago I saw a picture that was for sale in an online auction. It looked great. But when I spoke to the artist’s dealer, he told me he had done a physical inspection, and the condition was terrible – something you would never have known if just looking online.

So there are some significant hurdles, which is why the online art market hasn’t exploded in the same way that music or film or clothing has. Many galleries have joined online sales platforms or invested in their own websites, but they are not seeing the returns they expected. They tend to get a lot of inquiries with a very low conversion rate into sales.”

22549941189_d26cc1093e_o

Frieze London has been held in a temporary space in Regent’s Park since 2003; it was more recently joined by Frieze Masters, focussing on non-contemporary art, held across the park

Read next: Taking British luxury overseas

ON THE FUTURE OF FRIEZE
“We are not going to rush into rolling out several new fairs. Our clients – the galleries – are the content. If you don’t have the right galleries, you don’t have a fair. But if the right opportunity arises, we will take it.

We set up the magazine in 1991 and Frieze London in 2003, and then in 2012 we launched our two new fairs, Frieze New York and Frieze Masters in London – so our timing has been roughly a new venture every 10 years!

We now have another new development, Frieze Academy , which has a series of talks, lectures and courses, such as how to write about art, and how to start an independent magazine. This September we are launching a course on art collecting, which will feature several fantastic art consultants, and could grow from London to other cities. And in October we are doing our first conference, for private individuals and museum professionals commissioning architecture for art spaces – homes, private museums and public museums.”

Frieze Academy opened this year; frieze.com

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Reading time: 6 min

art-baselArt Basel Hong Kong is trying to create the same buzz for Asia’s burgeoning collector scene as its parent fair, Art Basel, does in Europe. MAGNUS RENFREW, director of Asia for Art Basel, explains the challenges involved in a fluctuating Asian art market

Over the past six or seven years, the Asian art market has developed considerably. Historically, the market had been quite auction driven, particularly between 2006 and 2008 when there was a sudden big increase in interest for Chinese art. There had also been a lack of curatorial and critical frameworks, which the market had moved to replace. The perception was that an expensive work must be important, which is somewhat back to front.

Marnie Weber Log Lady & Dirty Bunny, 2009 Simon Lee Gallery

Marnie Weber – Log Lady & Dirty Bunny, 2009
Simon Lee Gallery

However, in the last few years, things have changed. The turning point came after 2009 when the prices dropped for some of the artists that had been doing well at auctions. Those artists had adopted the attitude of “make hay while the sun shines” and worked with many different galleries, sometimes consigning works directly to auction.

Artists and collectors have grown to appreciate the importance of the gallery system and its role in promoting the practice of artists, not just selling objects. The galleries we are interested in build the career of the artist for the long term, not just to make a quick buck. They have an agency role to protect the interest of artists for the long term, ensuring there are not too many works going out into the market, that the quality of the work is consistent, try to help put their work in major institutions and institutional shows like biennales and finally try to sell the work to genuine collectors, not speculators.

I think that the art market is far more sophisticated now. It isn’t just about buying a big name artist, but the right period, the right subject matter and purchasing an artist that is growing in critical and curatorial stature. Asia is a very dynamic environment and it is an audience that learns extraordinarily quickly. There is a new generation of collectors who really want to collect from galleries and are passionate about collecting, rather than investing.

artbasel.com/hongkong

One and J. Gallery One of the first galleries to focus primarily on young contemporary Korean artists

One and J. Gallery – One of the first galleries to focus primarily on young contemporary Korean artists

Laurent Grasso Visibility is a trap, 2012 Edouard Malingue Gallery

Laurent Grasso
Visibility is a trap, 2012
Edouard Malingue Gallery

Susumu Koshimizu Paper, 2013 Gallery Yamaki

Susumu Koshimizu – Paper, 2013
Gallery Yamaki

‘Paper Rain Parade’ Hong Kong artist Angela Su performs during Art Basel Hong Kong in 2013

‘Paper Rain Parade’
Hong Kong artist Angela Su performs during Art Basel
Hong Kong in 2013

Doug Aitken You/You, 2012 303 Gallery

Doug Aitken – You/You, 2012
303 Gallery

Melora Kuhn Her permanent mark on him, 2014 Galerie Eigen+Art

Melora Kuhn – Her permanent mark on him, 2014
Galerie Eigen+Art

Antony Gormley Feeling Material XXXV, 2008 White Cube

Antony Gormley – Feeling Material XXXV, 2008, White Cube

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Art Hong Kong

TheArtPioneer3TIM ETCHELLS FOUNDED ART HONG KONG, WHICH HAS NOW BEEN TAKEN OVER BY ART BASEL AND IS THE LEADING ART FAIR IN ASIA. NOW HE’S LAUNCHING ANOTHER FAIR – IN LONDON, HOME OF FRIEZE. HE TELLS LUX WHY

What is Art13?

TheArtPioneer2It is London’s global art fair. The capital has people from all over the world, living here, working here and appreciating art. The existing art fairs don’t cover everyone. London is a big city of 8 million odd people, it can certainly warrant another. We don’t want people to feel intimidated, it is a friendly fair. The gallery content is very much global; half of our stands are from 25 other countries outside the UK, from Korea, China, Australia, India, all over the world. Many have never shown here or if they have, it hasn’t been for a long time in an art fair, even many of the UK galleries.

Why is it different?

There are people out there who like art and are wealthy individuals and who feel that there isn’t an art fair in London they can relate to. The affordable art fair is about decorative art, filling a hole on the wall with a piece of art and probably not curated. Frieze is vetted and curated, but your average person who buys two or three pieces of art a year at a reasonable level is intimidated when they visit. They don’t feel relaxed. Its focus is a very serious art fair, the character and the atmosphere. Art13 will be a serious art fair, but a friendly art fair with a personality.

How do you make an art fair friendly?

We have employed an architect who is working on the theme, ‘All the Fun of the Art Fair.’ He works on interior design for restaurants and homes, most recently Adele’s house. He understands approachability. If you had an exhibition designer, they would create a design for an exhibition space, it would look like all the others. The prevalence of social media means the look of the place is even more important. You want your guests tweeting, bringing an audience there through the week. If it looks great, busy and a place you want to go, then people will come, word of mouth drives it.

Who do you want to attract?

Art fair audiences are a pyramid. At the top are the really serious art collectors, in the middle are the wealthy individuals who collect art and then the general public who just want a day out. We see all three sectors as equally important and feeling that they are welcome there; they can walk into a gallery and talk to the owner about the art. Maybe they won’t buy today, but they will buy tomorrow.

How did Art Hong Kong begin?

I first had the idea when I was in Australia. I was speaking to Australian galleries who told me they had been up in Hong Kong selling art by taking hotel rooms. It didn’t seem a very smart way to do it so when I heard they had no art fair I went up there. I had never been to Hong Kong before, but I realised there was a gap and decided we should do an art fair. Hong Kong is a hub, Asia is growing, the pieces of the product slotted together

How difficult was it to establish it?

People were very sceptical. We got into month three or four of the project and I said “at what point should we pull it, do we have a fair?” because we were struggling to get galleries in. Magnus Renfrew, the Fair’s Director, just kept on pushing; he had a real vision about how he wanted the fair to be. In the first year the gallery year was almost there, not exactly what we wanted, but it was good enough to build the fair on.

We were determined never to do a deal with any galleries. There is a real temptation to do that, especially with a new art fair, but it can be the kiss of death. If the galleries you give spaces to pull out, it sends the wrong message to others. In London there are still some galleries we would like to be in it, but at the moment it is a good enough base so that the galleries that we want to be there are interested in participating.

Is it easy to set up an art fair?

It has become tougher, probably because of global competition. People look at any fair from a global perspective. A gallery will decide whether they want to show in Rio or Miami now, where as before they would be much more local. It really is about getting your positioning right. It isn’t just about the message of the fair, but also about where and when. We deliberately chose February because we go through the terrible January period, then in February the flowers start to come out, London Fashion Week and the BAFTAs appear, the Oscars start coming and people are looking for things to do. We chose West London because of the wealth around there. If you get those bits right, you can make a great fair.

Have art fairs changed the art scene?

It has changed how galleries sell their art. You look at the sales mix now and they sell it through the gallery, through their website and through the art fairs. If you look at any serious gallery, they will all have at least one or two art fairs in their year. They bring out a different audience they often can’t access any other way. Art fairs are important for the audience too. I have never seen someone unhappy at an art fair. I went to Fiac in Paris in the Grand Palais, it’s stunning. How could you not enjoy that?

What are your concerns?

The concern of anyone running these events is that you want both sides to do business. You want the visitor to enjoy it and buy art and the galleries to sell, either that day in the fair or later on, when people visit their gallery.

I have no problem bowling up to a visitor in the art fair to see what they think. 9 times out of 10 people will tell you and you get an honest answer. Most of my lot are terrified of it, but I love it, that’s how you learn. They will tell you little things, the negatives so that you can react to them.

How did you become involved in running events?

30 years ago I was a photocopy salesman; to this day I have no idea how a photocopier works. I found selling boxes that copy things boring so I changed job to work as a salesman for an events company. I worked my way up and after 8 or 9 years asked the owner if I could ever buy a stake in the business. When he said no, I left to join a new company and started ‘The Money Shows’. We built them up and sold them on which is how it all started.

Have you had any particularly difficult events?

I decided to launch The Clothes Show in London and linked it to Cosmopolitan. The deal was that they lent their brand and I funded the show. We persuaded the companies we worked with on London Fashion Week to take a stall alongside some cool cosmetics companies and held it in Earl’s Court. We got an audience, but they were all kids, 16 year olds with no money, not the 25 year old readership Cosmo described. Normally with fairs, you expect to lose in the first year, make back the loss in the second year and make profit in the third, but with that show, you could never make it back again. Cosmo wanted me to do it again, but I walked away with a half a million pound loss.

Do you always invest your own money?

Yes, always. The art fairs are more challenging than any. You have massive staff costs, over heads, venue costs, promotion costs and you don’t get a penny in for months and months. The art fair at the moment, I doubt we have had £5000 in income.

Do you enjoy the risk?

The house isn’t on the line, but I do enjoy the risk. Like anyone who invests in something I’m always aware that I have to put more in, so you don’t have the painful moment of trying to find that money from somewhere.

What is it that you still love about running these shows?

The satisfaction of seeing it come together. Some shows are nightmares, you nearly pull them, you can’t sell the stands. The buzz that you get at the end of the second day – if you have a strong start it generally follows through – when everyone is happy is great. As a business man, when you have a successful event, you know that is something you can build on. That’s a really nice feeling.

What are you most proud of?

Probably Art HK. I had never done a high end art fair and I had never been to Hong Kong. To create something that Art Basel buys 70% of and be considered in the premier league of art fairs is phenomenal.

Do you collect art?

Bits and bobs. I buy a lot of Australian art because it is colourful, it’s clever and it’s quite good value and I have some Warhols. I quite like pop art because I was brought up in the 60s and 70s. I bought my first Wahol in the late 80s in New York just after I had done a deal. I said to the guy in the gallery “I really like this painting. He’s not making them like this anymore is he?” and he replied “no, that’s because he has been dead 10 years.” So really, I didn’t know anything about art!

Art13 London, 1-3 March, 2013, artfairslondon.com Interview by Caroline Davies

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