VOLTA, the renowned art fair for new and emerging art, debuted in Basel in 2005 as a collaboration between dealers and friends. The aim was to secure a platform for international galleries beyond young art stalwart Liste and market heavyweight Art Basel. Concerns and aspirations of the exhibiting gallerists have been first and foremost since VOLTA's inception; in combination with the curatorial mind of Artistic Director Amanda Coulson, eclectic and dynamic presentations with a strong focus on solo presentations find a stage as refined as at the main fair. Over a decade on, VOLTA remains committed to the same values and spirit and now, in our 'pre-teen years', we are ready — in the immortal words of Nigel Tufnel — to GO TO 11!
VOLTA has already created a brand known and respected for its strict selection of exhibiting galleries and artists, including a growing list of alumni who have graduated to the main fairs. Former exhibitors like A Gentil Carioca (Rio de Janeiro), STEVENSON (Cape Town/Johannesburg), One and J. Gallery (Seoul) and bitforms gallery (New York) ascended to Frieze and Art Basel after exhibiting at VOLTA. Likewise, artists including Theaster Gates, Chris Johanson, Zilvinas Kempinas, Cameron Platter, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, and Adrian Williams have shown in prestigious events like the Venice Biennale, the Orangerie (Paris), dOCUMENTA, Art Basel's Art Parcours and Art Unlimited, following their featured showings at VOLTA.
Encouraged by the response of collectors and institutional representatives to the fair's solo presentations and curated booths, VOLTA will continue to highlight single-artist projects and dynamic configurations of two or three artists in dialogue as the backbone to its program. In doing so, VOLTA returns the focus of the art fair atmosphere back to its most crucial component: the artists and their works.
With the move back to the airy splendor of Basel's landmark venue Markthalle, situated in a key central location in the city, VOLTA confirmed its position as a mature player in Basel’s art week and elevates its exhibitors’ respective platforms for an experience mutually beneficial to fair visitors and the galleries alike. Showcasing the highest calibre of new art bearing salient contemporary positions within an elegant environment: this is VOLTA's mission.