PREVIEW FROM AMSTERDAM by Andrea Alessi
A number of Amsterdam galleries are packing up their wares and cheerfully heading off to visit their lowland neighbors this month. Many Dutch galleries have developed close relationships with Belgian collectors and art spaces – so Art Brussels, as described by one Amsterdam gallerist, “feels a bit like home.” Seven Dutch galleries are participating this year, comprising selected first-timers or “First Call” exhibitors, “Young Talent” galleries, and returning participants. I had the chance to speak with Amsterdam galleries from each of these categories about their Belgian plans.
(Image: Lisa Oppenheim, Cathay, Two synchronised 16 mm film projections. Courtesy of the artist and Juliètte Jongma, Amsterdam)
Galerie Juliètte Jongma will be camping out on the First Call island with a colorful selection of works from the gallery’s fresh, young artists. The eponymous Jongma says she took Alice Nikitinova’s graphic and bold compositions (from the gallery’s most recent show) as a launching point from which she began to make playful visual connections. Experimenting with color and form, Jongma’s been shuffling around paintings and photographs by Nikitinova, Lisa Oppenheim, Melissa Gordon, and Nina Yuen. The gallery’s presentation will be juxtaposing these formally striking pieces with more narrative works including Yuen’s mini video installation screened on a monitor atop a child’s desk, and with works by storytellers like painter Arjan van Helmond and the unforgettable master of sculpted paper, Karen Sargsyan. Visitors can expect to see new work from both of these artists.
(Image: Joep van Liefland, Untitled (Projector), Silkscreen on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Martin van Zomeren, Amsterdam)
Martin van Zomeren, labeled as one of Art Brussels’ “Young Talent” exhibitors, is showing a varied cross-section of its portfolio. The gallery participated in Art Brussels once before and is returning this year with work from a group of international artists who’ve been busy exhibiting throughout European galleries, museums, and art spaces. About 85% of the artwork will reportedly be fresh from the studio – be sure to look out for an ethereal new painting by long-time gallery affiliated artist Cornelius Quabeck and new “light paintings” from Navid Nuur (who has a concurrent solo exhibition in the gallery). Expect recent works from Katja Mater, who cleverly photographs geometric drawings and paintings, and a small landscape from Matt Bryans. Joep van Liefland and Lucy Stein will also be represented.
(Image: Mick Peter, Unititled (Egg), Resin, expanding foam, cardboard, jesmonite, paint, steel and MDF, 200x125x115 cm. courtesy of the artist and GRIMM, Amsterdam)
A returning exhibitor, GRIMM is showing work by a group of young Americans working primarily in sculpture and mixed media. When I commented on the affinities of this cohort, with its playful masculinity and focus on material experimentation, gallery director Judith van Ingen replied knowingly, “We call them our “Brooklyn Boys!” This fortuitous selection keeps up momentum for gallery-represented artists, Larry Bamburg (see review) , Matthew Day Jackson, Adam Helms, Dave McDermott, and Nick van Woert. All have recent (or forthcoming) solo shows and have been receiving much positive attention in Europe of late.
In addition to the Brooklyn Boys, GRIMM has put forth a sculpture by British artist, Mick Peter, for the fair’s “Art in the City,” an outdoor sculpture exhibition in Egmont Park. Participating artists are all considered for a public art commission from the city of Brussels, the winner of which will be announced at the fair’s official opening on Thursday. Peter’s submission, Untitled (Egg), is a blown up “Czech cubist desk ornament,” an inflated executive desk toy writ large. The surreal polyhedral egg, suspended in the act of decanting its contents onto a black platform (a shrunken desk perhaps?), marries the absurd with a sort of classical formalism. As Peter’s sculptures are generally exhibited indoors, it should be exciting to witness the introduction of his work to the open Belgian air.
(Image at top: Larry Bamburg - Bamberg (sic.), Keizersgracht (installation view), 2011, GRIMM, NL. Courtesy of the artist and GRIMM)
PREVIEW FROM GERMANY by Mara Goldwyn
This year, seventeen galleries from Germany will participate in Art Brussels. Galerie Sonja Junkers is in the "First Call," and six galleries will be showing in the "Young Talent" section. The remainder are returning. Mara Goldwyn has selected three of her favorites for preview.
(Image: Brandt Junceau, Untitled, Bronze; Courtesy of Galerie Sonja Junkers and the artist)
Galerie Sonja Junkers, based in Munich, will soon make the move to London. Sonja Junkers is known to show artists with a contemporary bite; a group exhibition is just as likely to include letters and vinyl as it is drawing and sculpture. Among those on the roster are K8 Hardy, a New York artist and member of LTTR, “the queer-feminist collective producing an independent art journal, performances, events, screenings and collaborations;” and Brandt Junceau, a New York/Berlin-based sculptor who casts busts that are reminiscent of Giacometti. Junceau is considered a “pioneer of a recently evolving art phenomenon, which some critics have described as ‘the imaginary archaeological in art’ produced by the ‘artist as historian.’” And in Munich photographer Joerg Koopmann’s work, “one’s attention automatically shifts towards the author, because there is otherwise no central theme and no other clearly defined borders within which the images could be read.” Galerie Sonja Junkers will also show work by Patti Smith, Christoph Schlingensief, Florian Süssmayr and Hadley Hudson.
(All citations from http://www.sonjajunkers.com/)
(Image: Constantin Luser, Conversations; collage No. 26, 2010, Collage and ink, 35 x 35 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Jette Rudolph, Berlin)
Jette Rudolph was founded as an “ambitious project space” in 2005. It is now an entire gallery for international emerging artists. Located in the gallery complex at Zimmerstr. near Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, the gallery has solo exhibitions and curated group shows. At Art Brussels Jette Rudolph will feature works by multi-media Berlin artist Philip Loersch; Constantin Luser, who works in drawing and sculpture; and Berlin painter Klaus-Martin Treder.
(Image: Alon Levin, Towers, wood, mixed media. Courtesy of the artist and KLEMM'S, Berlin)
KLEMM'S. Sebastian Klemm and Silvia Kaske founded Klemm’s gallery in 2007 in Berlin to represent young, emerging artists at the beginning of their career. Though the approaches are quite diverse, all Klemm’s artists are “linked by the attempt to transform experienced reality and scrutinize critically the common current by means of artistic expression.” Klemm’s will present works by Ulrich Gebert, a Leipzig-based multi-media artist, Renaud Regnery, a French Berlin-based artist who often works with silkscreen and collage, and Alon Levin, an Israeli installation artist.