Walter Dahn at booth Sprüth Magers, Berlin, London Rose Eken at booth The Hole, NY and V1 Gallery, Copenhagen Michael Krebber at booth Galerie Nagel Draxler, Köln, Berlin; all works © and courtesy the artists and galleries; photos © artfridge
In its 49th edition, the 209 predominantly German participating galleries of this year's art fair ART COLOGNE are divided in segments of emerging and established galleries for contemporary art and galleries for modern art. For the first time, these segments were separated on three floors. A new tactic, that helped bringing together the young and the established contemporary positions and their galleries: hosting the “New Contemporaries" section on the second floor, the “New Positions" and “Collaborations" section is held in cooperation with NADA on the third floor, while modern and postwar art dealers are united on the ground floor.
Like last year, several dealers from the established second floor emphasise the formal bonds between famous 80s artists from the Rhine area and younger artists, who sympathise with these previous aesthetic trends. Galerie Sprüth Magers, always representing artists throughout all generations, shows the great painting "Dies ist meine Axt" (1982) by Walter Dahn and a light installation by 65-year old conceptual artist Reinhard Mucha. Also other evergreens are shown in the contemporary hall: gallery giant Hauser and Wirth presents paintings by Ida Appelbroog and a sculpture by Paul McCarthy, Hammelehle und Ahrens shows a sleek, nude-toned sculpture by Thomas Rentmeister and Berlin-based gallery Wentrup included a crushed-newspaper-wall-object by the conceptual artist Olaf Metzel.
In these gallery's booths we also encounter younger positions: Placed right next to the object by Olaf Metzel, a large textile-based painting by up-and-coming artist Florian Meisenberg shows a black and a white leg balancing a potato between their toes. The use of different textiles in objects and paintings, anyway, has become a dominant trend. Egan Frantz and Michael Krebber, who are both presented in a great booth by Galerie Nagel Draxler, each play with the layering of frames, textile, paper or plastic, forming three dimensional collages. Around the corner, a painting by Fritz Bornstück at Copehagen-based gallery Mikael Andersen includes pieces of jeans and cotton, and more arms and legs in a jumble of four topless men who embrace and hold each other.
The focus on various textiles as new backgrounds, parts or as replacements for the painterly motif continues on the third – the young and contemporary – floor: Many works by Samuel Francios, represented by jeanrochdard, show a colourful, and serial experimentation with different materials, while Anna Virnich, who is shown by Cologne-based gallery DREI, advances her skilled textile-works and interweaves layers of high-quality textiles with each other in a more representational style than before. This style – we have heard it many times in the past months – returns with a new and less serious character to the art world. Figuration, they say, is back.
While, in turn, the furious debate about zombie-formalism has quieted a bit, the dominance of abstract paintings and the new minimalism is still evident, especially with the fair's newcomers: Emphasising the act of painting and the geometry of composition as the focus, large paintings with large and dark brushstrokes by Max Frintrop can be seen at the booth by Berthold Pott, a series of white'ish abstract paintings by Jens Einhorn are presented at Duve Berlin and Dublin-based Ellis King shows a solo-presentation of Iranian artist Kour Pour, who's paintings pick up the ornamental and serial aesthetic of Persian carpets.
This year's fair also includes few performance-based installations: At the booth of LA-based gallery 1301PE the Danish collective SUPERFLEX exhibits 46 "to-let" banners that were painted by unemployed banner painters and a huge visitor counter for their booth, manually clicked by a gallery assistant. The booth of Art Collection Telekom, right at the beginning of the fair, shows a large in-process painting by the Ukrainian artist Volodymyr Kuznetsov who refers to the political conflict with Russia.
As for outstanding sculpture-discoveries in the contemporary segment, the collaborative booth between The Hole (NYC) and V1 Gallery (Copenhagen) exhibits a number of funny tool-miniatures by Rose Eken and DREI placed concrete-objects referring to musical instruments by Norwegian artist Tiril Hasselknippe against the booth's walls. The artist Andreas Breunig, who is represented by Warhus Rittershaus, accompanies his abstract colourful paintings with a contrary, geometric wooden sculpture that carries a light bulb.
16th-19th April 2015
50679 Köln, Deutschland
Egan Frantz at booth Galerie Nagel Draxler, Köln, Berlin Mike Bouchet at booth Peres Projects, Berlin Stéphanie Saadé at booth AKINCI, NL SUPERFLEX at booth 1301PE, LA SUPERFLEX & Jens Haaning at booth 1301PE, LA Volodymyr Kuznetsov at booth Art Collection Telekom Samuel Francois and Max Frintrop at booth Berthold Pott, Cologne and jeanrochdard, Paris, Brussels Samuel Francois at booth jeanrochdard, Paris, Brussels and Berthold Pott, Cologne Booth PSM, Berlin Florian Meisenberg at booth Wentrup, Berlin Olaf Metzel at booth Wentrup, Berlin Anna Virnich and Tiril Hasselknippe at booth DREI, Cologne Anna Virnich at booth DREI, Cologne Fritz Bornstück at booth Mikael Andersen, Copenhagen Kour Pour at booth Ellis King, Dublin Tobias Hofknecht and Peppi Bottrop (Drawing) at booth Jan Kaps, Cologne Ron Gorchov and Corinna Gosmaro at booth Thomas Brambilla Shahin Afrassiabi at Soy Capitan, Berlin Jens Einhorn at booth Duve Berlin Tillman Hornig at booth Galerie Gebrüder Lehmann, Dresden, Berlin Olaf Holzapfel at booth Galerie Gebrüder Lehmann, Dresden, Berlin Booth Häusler Contemporary, Zurich, Munich Carolin Eidner at booth Natalia Hug, Cologne Ida Applebroog and Paul McCarthy at booth Hauser and Wirth, Zurich, London, New York Volodymyr Kuznetsov at booth Art Collection Telekom Monica Bonvicini at booth Johann König, Berlin Mike Bouchet at booth Catherine Bastide, Brussels Elina Autio at booth Anhava, Helsinki Rose Wyle at booth UNION Gallery: CHOI & Lager Gallery, London, Cologne Thomas Rentmeister (sculpture) at booth Hammelehle und Ahrens, Cologne Thomas Schütte at booth Carolina Nitsch; all works © and courtesy the artists and galleries; photos © artfridge