Art Fair

Artgenève 2020 Preview


The ninth edition of artgenève is about to kick off at Geneva’s Palexpo exhibition centre from January 30th to February 2nd, and this year around 90 galleries will present their artist’s work.  New galleries for 2020 include Lévy Gorvy, Applicat-Prazan, Campoli Presti, von Bartha, Loevenbruck, David Lewis and Massimo De Carlo,  while regular attendees such as Hauser & Wirth, Gagosian, Pace, kamel mennour, Perrotin, 1900-2000, Capitain Petzel, Continua, Tornabuoni Art and Blain|Southern, will also be at Palexpo.  

This year artgenève will host various institutional programs including the Royal Academy of Art from London with a flag installation by Michael Craig-Martin co-sponsored by Gagosian. In addition, the Ringier Collection from Zurich will present a floating installation by artist Urs Fischer, and an exhibition of David Shrigley monographs from a major private collection will also be shown.  

Artgenève/estates, a series paying tribute to historical artists, is this year dedicated to Mario Merz and his celebrated igloos, together with other pieces by the artist. Video Art is also featured this year, with Loop Barcelona, a video art fair, offered a section of the fair to present pieces from ten galleries.    

Furthermore, the “Living Room” component is back, an area curated by Samuel Gross, with a changing theme and communal space to which galleries donate a work.  This year’s theme is Modernism with sub-themes of repetition and modules. The pieces will be displayed alongside a pavilion from acclaimed architect Jean Prouvé providing an interesting juxtaposition. 

A preview of a selection of galleries and what they will present at artgenève 2020 follows:

Galleries Preview

Gagosian Gallery
At artgenève 2020, Gagosian Gallery will be presenting the work of various artists in a group presentation. According to Johan Nauckhoff of Gagosian: “This year at artgenève we will show both primary material works made for the fair, such as works by Sterling Ruby, David Reed, and Damien Hirst and Davide Balula, as well as secondary market works from artists such as Georg Baselitz, Helen Frankenthaler, etc. So the idea is to show things relevant to the gallery, and to make a selection that reflects what the gallery does. We always want to show new works to the public in Geneva, as we have a gallery in Geneva, and we were an early supporter of artgenève.  

“Artgenève is a relatively small fair, but the level of quality is very good, and this year with some new galleries arriving we think the quality is increasing over time.”

“We are also showing a loaned artwork by English artist Michael Craig-Martin. It is a series of six triptychs of large-scale flags which he did in collaboration with the Royal Academy in London. We will also show new works by Michael Craig-Martin at our booth, and he will be doing a talk at the fair on Friday afternoon.”

The full list of artists at the booth include:  Davide Balula, Georg Baselitz, Helen Frankenthaler, Simon Hantaï, Damien Hirst, Grant Levy-Lucero, Henri Matisse, Olivier Mosset, Giuseppe Penone, Pablo Picasso, David Reed, Sterling Ruby, Spencer Sweeney, and Tom Wesselmann.  

In addition to the fair, Gagosian is opening a gallery exhibition of the work of Olivier Mosset on January 28th, featuring his diamond-shaped paintings.  Mosset is one of the central figures in post-war abstract painting. MAMCO will also open a retrospective of Mosset’s work on February 25, 2020. 

MICHAEL CRAIG-MARTIN  Untitled (Barcelona chair fragment turquoise), 2019  Acrylic on aluminium  35 7/16 x 35 7/16 x 1 inches  90 x 90 x 2.5 cm
© Michael Craig-Martin. Photo: Lucy Dawkins. Courtesy the artist and Gagosian.

Taste Contemporary 

Monique Deul, Founder of Taste Contemporary states that: “Taste Contemporary are delighted to again participate in this exciting art fair, presenting contemporary objects by artists who create work that is material-led. We think that this year’s exhibition of ambitious works reflects the confidence and maturity in ceramic and textile art that currently exists within the wider art market.” 

“Our presentation this year features both existing gallery artists such as Fredrik Nielsen who creates bold exciting glass forms, and exciting new names such as Sam Lucas, who is presenting an installation of ambiguous, almost figurative forms that I think will be really well received by audiences at artgenève.”

Taste’s 2020 presentation also includes new work by Heidi Bjørgan, Ernst Gamperl, Babs Haenen, Akiko Hirai, and Ptolemy Mann. In addition, Taste will present work by Gisèle Buthod-Garçon and Johan Tahon and introduce to artgenève a textile installation by Laura Angell and works in clay and mixed media by Eusebio Sánchez.  

Frederik Nielsen, I was Orange. Courtesy Corning Museum of Glass and Taste Contemporary. 

Pace Gallery
According to Pace Gallery Director Valentina Volchkova:  “This year we decided to have a booth that is dedicated to something more humanistic and biomorphic and to let the beauty of the artworks themselves shine. They could be abstract or figurative. We live in times now where we see a lot of terrible things and hear distressing news, and we want to create an exhibition that would be an escape, and that raises questions about our essence and our roots.”

“We are very excited to present a cloud drawing by Leo Villareal that is a digital work, and it is a nice time to show him because he inaugurated the first part of his “Illuminated River” project in London where he is lighting the 15 bridges of London. So he creates a software where light is life and it evolves. It is hypnotising to watch them; very curious and beautiful.  This follows on our show in London of his work where we had the most visitors to any of our shows, ever.”

“We also have Kiki Smith’s works which are also about human nature.  This  follows on her show at La Monnaie de Paris and there will be a show in October at the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne, and we will have a show of her work in May so we wanted to take this opportunity to introduce her work to the Geneva audience. It will be sculpture and tapestry; different mediums.”

“We will also have new works by Nigel Cooke. We had a painting of his at artgenève last year that was sold within the first minutes of the show. We will have drawings related to his current show at Pace in New York which exhibits a totally new series of paintings; very abstract and light.”

“The artgenève fair, for us, is a continuity of our programme world-wide.  So, for example, Nigel Cooke’s works are in New York, and the fair gives us an opportunity to show his work to European collectors who perhaps can not go to New York. Artgenève is a very good platform for collectors who are passionate about art, and who perhaps do not want to go the bigger fairs.  It is a great place for us to have longer conversations with people about art.”

Villareal, Leo  Large Cloud Drawing 2, 2018
LEDs, custom software, electrical hardware and metal
68″ × 68″ (172.7 cm × 172.7 cm)  © Leo Villareal, courtesy Pace Gallery

Xippas Gallery 
According to Pierre Geneston, Director of Xippas, they will be showing 30 artworks coming from all over the world.  “We will show some important pieces by Luigi Ghirri who had a show last year at the Jeu de Paume in Paris. They are four vintage photographs from the 1980’s. We will also show work by Takis, the Greek sculptor, which are two “Signal” sculptures from the 1970’s that will be in the middle of the booth.”

Perhaps the most exciting pieces are some works that would suit both young and older collectors, with “democratic” prices, such as pieces by Dean Monogenis who has made new works in aquarelle on paper for the fair, and Mathew Porter, whose famous flying car image is well-known, but who has other lesser-known work as well that will be shown at the booth  Also, the oil paintings of young Indian artist Karishma D’Souza fall within this category, as well as the work of recent Geneva school of arts (HEAD) graduate Thomas Liu Le Lann.  

It is perhaps Thomas Liu Le Lann whose work is the most interesting for young collectors.  Born Geneva in 1994, he won the New HEAD Foundation BNP Paribas Art Awards in 2019, and since then his work has been in great demand. At artgenève 2020, a blown-glass sculpture titled “Ziwen II, 2019” will be part of the “Living Room” sector curated by Samuel Gross.  In addition, a new series of glass sculptures that have just been created for the fair will be presented at the Xippas booth. “The first people to arrive will be the very first people to see them” says Geneston. 

The focus at artgenève for Xippas is also on Swiss artists, such as Stéphane Dafflonand Emilie Ding, who are important to present since many collectors and institutions are particularly interested in Swiss artists. For Xippas, “artgenève is a celebration and a very important moment of the year” when they can see all their collectors from the region.  “Every year artgenève is a big success for the gallery and it has become a “rendez-vous annuelle” for many of our collectors.”

Thomas Liu Le Lann, Ziwen I, 2019. White and Pink Glass. Courtesy of Xippas.

Gowen Contemporary  
Laura Gowen, Founder and Director of Gowen Contemporary reveals “we are featuring a solo presentation of Ma Sibo at our booth at artgenève. We are showing a series of recent paintings from 2019 and this is the first time his work will be shown in Switzerland.  Ma Sibo is a painter who was born in Taijin, China. He attended the Beaux-Arts school in China, completed his training in Toulon and Nimes, and he now lives and works in Beijing. He was fascinated by painters like Vermeer, Rembrandt, and later Rothko, and he was always fascinated with light.   

With these paintings he has focused on artificial and industrial light of the night in polluted, urban landscapes which gives a theatrical or science-fictional atmosphere. There is often a figurative subject such as a man, boat, or a window, and there is a contrast between these objects and the artificial light that suggests an idea of something lost or solitude typical of the night, and the anxiety of a whole civilisation, referring to something lost that can not be retrieved.”

Ma Sibo will also be shown at a solo show at Gowen Contemporary at the end of February through April or May. Although the main focus of the booth will be on the work of Ma Sibo, which needs space to be fully appreciated, Gowen Contemporary “will also present in a separate space works by the other gallery artists such as American artist Ayana Jackson.”

Gowen continues, “Artgenève is very important to my gallery because it means we are part of the scene. Since we focus on emerging artists, we need to gain the trust of our audience and reassure them which you can do by being part of an important fair like artgenève in our hometown.  Also artgenève has a very special character and specificity; we can interact with the institutions, other galleries, and the time of the year is also very favourable, so for these reasons, artgenève is unique.”

Ma Sibo,  Night 2019
Oil on canvas 125 x 125 cm 49.2 x 49.2 in   Courtesy Gowen Contemporary

Written by: Kristen Knupp-Gehrke