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Art Cologne 2009 Opens with 184 Art Galleries from 20 Countries Participating
Galerie Boisserée.
COLOGNE.- ART COLOGNE 2009 will run from 22 to 26 April. The Fair will relocate from Halls 4 and 5 of the Cologne Trade Fair Centre to a more popular venue, Hall 11. The new venue is just one feature of a move to enhance the Fair in terms of improved layout and architecture. Scope and format will be consolidated. Changes on the management side included the appointment of the Düsseldorf gallerist Hans Mayer to the Advisory Committee.

New Positions', the Fair's sponsorship scheme for young artists, is designed as a career springboard for art-market newcomers. Twenty-three young artists from nine countries have been selected to exhibit. They were chosen by a selection panel whose members were: Frank Frangenberg (journalist and art critic, Königswinter); Dr. Pia Müller-Tamm (academic director of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen K20 K21, Düsseldorf); Julia Garnatz (gallerist, Cologne); Dina Renninger (gallerist, Munich); and Thomas Rentmeister (artist, Berlin). In its search for new artistic talent the panel has singled out newcomers in the fields of sculpture, painting and drawing, installation, photography and new media. Each young artist is allocated a free exhibition stand of 25 square metres. The stands for the young artists adjoin the stands of the galleries representing them. There will be a special prize - the Audi Art Award for the best young artist. The prizewinner will be given a solo show at the Cologne artothek. The Award includes publication of an exhibition catalogue. Funding will be in the region of € 10,000. The prize-giving ceremony will be held at ART COLOGNE at 3 pm on Friday, 24 April 2009.

Sculpture is strongly represented in this year's programme. Selection has concentrated on young artists with new approaches to the traditional medium. Their work provides new visual experiences and perceptions of space, both in the context of galleries and of public space. Julia Horstmann (Christian Nagel, Berlin/Cologne), for example, explores architectonic space mixing vertical components, window elements and cut-paper work to subtly undermine conventional ways of seeing. Christian Forsen (COSAR HMT, Düsseldorf) creates powerful spatial relationships with his fragile sculptures and installations of wood and iron. Benjamin Houlihans (Thomas Rehbein, Cologne) often uses observations of everyday life as the point of departure for his sculptures, allowing them to evolve from the multiple processes of conceptual transformation that his observations undergo. The results often defy strict definition and are situated somewhere between autonomous sculptural objects and items of ‘furniture' with functional characteristics. Malte Urbschat (Galerie für Landschaftskunst, Hamburg) is a sculptor-draughtsman. Taking everyday materials like tape, silver-thread and wool, he constructs branch-like forms that can be read as sculptural drawings. Christian Eisenberger (Konzett, Vienna) uses public space to display his giant cardboard sculptures, strategically positioning them at purpose-related urban sites - with disconcerting effect. South Korean artist Won ho Lee (Brigitte March, Stuttgart) challenges conventional modes of perception by altering, unobserved, the functionality of ordinary objects like garbage bins and yellow refuse bags and then registering viewers' reactions to these alterations.

Seven of the selected artists focus on painting and drawing. Their work explores a broad range of media and techniques. The American artist Jonathan Bragdon (Aurel Scheibler, Berlin) creates sensitive and extremely delicate landscapes using graphite, watercolour and ink. His work is rich in detail and its tonal restraint lends it something of a meditative quality. By contrast, Elizabeth Cooper (Schmidt Maczollek, Cologne) also from the USA, is spontaneous and intuitive in her approach to painting. Her canvases erupt with colour. She handles her grounds very carefully, using soft, pale tones that underline the vigorous impasto of her brushwork. The paintings of Ann-Kristin Hamm (Rupert Pfab, Düsseldorf) create a multiplicity of associations. In her small and large-format works she switches subtly between the abstract and the representational evoking a world of snail-like, butterfly-like and flower-like forms. The canvases of Martin Mannig (Gebr. Lehmann, Dresden) are peopled with imaginary beings creatures inspired by fairy-tales and the world of fantasy films. His images are sinister and macabre. Somewhat disturbing is the vocabulary of the young British artist Sebastian Dacey (Sabine Knust, Munich) with its surreal juxtapositions. His use of colour is highly expressive and his schematic figures, set against romantic sunsets, threatening treetops, expressive vegetal forms and abstract figurations, are often bizarrely contorted or fragmented.
Philip Loersch (Ursula Walbröhl, Düsseldorf) is a German artist who works in two different media - drawing and installation - basing his work on scientific principles. The drawings of Moussa Kone (Charim, Vienna) display humour and delicacy of line combined with wit. Highly assured, they draw the viewer into a fantasy world.

Lutz Driessen (Hammelehle und Ahrens, Cologne) successfully melds painting, sculpture and installation in his environments. Armin Hartenstein (Ruzicska///Weiss, Düsseldorf) takes nature as his source of inspiration. In true old-masterly fashion he paints meticulous landscape formations - rocks, volcanos, barren moonscapes and mountain valleys. He also uses natural resources to model mixed-media objects. Sebastian Speckmanns (Kleindienst, Leipzig) has developed a unique approach to traditional techniques. He works in linocut and woodcut, producing multi-layered, emotionally complex work filled with narrative implication.

Three photographers have been selected. Julia Gröning (Michael Wiesehöfer, Cologne) narrates situations that appear strangely familiar, yet uncomfortably unsettling. Some of her images are staged, and laden with implication, they have something of a forensic quality, as if capturing the scene of a crime. Johanna Diehl (Fiebach & Minninger, Cologne) favours abandoned, empty places. In her series Gefrorene Räume she has selected rooms uninhabited for years. Another cycle, focussing on abandoned churches in Cyprus, is infused with melancholy. Robert Voit (Walter Storms, Munich) is a Thomas Ruff masterclass student. His photo-documentation New Trees is a pictorial inventory of mobile phone masts camouflaged as trees erected in real space in the USA and Britain. In progress since 2003, his pictorial inventory covers an extraordinarily broad range of camouflaged masts, demonstrating with delicate irony the grotesqueness of these simulations of nature.

Four artists employ new technological media in their work. The versatile Rumanian artist Anja Munteanu Rimnic (Fahnemann Projects, Berlin) specializes in video and performance, staging bizarre scenes and challenging and re-examining the idea of sculpture itself. The Israeli artist Ben Hagari (Rosenfeld, Tel Aviv) uses technical expertise, wit and imaginative skills in a unique combination in his video projections and films. The Norwegian filmmaker Trine Lise Nedreaas (Michael Janssen, Berlin) produces documentaries recording the Weltanschauungen of ‘unimportant' people who would never otherwise be heard. And she tests her protagonists to their limits. John Gerrard (Ernst Hilger, Vienna) employs innovative techniques in his digital animations.

Harald Falckenberg to receive ART COLOGNE Prize 2009
Dr. Harald Falckenberg will receive the ART COLOGNE Prize 2009. With this prize, the Federal Association of German Galleries and Editions (BDVG) and Koelnmesse will honour one of the most important art collectors in Germany. Falckenberg makes his collection, which is treasured worldwide, accessible to the general public. It includes around 1,900 works by international avant-garde artists, including groups of works by the Viennese Actionists and Martin Kippenberger, as well as large installations by Jonathan Meese and Thomas Hirschhorn. The prize is worth €10,000 and is awarded every year to an individual "who has rendered outstanding service in the promotion of modern and contemporary art".

Harald Falckenberg, a lawyer and entrepreneur, is one of the most important collectors of multi-media and contemporary art in Germany. In just under 15 years, the Hamburg-born collector has brought together an exceptional selection of 1,900 works by international avant-garde artists, which were exhibited to the general public for the first time in 1999 under the title "my name" in the Museum of Fine Art in Leipzig. A few months ago he opened his new exhibition and storage rooms in Hamburg-Harburg, which have been expanded to cover more than 6,000 m². "I hold the old-fashioned and bourgeois opinion that art, as a cultural heritage, must ultimately be made available to society," says Harald Falckenberg. Through his strong presence on the art market as a commentator, speaker and lender, Harald Falckenberg has energetically publicised not only the artists in his collection but also the idea of collecting art. This is also reflected in his volumes of essays on artists, the art market and the creation of his art collection.

The official award ceremony will take place as part of ART COLOGNE at 11:00 a.m. on 23rd April 2009 in the historic Cologne City Hall.

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