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Vienna Hosts International Contemporary Art Fair
viennAfair logo.

VIENNA, AUSTRIA.- Reed Exhibitions Messe Wien will be hosting its first ever contemporary art fair, viennAfair The International Art Fair Focused On CEE, from 21–24 April 2005. Apart from galleries from Central & Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the 90 selected exhibitors will include leading galleries from Austria, Britain, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. “The fact that about half of the exhibitors will be top-flight galleries from abroad shows that we have made a reality of the show’s international alignment,“ commented Reed Exhibitions Messe Wien Director of New Business, CEE and Marketing, Matthias Limbeck, expressing satisfaction with the selection committee’s choice. Vienna galleries have recently moved into the big league in the international art market. “The galleries’ high standards are generally recognised, and the commitment to contemporary art shown by the cultural institutions is widely respected in Austria and abroad,” said Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, chair of the advisory committee. viennAfair The International Art Fair FOCUSED ON CEE is aimed at establishing Vienna as a meeting place for the contemporary art-going public.

Event organisers Reed Exhibitions Messe Wien have succeeded in attracting a high-calibre advisory committee, and a dedicated and experienced artistic director in the person of Gabriela Gantenbein, to implement the project. Gantenbein attaches particular importance to the international focus of viennAfair The International Art Fair FOCUSED ON CEE. She said, “I am delighted with the positive feedback we have received from galleries and institutions at home and abroad on our plans for viennAfair. Visitors will be confronted with exciting artistic stances shown by courageous gallerists in an appropriate setting for contemporary works. And they will experience a related programme centred on networking that gives a role to domestic and international institutions, museums and collections.“

Young, bridge and established galleries
To prevent the quantity, quality and variety of the galleries’ exhibits from causing overload, the advisory committee has devised a clear programmatic structure in consultation with the organisers. The participating galleries are being divided into three categories. These are the established galleries with international activities, which will occupy 50 square metres (sqm) or more of exhibition space, and the “young” and “bridge” galleries which will be allotted 25sqm each. The “young” galleries include international ones that entered the art market no more than two years ago. Those classed as “bridge” galleries are those that create links with Central & Eastern and Southeastern Europe, and thus help to bring together the local Austrian art world with those of the focus countries.

Cultural crossroads - In addition to the exhibiting galleries’ contributions, viennAfair will feature a quality related programme that will underpin the credibility of the CEE focus.

The BRIDGE G — bridge to galleries project will enable some galleries from focus countries to participate in viennAfair The International Art Fair FOCUSED ON CEE. The aim is to boost their international exposure, thereby improving their access to institutional and private collectors, and making it easier for them to put their ambitious plans on a firmer long-term footing.

BRIDGE M — bridge to museums is all about building up large networks in Central & Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Museums from the focus regions will be showcasing their activities with financial support from the Federal Chancellery — which is holding a CEE conference at the time of the art fair. Curators, journalists and cultural policy-makers will play a major part in these meetings.

During viennAffair The International Art Fair FOCUSED ON CEE an international meeting entitled BRIDGE D – discussion will bring together representatives of 15 museums in Central & Eastern and Southeastern Europe, and Austria. The agenda will be agreed with the Austrian Museum Association. The meeting will take the form of a panel discussion, and will be open to the public.

Further projects are currently being developed and finalised. Museums of contemporary art, institutions and collections are playing a major role in this work, and will be contributing to the related programme.

The highlights of the viennAfair The International Art Fair FOCUSED ON CEE evening programme will include the opening event on 20 April and a dinner for people from the arts, business and political worlds. Such dinners will be held every evening to provide opportunities for international networking.

Unique exhibition architecture - Reed Exhibitions Messe Wien has commissioned the renowned architectural practice Kühn Malvezzi with the design of viennAfair The International Art Fair FOCUSED ON CEE. The Messezentrum Wien’s uncluttered glass and steel architecture is the ideal backdrop for the show, and meets the very highest European standards in terms of functionality and utilities. The stands’ basic equipment, such as the strong partition walls and the special light fittings, will help give the fair a unique visual impact.

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