The 28th edition of Art Brussels
has turned out to be an unprecedented success. Sales were clearly up for the young section as well as for the new and returning key galleries. Besides the local collectors, impressive numbers of foreign collectors made their way to Brussels.
Unfortunately, the Icelandic volcano eruption made it impossible for only 7 galleries to be present at the fair. Despite cancellations from overseas guests, local and international collectors, curators and professionals attended en masse.
On the curator front, many faces were recognised wandering through the fair. Amongst them museum directors, independent curators and others professionals; Kris Dercon from Haus der Kunst-Munich, Peter Dorochenko-curator, Marc-Olivier Wahler-Director Palais de Tokyo, Ziba de Weck-Parasol unit Foundation London, Martin Hatebur-President of the Kunsthalle Basel, Florence Parot-Centre Pompidou, Chantal Pontbriand-curator and Director of Parachute Magazine, Antoine Galbert-La Maison Rouge-Paris, Antonia Perello-Macba, Jonieke van Es-Museum Boijmans van Beuningen and Katerina Gregos.
Confidence in the art market is back, and investing in contemporary art is definitely an option for many, witness the many sales of works by established artists and purchases of young, up-and-coming talent. The diversity of works guaranteed an interesting mix of conceptual art, contemporary painting, sculptures, photography, video art, and installations in which quality was the key factor. Gallery owners aware of the potential of Art Brussels presented important works at the fair.
Many sales were made, a few examples:
At Hauser & Wirth, various works by Berlinde De Bruyckere (135 000 and 80 000). Victoria Miro, could have sold several times the sculpture by Yayoi Kusama (210 000).
The first time participation of Perrotin was successful with sales of works by Bernard Frize (56 000), Peter Zimmermann (34 000), and Paola Pivi (60 000).
At Simon Lee, a sculpture by George Condo (165 000$) and various works by Heimo Zobernig and Bernard Frize (between 10 000 and 60 000).
Krinzinger sold a work by Gavin Turk (49 000), various works by Hans Op De Beeck, a sculpture by Sudarshan Shetty... sales were never this good at Art Brussels, according to Ursula Krinzinger.
For Xavier Hufkens, sales were excellent and the solo show by Michel François proved to be a great success.
For Guy Bärtschi, it was again a positive experience with numerous sales of which work by Wim Delvoye (200 000) and Marina Abramovic (50 000).
On the opening day Lelong sold a work by Kiki Smith (100 000), and Nancy Spero (50 000). The accrochage at Greta Meert was regularly changed due to sales of various works by Koen van den Broek and Sophie Nys.
Almine Rech and Gladstone also reported having done extremely well.
For Jan Wentrup Art Brussels was a great success with sales of several artists such as: 2 paintings by Michael Kalki of 10.000 each, a Gregor Hildebrandt (32.000), an Axel Geis (24.000) and a sculpture by David Renggli (8.500). The young Elisa Platteau called this edition of Art Brussels the best one ever and is as good as sold out.
Things were very much the same for Transit. The Hoet Bekaert Gallery announced the sales of the sculpture by Hannes Vanseveren presented in Art In the City.
The sculpture exhibition Art in the City was officially inaugurated on Friday morning by the alderman of tourism Philippe Close, his colleague in charge of urbanism Christian Ceux and Hamza Fassi-Fihri in charge of culture: the winner of Art in the City was announced on this occasion. The artist selected to create an in situ intervention for the City of Brussels is Maarten Vanden Eynde from Galerie Meessen De Clercq. The location is the square in front of the new cultural center Utopie that opens before the end of the year.
Positive reactions and results for the artist projects with the sales of the work by Lionel Estève and the installation by Leon Vranken.
The traditional Illy Prize, selected by the collectors committee was announced at the press conference: Third place went to artist Jansson Stegner at Sorry Were Closed. The Solo Show at Gallery Volker Diehl by Random International took second place. The main prize of 10 000 went to artist Fabrice Samyn at Galerie Meessen de Clercq.
The installation by Pieter Vermeersch commissioned by the ING Bank and presented in their lounge at the fair was quite impressive and was very well received by the guests of the bank and fair visitors alike.
Brussels was, just for a brief moment, the epicentre of contemporary art, which was celebrated with numerous dinners, visits to private collections, and a busy yet smooth Art Brussels party in Wiels, Contemporary Art Center.