BRUSSELS, BELSGIUM.- Artbrussels 2005 exceeded all expectations. With 32,782 visitors attending the event, artbrussels is now firmly placed among the upper echelons of European contemporary art fairs.
The 23rd edition of artbrussels was a vintage year. Experts in the field were particularly impressed by its contemporary profile and the statistics support their view: the total amount of visitors rose by 2 per cent compared with last year. Given that the fair was reduced by one day, this translates into a 20 per cent increase per fair day.
The new collaboration with IBK, Muhka and Extra City, resulted in the organisation of debates and an information stand on the fair. This experiment will be developed on a broader scale and is evidence of the organiser’s commitment to balance informative and commercial aspects. A diverse audience of art directors, curators – from national and international museums – and art lovers were attracted by discussions that are of real concern to the art community. The workshop-information day for starting artists, organised by the IBK was a real innovation. Nearly 200 students and other interested parties attended debates which aimed to link artists, gallerists and other institutions.
artbrussels profiled itself as the contemporary art fair of the moment. With a rigorous and limited selection process, quality is a prerequisite of exhibitors. But its vision is broad, so the young, but excellent galleries grouped under the name First Call, were very enthusiastic about their first participation. Out of the 14 exhibitors in this section, 12 have already confirmed their presence at the next edition.
In the corridors, people praised the outstanding quality of the art that was on display. More than 600 national and international collectors, observers and professionals invited for the VIP programme, were astounded by the reception and extensive off-site programme. Galleries were equally pleased, with works of art up to 30,000 euro easily finding new homes and 300.000 euro being the maximum limit..
The 10,000€ illy prize for the best “one man show” was attributed by the collectors’ committee to Anouk De Clercq (Bilding II, video, 2004 – Crown Gallery, Brussels). Anja Schrey (Conrads, Düsseldorf) earned the 2nd place and Lionel Estève (Baronian_Francey, Brussels) shared the 3rd place with Gert & Uwe Tobias, shown by Rodolphe Janssen (Brussels) and Michael Janssen (Köln).
A diary date not to be missed: the 24th edition of artbrussels will take place in 2006 from 21 – 24 April in Halls 11 and 12 of Brussels Expo.