Budapest joined last week a very short list of European cities hosting major international art fairs in 2020 when Art Market Budapest
, one of Europes popular shows successfully completed its 10th edition welcoming exhibitors and visitors in its exhibition halls between October 21 and 25. Art Market Budapest has hosted hundreds of galleries from nearly 50 countries spanning 5 continents over the past decade, in the shadow of COVID-19 in 2020, the main aim of the organizers was to create an opportunity and a safe environment for art lovers to express their support and sympathy to artists and their galleries with their interest and their purchases. With exhibitors arriving from nearly 20 countries and the fair location as packed with visitors as possible under pandemic regulations, the event was not just a celebration of the fairs 10th jubilee edition but one of the very few large-scale encounters between art and its audience in 2020. The enthusiasm of visitors, collectors and participating galleries made this year's Art Market Budapest an unforgettable experience.
Anyone who feels any sense of responsibility, or is at all sensitive to contemporary art could use the opportunity presented by Art Market Budapest to effectively express their sympathy, love, and support by attending and making purchases. Additionally, our format as an art show, ensures the safest way under current circumstances to consume quality culture. These are the reasons why we felt it was our obligation to do everything in our power to provide this opportunity for creators, representatives and consumers of contemporary art to reunite at our event. - emphasized Attila Ledényi, Founding Director of Art Market Budapest.
At Art Market Budapest 2020, protecting the health of visitors and participants was of utmost importance, the organizers, in consultation with experienced local and international art institutions and health authorities, established strict procedures to ensure a safe environment. 2020 sees the art world face unusual challenges, rare events such as Art Market Budapest 2020 are of particular importance in supporting artists and art professionals finding themselves in a critical situation.
The fact that over 70 exhibitors from nearly 20 countries arrived to participate, despite unprecedentedly difficult conditions in travelling and shipping, is a clear sign of trust in and recognition for Art Market Budapest. The number of the fairs visitors hardly decreased from regular years, and sales reported by the exhibitors were even higher than the average which indicates that there has been a particularly strong demand for this encounter in the heart of Europe where artists and artlovers could reunite, and collectors could express their sympathy and support with the art community.
Each year, an art program around a chosen theme is organized by Art Market Budapest to accompany the main annual event. As a leading international platform focusing on contemporary art in the region, Art Market Budapest aims to promote the rich selection of high-quality art emerging from post-communist countries. In 2020, with the participation of artists and art professionals from the former Socialist Bloc, a special art program titled 30FREE was launched to commemorate the regime change that took place in the region 30 years ago. With the contribution of exhibitors from former communist countries, an amazing selection brought to life the art of that period, and presented creative reflections on the political and social events of 1990.
JCDecaux and Art Market Budapest joined forces to create BE.MORE.CONTEMPORARY, an initiative taking place through October 2020, including the appearance of large size photographs of contemporary artworks on spectacular outdoor advertising surfaces provided by the worlds leading outdoor advertising company JCDecaux in central areas and busy transport hubs of Budapest. The resulting public exhibition has been building a connection between contemporary art and an audience of hundreds of thousands with extraordinary intensity and efficiency. The exhibition, spanning approximately 10 kilometers through the city center, depicts artworks that could also be viewed and purchased in their original form at Art Market Budapest.
Art Market Budapest has hosted hundreds of international exhibitors from nearly 50 countries spanning 5 continents over the past decade. In response to the challenges in 2020, in order to keep this amazing community together and stay in close contact with all those who could not be in Budapest, Art Market Budapest added a freshly launched digital platform to its physical presentation. In addition to the actual fair, this hybrid format made an even broader artistic composition available to an even larger audience. A newly established online viewing room named ART MARKET BUDAPEST VIRTUAL limitlessly connects participating galleries with the fairs global network of collectors and art enthusiasts. The online viewing room remains available until November 8.
This year, Art Market Budapest was once again putting a spotlight on photography. ART PHOTO BUDAPEST was established in 2014 as the dedicated photography section of the fair, and later it became its independent co-event and the only international photography fair in Central and Eastern Europe. This year Art Photo Budapest appeared in a hybrid format, thanks to which an even richer selection of photography is presented to a wider audience than ever before, all the while maintaining its physical presence. The exhibition hall, which usually hosts Art Photo Budapest, was not available due to safety considerations regarding the pandemic, and as such, core exhibitors of the photography fair were located in the central exhibition hall of Art Market Budapest. Meanwhile, the online exhibition space Art Market Budapest Virtual complements the in-person appearance thus providing an opportunity to maintain the usual richness of photographic works to photo lovers.
INSIDE ART, an art industry conference founded by Art Market Budapest, and held every year during the fair, was also going virtual. A true sign of optimism is that art professionals participating in this years conference have indicated their intention to attend the fair in person in 2021. Speakers of Inside Art in 2020 included heads of major international corporate collections such as UBS, ING and Deutsche Telekom, directors of continentally leading international art fairs such as Art Joburg in Africa and ZONAMACO in Latin America, as well heavyweights in the art world, such as Georgina Adam, Financial Times contributor and editor-at-large at The Art Newspaper, and Simon de Pury, a living legend in the international art auction market.