The last thing the world may need is another art fair, and yet artgenève has been quietly nudging its way onto the international art stage for the last five years and it looks like it’s here to stay.

Published Time Out Switzerland on 14 January 2016: LINK
Featured image: Roman Signer, Unter dem Wasserfall, 2013, Courtesy Häusler Contemporary

Damien Hirst, Devil Worshiper, 2008, Flies and resin on canvas, Courtesy Galerie Andrea Caratsch

Damien Hirst, Devil Worshiper, 2008, Flies and resin on canvas, Courtesy Galerie Andrea Caratsch

Despite the presence of many art collectors and key galleries in the Lake Geneva area, Geneva has never obtained the international exposure that it feels it deserves. Enter Thomas Hug, a young classical musician by training who owned a small gallery in Berlin. He was given the mandate to revitalise a floundering art fair and put Geneva back into the international art limelight. And because artgenève takes place at the beginning of the year, ahead of the crowded spring and summer art calendars, it attracts a greater number of art players every year. Judging by the number of participating galleries and attendance figures, Hug appears to be succeeding. In fact, he has also started a second art fair in Monte Carlo.

Thomas Hug, the succesful young director of artgenève and artmonte-carlo

Thomas Hug, the succesful young director of artgenève and artmonte-carlo

Out of 80 participating galleries in the 2016 edition, a quarter are Swiss, including the Lausanne gallery Heiner Reszler that is presenting the young Swiss artist, Andreas Hochuli, whose candy colours and pop sayings are truly refreshing. As a foretaste to the upcoming Chinese Whispers exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Bern, Uli Sigg will be showing pieces from his famous collection of Chinese contemporary art. Among the other highlights, a performance-happening will be given by Augustin Rebetez, the enfant terrible of the Swiss art scene, in honour of the finalization of a plan to build the fine arts, photograph and design museums together in Lausanne.

Andreas Hochuli Les technologies affectives, 2015 Avec le soutien de Pro Helvetia, Fondation suisse pour la culture, Courtesy Galerie Heinzer Reszler

Andreas Hochuli Les technologies affectives, 2015
Avec le soutien de Pro Helvetia, Fondation suisse pour la culture, Courtesy Galerie Heinzer Reszler

And because artgenève is also about hospitality, a 200sqm Pool Bar for the 2016 edition acts as a sculpture garden in which to admire the reflections of the art, but also to take in some of the local wine.

With an interesting blend of cutting edge and mainstream art, artgenève is aimed at both seasoned and first-time buyers. The airy layout makes for a nice change in art fairs and produces a congenial atmosphere for the many talks and performances that are part of the programme. artgenève actually manages to erase the presence of PALEXPO, the ghastly exhibition hall by the airport in which it takes place over four days (also home to the Salon de l’Auto a few weeks later).

Look out also for artgenève’s sculpture exhibition which is located along Quai Président Wilson, Quai du Mont-Blanc in Geneva, as well as in the city centre Place Longemalle, Place du Molard and Place de la Madeleine from February to March.

www.artgeneve.ch
28 – 31 January 2016

artgenève 2015 lounge area

artgenève 2015 lounge area

Michèle Laird, née Haffner, trained as a journalist, became an international arts administrator (visual arts and theatre), successively in Paris, New York and London before moving to Switzerland, where she now covers the art beat and presides several associations.

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