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artbrussels 2007

Review of the 25th edition

Save the dates for the 26th edition!

18-21 April 2008

The 25th edition of artbrussels closed its doors this Monday with no less than 31,497 visitors (20% more). Collectors, curators, exhibitors, visitors and press alike are unanimous: this edition was a great success on all levels and confirms the place of artbrussels as the number one contemporary ‘cutting edge' art fair in Europe. Starting with the Vernissage frenzy on Thursday, the fair has attracted a growing number of art lovers over the 5 days. Combining quality, conferences and debates, exhibitions, private visits and numerous dinners and parties, artbrussels was once again the European platform for contemporary art.

Karen Renders, director of the fair, says: "This 25th anniversary has met and over passed all expectations. As the organisers, we're extremely happy with the show and we're very proud of the individual efforts made by the exhibiting galleries and the overall effect on the profile of the fair." Rodolphe Janssen confesses: "Sales have been great and the collectors were impressed by the quality of the fair. artbrussels definitely has the touch for combining established galleries and artists with young and emerging talent."

Nathalie Obadia entrusts us with: "Next to the more recent works on show we did bring an historical painting by Martin Barré dated 1961 and sold it for 65,000 € to a French museum." Max Estrella was tempted to participate in artbrussels on the occasion of the currently running exhibition of Bernardi Roig, at the PMMK in Ostend. "This first participation was a great success. We made a lot of new contacts and sold works to collectors we didn't know. Amongst others, a work by Pedro Calapez (aluminum panels and paint) for 21,000 € to a French collector." French newspaper Le Figaro states: "[...] dès l'entrée de cette 25e édition, chacun retrouve une

certaine fraîcheur et part à la découverte comme si cette jeune foire bien contemporaine était une

grande école d'art, joyeuse, sérieuse sans complexe inutile."

Le Monde shares : "[...] certains, comme Georges-Philippe et Nathalie Vallois, ne savaient plus où donner de la tête tant les clients étaient nombreux. Outre les mythiques collectionneurs belges, on croisait ici beaucoup de nos compatriotes, dont Lise et Jacques Toubon, mais aussi quelques-uns des 28 000 Français recensés à Bruxelles [...]."

artmagazine.cc comments: "Die stärkste Kunstmesse des Rheinlands findet in Belgien statt." And quotes Martin Kudlek: "Hier ist das Publikum super. Die Atmosphäre ist prickelnd." The Scandinavian contingency with 12 galleries attracted a great number of collectors from that area. Mr. Ole Faarup, President of the Danish collectors association explains: "Denmark came to Brussels

with good and exciting galleries and a strong, growing number of collectors. I am proud to be here. You can be proud of the Brussels art fair which has renewed itself with a large diversity, a strong profile and a cutting edge approach that is interesting for the collectors. I've been collecting art for the last 30 years, it is therefore difficult to find good new artists but I believe I succeeded here and it has been a very exciting experience."

During the first debate (Reception of conceptual art; how it became part of the art system),moderated by Sophie Richard which had the looks of a reunion, the "good old times" were the main topic amongst the panel members Jacques Charlier (artist), Herman Daled (President of Wiels, Brussels), Anny De Decker (former galerist, critic, curator), Prof. Klaus Honnef (curator, critic), Lynda Morris (curator Norwich Gallery and EAST) and Seth Siegelaub (former galerist, curator, critic). Illy caffè presented a cheque of 10,000 € to the best Solo Show, chosen by the collectors committee: Robin Rhode for his work Air Guitar (2005, super 8 filmed sequence transferred to dvd, 7'15") at Tucci Russo Studio per l'Arte Contemporanea. Nominees were Simone Aaberg Kaern (Jet Blue Comet, 2006, collage) at Martin Asbaek Projects and Andy Wauman (Errant Girl, 2006, lambdaprint on dibound) at Deweer Art Gallery.

One of the Solo Shows was presented by Ronmandos: Renato Nicolodi with Mausoleum III (2005), a huge concrete wood and cement sculpture. The piece was sold for 25,000 € to a Dutch collector and will receive its own space in a private home. Thomas Zander presented a conceptual photography booth, the central theme being "Women", with Victor Burgin, Larry Sultan, Mitch Epstein and Lee Freelander. The series by Lee Freelander (Models, NYC, 2006) shown for the first time in Europe was a great success. More than 10 pictures were sold for a total value of 68,000 €. Jean Bernier too was very happy with his participation. A work by Tony Oursler has been sold at 35,000€ in the fair. The collages from 1988 of the Californian artist Jeffery Wallace attracted a lot of attention. Several pieces were sold. Great enthusiasm at Greta Meert's stand: amongst other pieces, the painting "Otherwise" by Shirley Jaffe was sold for 66,000€.


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