25.04.2018  •  Art NEWS


From Jeff Koons 'Gazing Ball' to the political message #SignedByTrump by Aria Watson – ART COLOGNE 2018 as the mother of all art trade fairs brought together international galleries and thrilling artists

"With the 52nd edition of ART COLOGNE, we have demonstrated that we are the most important art fair in Germany," says Daniel Hug, Director of ART COLOGNE. And he's right; ART COLOGNE has again underscored its top position as the leading German art fair. The fair boasted a wide variety of the finest art with which it inspired its more than 55,000 visitors – and we too think that the looser arrangement of the booths, the much braver and more exciting artwork than two years ago as well as the overall atmosphere was excellent.

Hug continues: "This year, we focused even more on the quality of artwork on display and a balanced mix galleries, whether German and international or established and emerging. Unlike in previous years, we had the honor of greeting an even larger number of international collectors in Cologne. About which, of course, we are quite pleased.”

"The opening was marked by a wonderful energy and we are very pleased with the sales," says Veronique Ansorge from David Zwirner Gallery (New York, London, Hong Kong). "The fair looks very good, the Plaza makes it very generous," our friend Veronique tells us. In beautifully hung exhibits, they showed photographs by Wolfgang Tillmans alongside artwork by Jeff Koons from the series "Gazing Ball", which was offered for 2.5 million dollars.

By the way, Rudolf Zwirner, father of the gallery owner, was one of the co-founders of Art Cologne in 1967 when it took place for the first time. The meter-high canvas by Neo Rauch entitled 'Losung' from 1998 – 'Letter and Number Sequences' or 'Moving Characters on a Colored Foundation' was also presented as a possible way to become detached from 'abstract academism', as the artist once said in an interview. Painter Michaël Borremans was represented with the small piece entitled 'Fire from the Sun, 2017' as well as the detailed works of Marcel Dzama.

The gallery Sprüth Magers (Berlin, London, Los Angeles) was negotiating with institutions and museums about Thomas Scheibitz's large painting fresh from the studio – which was recently on display at an extensive exhibition in Bonn. "The opening was very international," Andreas Schleicher-Lang, Gallery Director in Berlin tells us.

A positive review was also given by the Gallery Daniel Buchholz (Cologne, Berlin, New York), where they received inquiries from collectors and curators for long-term projects. "It all looks really great, and we get positive feedback from the collectors", Dorothee Sorge from Gallery Gisela Capitain (Cologne) reported, who had the honor of welcoming museum visitors from the Netherlands, France and Asia at her booth.

Gallery Ruttkowski;68 (Cologne) already sold the installation of its artist Philipp Emde with Steiff stuffed animals to New York at the vernissage, in addition to three smaller works by Emde. "I had a great debut at ART COLOGNE," Petra Martinetz from Gallery Martinetz (Cologne) reported, who already sold embroidery work by Mary Audrey Ramirez in the first few hours. At their stand, Hamburg-based gallery Conradi displayed works by Katja Aufleger and Philip Gaisser, who transposes natural phenomena into narrative threads, while supervising further booths at Art Brussels in the Belgian capitol at the same time as Art Cologne.

Gallery Akini from Amsterdam presented works by Melanie Bonajo with a critical take on the status quo in the world and which ask the question of how technological advances and consumerist perspectives on life create feelings of alienation, thus leading to the loss of a sense of belonging. Damien Hirst's 'Schizophrenogenesis' sculptures were brought to the trade fair by the Paul Stolper Gallery London. "'Pills are a brilliant little form, better than any minimalist art. They're all designed to make you buy them', the exceptional artist says in an interview on working with oversized pills.

From a subjective point of view, the area of photography was not too strongly represented – apart from large-scale works by Thomas Ruff, Philip-Lorca diCorcia or Wolfgang Tillmans. We were all the more pleased with the booth of photo gallery owner and Sander-grandson, Julian Sander. On display at the entrance was the work 'Bus Stop, Jerusalem, Israel, 2004' by Sean Hemmerle, which is now on display in the Cologne gallery spaceCologne gallery space. "These pictures were originally intended as a sort of 'fuck you' to the Bush administration, They're a 'fuck you' to someone else now," says the photographer about the work which is on display until mid-May.

Criticism of the Trump government in no uncertain terms is also expressed by young American artist Aria Watson with her work #SignedByTrump, for which she painted and photographed statements by the President on naked female bodies. "I never really cared for or understood politics, but this year was different. Although I was two weeks too young to actually vote, I was old enough to see what was happening and learn about it. I don't know why Donald Trump is in office, or how this even happened, but he is. What we need more than ever is to come together. We are stronger together." says Aria. Another artist of the gallery is the Argentine photographer Alfredo Srur, who opened his solo exhibition 'Herida's – Wounds' in the Amerikahaus in Munich before Art Cologne, which shows a social documentary dealing with life on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

We are particularly pleased that several of the aforementioned galleries and artists have once again decided to make our
Cologne boutique Hotel Marsil their home during Art Cologne. But also editors, collectors and artists gathered in our small microcosm, where they mingled and exchanged tips. Alfredo Srur discussed political statements with Aria Watson as well as their social media experiences, and Weltkunst already recommended our Maison Marsil in advance. Quote: “If you want to feel like a local while you're on vacation, stay at the Marsil”. Collectors told us about their daily highlights in the evening, and New Yorkers finally got the chance to see the Cologne Cathedral from inside and scratch it off their bucket list. A children's birthday party was celebrated, presenters were filmed for TV... there are many many more, small and big anecdotes – if only we had more time! Many thanks to our guests and friends, and we look forward to seeing you next year!

About - Hotel Marsil. Our beloved marsil is a beautiful historic building located in the heart of Cologne. Owned by legendary Frank & Cyrus since 1999, it hosts friends in 19 apartments and has consistently been among the best addresses in town year for year... sending you love wherever you are. The Marsil guesthouse is nestled in Cologne’s city center and is an insider tip for photography fans, film workers, galleries and friends of an alternative lifestyle. The monument-protected house and its extension offers ten apartments (each equipped with a mini kitchenette, bathroom) plus 10 standard hotel rooms... free WiFi, breakfast, coffee machine deluxe – all centrally located and a stone’s throw away from the Dom cathedral. marsil.de