Evidently the art market is not immune from the ups and downs of the economy, so we will not be as buoyant as in previous years. That said, art has two phenomenal attributes: it has a tremendous capacity to preserve its value and a unique capacity to create passion. Given that, the market for art will always exist.
Yes, I have always thought of a design fair because it is a field I am personally interested in, and it has a direct impact on how we live. A good project is always good, regardless of when it is launched. First, because design is currently at the centre of very contemporary discussions and secondly, because Brazilian design has high quality and there is always room for events aiming at top quality works. It should be of interest for collectors and buyers as well as for people with an interest in learning, appreciating and discussing design. We are very focused on creating a solid market for design. So in this first edition the event is dedicated to forming a solid design audience.
SP-Arte dedicates a great deal of effort in bringing together the best galleries that are capable of offering a wide selection of masters and young talents. An art fair should bring innovation and new breadths of creation. With this in mind, the highlights should be the curated sectors: Solo, curated by Luiza Teixeira de Freitas, Open Plan, dedicated to site specific works—curated by Jacopo Crivelli Visconti, and Performance, curated by Cauê Alves and sponsored by the University of Belas Artes.
The fair is evolving to become the centre for artistic production, art reflection and art negotiation in the Latin American region.
Brazilian collectors are younger than average visitors of other fairs; 70% are between 25-59 years old, which represents the most active period of an individual’s economic and professional life. 20% are under 24 years old, which coincides with their academic life and 10% are above 60 years old. So, the majority of visitors are potential buyers, and very interested in contemporary languages and expressions. In terms of profession, collectors are usually entrepreneurial individuals, independent professionals, executives and taste-makers.
The greatest benefit is to have a very good selection of local galleries—more than 60% of the exhibitors at SP-Arte are Brazilian galleries! One of the biggest challenges nowadays for any art fair is to attract foreign exhibitors. In Brazil, the country's tax on importing artworks is an obstacle for the internationalisation of the market and the inclusion of the country in a prestigious circuit of art events around the world. This is a circuit that attracts opinion-makers and wealthy visitors to the country, which has an immense impact on the perception of the city as an influential place in the scene world-over. Another challenge is the fact that the art market is a global market and the number of galleries and collectors is limited. The art world has become extremely competitive for galleries and collectors. When I began SP-Arte, there were only 40 art fairs around the world, now there are more than 150 art fairs! Nobody can travel that much and artists are not able to produce new works for so many exhibitions. Logistics has become a problem too.
I see three things as critical for the success of an art fair: the quality of galleries and artworks, the exhibition space and architectural plan, and a good home collector base. The Biennial Pavilion where the fair is held, my great architectural team, top quality Brazilian galleries, and a good collector base with huge potential to keep growing are three factors that have made SP-Arte successful. The rest is good common sense and generosity.
My advice is to never give up—really! Believe in yourself and do not hesitate to ask for advice or help. Being surrounded by people who care and could give you advice is a good thing. Another crucial thing, in a more practical sense, is write a business plan. It is impossible, in any segment, to create a business without thorough planning beforehand. —[O]
Ocula will report on the 12th edition of SP-Arte from the ground. Stay tuned!