Artgenève Offers Intimate Encounters With Art History
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Since its conception in 2012, artgenève has established its reputation as a 'human-sized salon d'art', consistently featuring a smaller number of galleries than regional counterparts such as Art Basel.
Shirana Shahbazi, Früchte Lila (gelb) (2021). C-print on aluminium, in handmade ceramic frame. 38 x 43.5 cm. Courtesy Galerie Peter Kilchman.
Marking its 10th anniversary edition, artgenève returns to its long-time venue of Palexpo in Geneva between 3 and 6 March 2022.
This year, just over 80 galleries are participating. Among those returning is Almine Rech, with highlights including Mehdi Ghadyanloo's The Great Circle (2021). The narrow canvas, painted in his signature trompe l'oeil style, depicts a spiral structure inside a dimly lit, box-like interior with a hole in its ceiling.
Throughout Ghadyanloo's paintings, this spiral structure evokes playground slides and the joy and melancholy of everyday life.
Zhu Jinshi's Floating Meteorite No.1 (2013) at Tang Contemporary Art, by comparison, is more instantaneous in action—a force of yellow, green, and blue hues applied to the canvas in thick slabs using spatulas and shovels.
The same immediacy of bodily action can be felt in Zhao Zhao's embroidered Constellations (2019), part of the ongoing series of the same name featuring holes and cracks made by gunshots through glass panels or paintings.
Alongside these abstract expressions, represented by additional art historical icons such as Hans Hartung at Galerie Haas and Fernand Léger at Galerie Le Minotaure, unique examples of figurative painting include Tobias Pils' The Arrival (2021) at Capitain Petzel. Rendered in greyscale, small human figures are depicted being carried or devoured by a giant as they pass before an enormous orb in the sky.
Sharing the same booth is Andrea Bowers' It is Good to Remember that the Planet is Carrying You, Quote by Vandana Shiva (Ecofeminist Oak Branch Series) (2021), an acrylic marker drawing of green branches on a support made of cardboard pieces. Bowers' work, featuring quotes by the Indian scholar and ecofeminist Vandana Shiva, continues her longstanding engagement with environmental activism.
In 2022, artgenève features three new specialised platforms. These include The Music Chamber, bringing together contemporary sound installations in a generous space; a labyrinthine exhibition of photography by 12 newly participating galleries; and large-scale sculptural installations presented by ten galleries including Galerie Buchholz, David Zwirner, Galerie Max Hetzler, and Nagel Draxler.
In addition, non-commercial exhibitions will be on view, organised by institutions, public and private collections, foundations, and non-profit organisations. These include a presentation of neon slogans by Alfredo Jaar in anticipation of an upcoming collaboration between the artist and the association ACT.
Artgenève's commitment to presenting a rich constellation of museum-quality non-commercial special exhibitions sets this commercial platform apart.
Further exhibitions include a survey of works by the late Kaari Upson organised by DESTE Foundation, providing an insight into the artist's singular explorations of the American psyche.
The multidisciplinary Larry Project (2005–2012) is among Upson's best-known works, which stemmed from the life of Upson's parents' neighbour in San Bernardino, California, who left behind a house full of personal items.
In several works belonging to the project, Upson plays archetypal women that Larry desired in his obsession with Playboy, such as a blonde nude woman cradling a life-size Larry mannequin in her arms in the photograph IT'S NEVER ENOUGH (2007).
Also included are examples of Upson's cast furniture, including an entire mattress cast in silicone, nylon, and fibreglass chillingly titled DEATH BED (2015) that speaks to Upson's examination of intensely private yet universal experiences of love, illness, and death.
Since 2015, artgenève has dedicated its annual artgenève/estates sector to a monumental installation by one historical or influential living artist, with former participants including Mario Merz, Chris Burden, and Sol LeWitt, among others.
In 2022, an installation by Meg Webster occupying 575 square metres will be mounted in collaboration with Paula Cooper Gallery. Glen recreates an outdoor work created for the group exhibition Sculptures Made Outside at the Walker Art Center in 1988, in which a simple, circular shape offers an immersive space for conversations around sustainability and ecology.
Additional solo artist booths can be found among the 17 galleries competing for the Prix Solo artgenève-F.P.Journe this year, including Roman De Watteville at Fabienne Levy; Rebekka Steiger at Galerie Urs Meile; Peter Zimmermann at Nosbaum Reding; Xie Lei at Semiose; and Bice Lazzari at Richard Saltoun Gallery, whose curated presentation of Greta Schödl's text-based works on paper won the 2020 Prix Solo artgenève-F.P.Journe.
Every year, the artist featured in the award-winning solo booth—selected by a jury consisting of MAMCO Genève's Lionel Bovier, Serpentine Galleries' Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Ringier Collection's Michael Ringier—will have their work donated to an institution in Switzerland.
Artgenève's commitment to presenting a rich constellation of museum-quality non-commercial special exhibitions sets this commercial platform apart, as a space where intimate, in-person encounters with art history unfold.
As postponements and cancellations of art fairs and shows continue across the world, artgenève continues to honour that fundamental joy of being at an art fair: to discover art first-hand and in person. —[O]