Review - The season started strongly

Galerie Ludorf
Galerie Ludorf

From the 22nd to the 25th of February 2018 the art KARLSRUHE celebrated its 15th anniversary. Find out here what has moved the art world in Karlsruhe.

A Fair Full of Surprises

The 15th art KARLSRUHE offered a large number of artworks that also surprised insiders because these pieces returned to the art market for the first time after a long hiatus. For example, several of the outstanding works in the genre of Classic Modern art that were immediately discussed throughout the fair included the unique “Singer at the Piano”, which Ernst Ludwig Kirchner painted in 1930 (at Henze & Ketterer; 3.7 million euros). Equally fascinating: “The Cycle of the Year”, which Hannah Höch painted in 1938 (at St. Gertrude; 240,000 euros). Needless to say, ample attention was likewise attracted by numerous artworks in the genre of Contemporary art. Among the most spectacular was Bernd Reiter’s “Irony of Fate”, a circa five-metre-tall installation on an area measuring 15 by 8 metres and featuring the spatially encompassing ensemble of a Russian fighter jet and two American luxury automobiles (at Michael Schultz; 1.2 million euros). Appreciative crowds also thronged around freestanding ceramic objects by Bean Finneran, especially a red ring, appropriately entitled “Red Ring” (see cover photo) and consisting of countless little sticks; part of the reason for this artwork’s attraction is that the internationally successful sculptor who created it was exhibiting in Germany for the first time (DavisKlemmGallery; 95,000 euros).

The motto of this fair’s year was “Art. Space. Emotion.”, so sculptures necessarily enjoyed a grand staging at art KARLSRUHE 2018. The Sculpture Areas, which were initiated by the fair’s curator Ewald Karl Schrade and which have enjoyed a warm reception right from the start, could be found for the first time in all four halls. They covered a broad art-historical spectrum ranging from figurative sculpture to constructive formation. The Sculpture Areas served as resting places in the landscape of stands, as places for contemplation and as venues for commerce. Apropos prizes: thanks to the L-Bank, the State Bank of Baden-Württemberg, the first annual Loth Sculpture Prize could be endowed with 20,000 euros – an apt tribute to the importance of threedimensional art. Ultimately, this was also a motivation for the exhibitors to continue staging these special exhibition areas, which often necessitate the transport of sculptures weighing several tonnes to Karlsruhe.

Bernd Reiter,
Bernd Reiter, "Ironie des Schicksals", Sculpture Area of Gallery Michael Schultz

A Fair Full of Successful Sales

Many exhibitors reported that they had covered their expenses with sales made on the first day of the fair because visitors were already eager to purchase from the first moment of the vernissage. Collectors from Baden-Württemberg, as well as their colleagues from more distant locations, ensured that revenues were satisfyingly high. “We were able to make large sales in the six-figure ballpark”, said Manuel Ludorff from Düsseldorf. His colleague Thole Rotermund from Hamburg likewise reported brilliant business: “The fair kicked off with the sale of a Macke watercolour, followed by one artwork by Heckel and another by Pechstein. I am personally pleased to know that these pictures will now be integrated into very good collections.” Doris Möllers from Münster was similarly enthusiastic: “We sold to longstanding customers and to new clients. Among other items, these purchases included a Münter painting in the upper five-digit euro range and a rare Heckel woodcut.”

Of course, numerous works of Contemporary art likewise found new owners. Just a few hours after the grand opening of the 15th art KARLSRUHE, Dirk Geuer from Düsseldorf was delighted to have sold every one his artworks by Leon Löwentraut (for prices between 18,000 and 45,000 euros). And in the dm-arena, which is dedicated to ContemporaryArt 21, Marko Schacher from Stuttgart confirmed: “The atmosphere in this hall is terrific. It’s fun to be here.” When he uttered those words, Schacher had already sold several artworks by Johanna Jakowlev for prices between 3,000 and 6,000 euros.

A Fair Characterized by Clarity

How Classic Modern artworks and their new counterparts from the present day look in direct interplay with a residential situation, and how they dialogue with one another, were documented most clearly by the 15th art KARLSRUHE’s Special Exhibition, which was staged by the Frieder Burda Collection. “A museum in miniature” was the phrase that Frieder Burda chose to describe the staging, which recalled a private salon and displayed artworks by Max Beckmann and Pablo Picasso, along with creations by Isa Genzken, Rodney Graham, Andreas Gursky and Neo Rauch. Henning Schaper, director of the Frieder Burda Museum, said: “We received very positive feedback from the media and in dialogues with numerous visitors.” Guided tour at the special show of the collection Frieder Burda: „L‘Amour fou pour l‘Art“ Bernd Reiter: „Irony of fate“. Installation on the sculpture area of the gallery Michael Schultz.

Comprehensive Accompanying Programme

Christian K. Scheffel, who owns a gallery in Bad Homburg and initiated the “Blickachsen” sculpture biennale in the Rhine-Main region, numbers among the first exhibitors at art KARLSRUHE who staged Sculpture Areas, which annually surprise viewers with three-dimensional artworks by internationally famed sculptors.

Joana Vasconcelos, exhibited by Galerie Scheffel, winner of the Loth Sculpture Area Prize 2018, art KARLSRUHE

For this year’s fair, Scheffel decided to present sculptures by the artist Joana Vasconcelos, who was born in Paris in 1971 and currently lives in Lisbon. The centre of the exhibition area was dominated by a tall, wrought-iron, teapot-shaped sculpture entitled “East Frisia” which is also suitable for placement outdoors. The fourperson jury unanimously chose this impressive Sculpture Area to receive the new Loth Sculpture Area Prize. Awarded this year for the first time and endowed by the L-Bank with 20,000 euros, the Loth Sculpture Area Prize commemorates the oeuvre of the German artist Wilhelm Loth, who died in 1993. The estate executor Alexander Heil, who serves as the fourth juror alongside three museum directors, emphasized in his speech at the conferral of the Loth Sculpture Area Prize that Joana Vasconcelos, who represented Portugal at the Venice Biennale five years ago, primarily focuses her artistic efforts on women’s issues.

Gallery owner Anja Knoess in front of a work by American artist Sarah McRae Morton, art KARLSRUHE-Prize winner 2018

After ten years of collaborative collecting activity at art KARLSRUHE, it was also interesting for the State of Baden-Württemberg and the City of Karlsruhe to see which artworks had won the art KARLSRUHE-Prize in the past and had accordingly been acquired for the art KARLSRUHE collection. The Städtische Galerie Karlsruhe, which manages the art KARLSRUHE Collection, staged a special show in the dm-arena in Hall 4, where an overview of these acquisitions was on display. This year marked the eleventh annual conferral of the art KARLSRUHE-Prize. From a total of 192 One-Artist-Shows at the fair, a jury of experts selected the presentation staged by the American artist Sarah McRae Morton and the gallery owner Anja Knoess from Cologne. It was the jury’s opinion that this artist, who was born in 1984, “transports the painterly tradition of the 19th century into the present day in a manner which is as independent as it is idiosyncratic”.

Award ceremony of the Hans Platschek Prize for Art and Writing 2018 to Michael Kunze

One of the oldest and best traditions at art KARLSRUHE is the annual conferral of the Hans Platschek Prize for Art and Writing by Hamburg’s Platschek Foundation. This honour is accompanied by an exhibition juxtaposing artworks by each year’s prizewinner and artworks by the painter and author Hans Platschek, who died in the year 2000. The Foundation made an exception this year and selected only paintings by the Berlin-based artist Michael Kunze, who was awarded the eleventh Platschek Prize. Kunze was chosen by Gregor Jansen, director of Kunsthalle Düsseldorf. In his speech at the awards ceremony, Jansen praised Kunze as an artist “who discloses the potential that resonates in the undercurrents of Modernism…. He constructs images and texts that contain text, are labyrinthine and interwoven with stories; they are comparable to an Argonauts’ voyage or an odyssey.”

Katharina Sieverding in the ARTIMA art Forum 2018

There was plenty of women’s power at the ARTIMA art meeting. In four individual discussions, each of which was moderated by Carl Friedrich Schröer in Hall 4, two art mediators and two artists expressed their views and willingly explained how they came to art and how their future careers were presaged and prepared by events in their parental homes and/or in their schools. The first two presenters were Patricia Kamp, who is an art historian and the stepdaughter of the collector Frieder Burda, and the sculptor Anke Eilergerhard, whose work was shown at a Sculpture Area staged by Galerie Tammen & Partner. Their presentations were followed the next day by question-and-answer sessions with Söke Dinkla, who directs the Lehmbruck Museum, and the artist Katharina Sieverding.

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