25 Feb 2024

art KARLSRUHE 2024: An expansive new departure

Fair for classical modern and contemporary art impresses with new concept

Karlsruhe, 25 February 2024 - The courage to change has paid off and passed the practical test: This is the unanimous conclusion of all those involved in art KARLSRUHE.

"I see a real departure here," summarises the world-famous artist and loyal visitor to the fair Markus Lüpertz. On the preview day, the hand-picked audience of art connoisseurs and gallery owners was already enthusiastic about the conceptual reorganisation under the new management, which has made the strengths of the fair tangible again. Around 47,000 visitors confirmed this initial positive response over the course of the fair.

"There is a unique spirit at art KARLSRUHE this year," says fair director Britta Wirtz. "And this is not only noticeable here, but also far beyond the exhibition centre. The fundamentally high quality of our exhibitors and the new concept are the perfect starting point on the way to becoming the place to be for the art scene in Europe."

Focussed on strengths and ready to provide impetus

With a broad spectrum of artistic creation, art KARLSRUHE offers art lovers an unrivalled collection of works - from classical modernism to post-war modernism and contemporary art. This inspiring interplay is unique in Karlsruhe and forms the basis for innovations that build on the fair's existing strengths. "We receive consistently positive feedback from our galleries," summarise project manager Olga Blaß and advisory board chairman Kristian Jarmuschek. "We are also particularly proud that relevant galleries that had cancelled previous art KARLSRUHE editions have now returned to us because they find our new concept so convincing." For example, the renowned gallery Henze & Ketterer: "The fact that classical modernism has come to Hall 1 was the deciding factor for us to come back to art," explains Dr Alexandra Henze. "My overall impression is that the fair is very appealing, the quality has increased in recent years and the visitors are very well informed. The discussions are really fun." New exhibitors are also finding the reorganisation of the fair positive: "This is our first time at art KARLSRUHE," says Michael Cosar from Galerie Cosar. "We had visitors to our stand throughout, numerous interested people and positive discussions, including some successful deals. We are therefore very satisfied."

Manuel Ludorff from Galerie Ludorff in Düsseldorf emphasises the high sales figures in particular: "Despite a market environment with economic challenges, the response here at art KARLSRUHE was very good. We have met very important and relevant collectors - the basic prerequisite for sales, especially in the high-price segment. For example, we have just sold a watercolour by Lyonel Feininger for 120,000 euros and have reserved works worth half a million euros to date. We were also able to sell all the paintings we had brought from the artist Christopher Lehmpfuhl, for example. As almost every year, things went extremely well for us at art KARLSRUHE."

The prince of painters Markus Lüpertz also praised the further development of the fair: "I've already discovered great colour application and good painting and I'm excited to see where the path will lead. The new structure is noticeable and I am particularly interested in the young art, because the newcomers in particular bring welcome excitement and life to the fair. I see a real awakening here!"

Overwhelming response to new format re:discover

"re:discover" - a format that makes artists visible again who quite wrongly do not have the attention of the art market - was very well received. With funding from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) and together with the Federal Association of German Galleries and Art Dealers (BVDG), art KARLSRUHE placed a special emphasis on artists who, despite the high artistic quality of their work, do not receive the attention they deserve. A total of 20 positions could be discovered in the gallery booths. "I am delighted with the re:discover programme," says Imke Valentien from Galerie Imke Valentien. "It's a great idea as a concept for the art market, but also for the artists. And it was an impulse from the BVDG to establish this concept at art KARLSRUHE."

Close ties with the regional economy and urban society

Numerous players from business and culture used the inspiring setting of the fair to network and exchange ideas. "More companies, networks, institutions and associations than ever before used the prestige of art KARLSRUHE this year as a showcase for meetings with their customers, partners and members," says Britta Wirtz. "We are of course delighted to welcome all regional and national players from the business world who choose our fair for their receptions and get-togethers."

With its important cultural institutions, a lively art scene and as a "UNESCO City of Media Arts", the fan-shaped city is predestined to make art KARLSRUHE a tangible part of city life. This took shape, for example, in project spaces and off-spaces with a sophisticated programme entitled "Kunstrauschen", where experiential spaces opened up for those interested in the art scene. "art KARLSRUHE is a testament to artistic roots in the city and region," says Olga Blass. "Together with the stakeholders of the art scene, we have realised new beginnings that will experience real development in the future." This offer was optimally reflected by the highlight "Forum Karlsruhe" in Hall 3, where a symbiosis of partnership was created that placed Karlsruhe's brand essence, media art, at the centre. In addition to works from the archive of the Centre for Art and Media (ZKM), the next generation of media artists from the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design (HfG) presented themselves for the first time with four of their own works and the scenographic design of the space.

The next art KARLSRUHE will take place from 20 to 23 February 2025.