“art market”

Christo, the intimate and the monumental

Whilst the urban projects of Christo and Jeanne-Claude are on display at the ING Art Center in Brussels, BRAFA is displaying a piece from the mid-1960s, Three Store Fronts. We look back on the history of this installation and look forward to the birth of the Mastaba project coming soon to Abu Dhabi which will become the largest sculpture in the world.   Born in 1935 in Bulgaria, Christo Vladimiroff Javacheff, known as Christo, worked with his wife and collaborator Jeanne-Claude Guillebon Denat, from the end of the 1950s until her death in 2009. Together, they have created many large-scale, on-site installations such as the packaging of the Pont-Neuf in Paris and the Reichstag in Berlin, or more recently the installation of over 7,000 panels of saffron-coloured cloth in Central Park, New York and a floating bridge on Italy’s Lake Iseo. Supporting themselves financially through the sale of preparatory drawings, over the years their achievements led to obtaining permission to execute projects in various cities or regions, with an engineering team making them possible. Within a few years, Abu Dhabi is expected to host the largest sculpture ever orchestrated in the world. In the meantime, this year, BRAFA exhibits a historic piece from Christo, never seen before in Belgium.   At BRAFA you are exhibiting a piece of your work from the 1960s called Three Store Fronts from the series Show Windows and Show Cases. Why did you choose this piece for the fair? To look at its broader historical context, it’s a piece of work from the work I did in Paris. From 1962, I worked on the Show Windows and Show Cases series, which were display cases or old medicine cabinets- and then designed Three Store Fronts for my first personal exhibition, which took place in 1966...

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Respecting the Balance

Like most collectors flocking to BRAFA, Harold t’Kint de Roodenbeke likes the month of January. President of the fair for the sixth consecutive year, he reveals to AMA the key points of the strategy for the Brussels-based fair. Verbatim.   With nearly 25,000 artifacts and works of art, presented by 135 exhibitors, BRAFA is an event not to be missed. Considered one of the top five global art fairs, it takes place in January and is also the fair which sets the pace for the art market. Following the Paris biennale in September, Frieze Masters in October in London and shortly before the Maastricht TEFAF in March, BRAFA is a key date in the diary for all lovers of fine art. A major European event held at the stylish brick and wrought iron Tour & Taxis site, BRAFA signals the return to trading for the year. It is important to keep in mind that on this international stage whilst 30% of traders are Belgian, the bulk of those in attendance come from the other 15 countries represented, from Canada to Japan. The key characteristic of BRAFA is its atmosphere; it has the ambiance of a general, rather classic fair, which has managed to combine a certain old-fashioned spirit with a moment of timely relaxation. With more than 60,000 visitors expected, the fair covers four millennia of art history, spanning 20 different segments, from pre-Hispanic art and design, Golden Age furniture and comic strips, not to mention a trendy tribal art segment, driven by serious experts in the field. Here is the best kind of eclecticism, combined with a median position and consolidated by the amplitude of the price range. The heavily carpeted aisles are lined with the (mainly European) collectors which constitute the fair’s regular clientele, all with smiles...

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BRAFA, The Great Belgian Fair

Rigour, eclecticism and a dash of of madness for good measure… From Saturday 27January to Sunday 4 February, BRAFA opens in Brussels, kicking off the new season of international art fairs. It’s the event that sets the New Year in motion for the antiques, paintings and collectibles market and at the heart of Europe, it’s an unmissable happening for all art lovers!   “Those were the days where Brussels used to dream…”, sang the great Jacques Brel, in 1962. More than half a century later, as a new year begins, the people of Brussels are still dreaming and going about their quirky ways in the Belgian capital… Couture dresses, though less glittery than those worn on Saint Sylvestre, remain popular and fashionable businessmen are now opting for sharply cut Italian suits rather than the tuxedos trotted out over the festive season… But who or what exactly are we talking about? A umpteenth private reception private for the upper echelons of society, determined not forget a sense of celebration in these troubled times? No; we are talking about an artsy preview night, saturated with the finest champagne, precious materials and beautiful objects. Where the whole of Brussels,  or maybe even the whole of Europe, can come to take in the splendour and wet their appetite for fine art. This January, you can spend nine days strolling around the Brussels Art Fair, whose rather ungainly acronym, BRAFA, tells one nothing of the finesse and elegance to be found in this show of pieces, paintings and furniture – that one will have the opportunity to see – and perhaps even own. Whilst BRAFA is indeed an annual fair of beauty, happily, we’re talking about affordable beauty. Nestled into the treasure chest that is the Tour & Taxis site, whose stylish industrial facade...

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FIAC 2017, elevating the fair to a fine art

Four days, 29 countries invited, 192 galleries and at least 70,000 visitors expected… Unfolding its 44th edition, the FIAC stands out, once again, as the major cultural event of this back-to-school period with the City of Light reflecting bright contemporary rays. FIAC lux! Has the FIAC finally hit on the right formula? After years of hesitations and oscillations between programme strategies as diverse as they’ve been varied, the event now seems to have found a recipe that suits not only the general public, but also collectors, art critics… and even professionals. All the while reconciling artistic quality and broad accessibility. Like every year, the event’s epicentre is under the nave of the Grand Palais, where the General section is on show, gathering the most prestigious galleries on the contemporary-art market. Namely one hundred or so brands, both French and international names, in a proportion which seems to be the norm for events of this type: one-quarter are locals, the others hail from overseas. But does the distinction make much of a difference these days in the upper-market sector, where Parisian boutiques look much like those in San Francisco? In total, two-thirds of the galleries present are European in origin, which at least serves as a reminder of the discreet yet weighty role played by the EU on the world stage of the art market. This year, the selection committee for exhibitors was composed of eight specialists, namely Olivier Antoine, Gisela Capitain, Mark Dickenson, David Fleiss, Solène Guillier, Jan Mot, Emmanuel Perrotin and Christophe Van de Weghe. Out of the 192 participants, 40 galleries are taking part in the FIAC for the first time, and six new countries are making their debut: Egypt, Kosovo, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Tunisia. The cream of international galleries And then there are the faithful....

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Interview: Jennifer Flay

At this 44th edition of the FIAC, director Jennifer Flay is presenting 192 galleries. On top of its many stands, the fair is developing through its outdoor installations, scattered across the Jardins des Tuileries up to the Place Vendôme, as well as a performance festival. An interview. For this big yearly contemporary-art parade, once again, the fair’s boss hasn’t done things by halves. Voguish aesthetics and art-business rhetoric… Jennifer Flay is leading the Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain – along with its paintings, sculptures, performances, installations – towards new summits. Namely with a staunch desire to anchor contemporary art more solidly in the Parisian space. The aim? To make this exciting event, held between Art Basel in June, and Miami Beach in December, one of the most stylish musts on planet Art.   This year, the fair is welcoming 40 new exhibitors – that’s quite a number! No, not really if we think back to the FIAC’s big overhaul period when I arrived in 2004, when we’d go up to 60 new galleries a year. Forty is a figure that has popped up quite naturally in the last few years. The new exhibitors are mainly young brands – including galleries in the Lafayette section, whose goal is to support emerging players – as well as design galleries who we’re delighted to bring back this year. This figure also demonstrates a certain stability: today, the FIAC is in the midst of a consolidation and stepping-up phase. Our event needs to be fresh and progressive – something that comes out especially through its state of mind. Last year, our big achievement was to close Avenue Winston-Churchill and to open up the sector to the Petit Palais, hence offering a new geography for the FIAC, but also for Paris.   In market terms,...

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