“Switzerland”

Wolfgang Tillmans, at the frontiers of the visible

As one exhibition concludes, another opens… While the solo show dedicated to German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans is finishing at the Tate in London, the retrospective on him at the Fondation Beyeler is starting up in the Swiss city of Basel. Perfect timing for a closer look at this artist whose experimentations have taken him far and wide… Contemporary photography – unfortunately – doesn’t always have many superstars to boast about. Even if the medium has achieved recognition in the last decade, its ecosystem still remains closed: it has its own dedicated galleries, themed auction sales, mono-medium fairs, specialised journals… In this respect, Germany’s Wolfgang Tillmans emerges as something of a phenomenon. Earning steady recognition from institutions and art critics from a very early stage in his career, he is already counted amongst the most fashionable photographers… And yet we can sense that this artist still has more tricks up his sleeve. Born in 1968 in Remscheid in West Germany (near Cologne and Düsseldorf, and therefore also near Europe-focused Belgium and the Netherlands), he discovered the photography of Polke, Richter and Rauschenberg while he was still a teenager in the museums of big neighbouring cities. After three years in Hamburg, Tillmans continued his studies at the Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design in South England. He then moved to London before staying in New York for one year in 1994. This is where he met gallerist Andrea Rosen, who would be the first to support him, as well as his lover, painter Jochen Klein. The two Germans would return to Europe where they lived together in the British capital until the death, in 1997, of Klein, a victim of AIDS. Tillmans was not yet 30 at the time. In 2000, the artist suddenly emerged from obscurity by becoming...

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In Julian Schnabel’s studio

An hour with Julian Schnabel, who shares with Art Media Agency reflections on the ground he has covered, the Plate Paintings series, surface and matter, film, sun and shade… An encounter in Manhattan. Born in 1951 in New York, the city where he continues to live, Julian Schnabel has maintained a reputation as an undisciplined artist. Winning the attention of critics early on while refusing to be pinned down by any particular style, he also became known to the public in 1996 thanks to his film Basquiat. Ever since, he has continued to paint, sculpt and make feature films when he’s not surfing near his villa in Montauk. And let’s not forget: Julian Schnabel is also an interior architect… It was incidentally in his Venetian palace in the West Village, New York, that he received us – at the heart of the Palazzo Chupi, in which the artist has based his studio and apartment, with a view of the Hudson…   At the very start of your career in the 1970s, did you feel close to European movements such as the Italian Transavanguardia? In terms of style, we get this impression, but did you know the artists that made up the movement such as Francesco Clemente, Sandro Chia, Enzo Cucchi or Mimmo Paladino? In 1982, when Harald Szeemann curated the “Settore Arti Visive” exhibition in which I took part at the Venice Biennale, Francesco Clemente was one of the artists. I then saw him again when Jean-Christophe Ammann showed us in Basel, along with Enzo Cucchi and Sandro Chia, and we started to keep up with one another. I particularly liked the work of Clemente, especially from that period, and we then became friends, but before this encounter, I didn’t know who these artists were.   This was also...

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Alexis Hubshman: “Scope is like a treasure hunt”

Scope is celebrating its eleventh birthday this year by launching Scope Haus, a new private art centre in Basel. Its president, Alexis Hubshman has managed to launch a fair that today enjoys widespread success. For this edition, 70 exhibitors have been chosen. Independent and atypical… Scope has stayed loyal to its commitments.   Scope has now been around for about 16 years. Its president, Alexis Hubshman, didn’t go to business school. He’s an artist… and an entrepreneur. He previously worked with a landscaping company and even invented a gadget allowing users to walk around on rollerblades when he was 20 years old. He went on to invest some of his profits in opening an art gallery in the Meatpacking district in New York City where no young galleries existed at the time. Three years later, he decided to create his own art fair, Scope. He has already curated shows on China, India, the Middle East diaspora…   Can you outline the context in which Scope has emerged? We started at a beautiful space in Basel, where we were for more than ten years, and we’ve now evolved by taking possession of a beautiful Crédit Suisse building in the centre of town. For the next five years we have it every day, every month, all year. I first came to Basel to show emerging contemporary art – that was sort of where we started. The business started 16 years ago at a time when here weren’t really any satellite art fairs, as they’ve come to be known, so we were really one of the first. Our goal is to show new young emerging dealers and artists whereas the Armory, Art Basel, or Cologne are for the more established. So a lot of the galleries that have come to Scope are...

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Yesterday Is Aujourd’hui

After Brussels and before New York, the YIA fair is opening its doors for the first time in Basel. Romain Tichit, the dynamic founder of Young International Artists, here retraces his background, his projects, his doubts… And restates that Yesterday Is Aujourd’hui!   It often begins this way, as a passion, or an interest shared with friends. “Parallel to my job in advertising and the digital technologies, I used to organise exhibitions with artists in so-called nomad locations,” explains Romain Tichit, he of the unruly hair and three-day stubble. In the advertising world, he passed through Publicis, DDB and Lagardère. It was “Dynasty”, the show jointly presented at the Palais de Tokyo and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, that urged him to change direction. This mega-exhibition gathered around forty artists over nearly 5,000 m2, including Farah Atassi, Bertrand Dezoteux, Camille Henrot, Théo Mercier, Jean-Xavier Renaud, Bettina Samson and Oscar Tuazon. “In 2010, after ‘Dynasty’, I decided to set up the YIA (Young International Artists) concept, a fair to support the emerging scene.” In 2012, Romain Tichit founded the communication agency LFDAC (La Française des Arts Contemporains), which continues to be his instrument for steering YIA. In the first years, the initial concept was clear: exhibiting young artists represented by gallerists in (post-)industrial sites. For its first edition, it showed artists including Vincent Ganivet, Hsia Fei Chang, Lionel Sabatté and Guillaume Cabantous. It then worked its way across Paris, from the Cartonnerie to the Bastille Design Center, Loft Sévigné, the Espace Morin, the Espace Commines as well as the Galerie Joseph on Rue de Turenne. “After a number of editions in more or less confidential locations, we managed to get the hall of the Carreau du Temple, which we’ve been occupying for four years now.” This...

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“Volta, more flexibility for the system”

Rendezvous at Volta, a fair whose selection is both inventive and rigorous. Seventy galleries will be waiting for you, from 12 to 17 June, for the thirteenth edition of an event that is still high in the popularity stakes. A stroll through its alleys, in the company of Amanda Coulson. Prior to launching Volta New York in 2008, Amanda Coulson cofounded Volta Basel in 2005. Today, the art critic and exhibition curator is also Director of the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas and resides in Nassau. So how does she approach the market? With a primarily curatorial vision and a gaze characterised by a critic’s eye… For its thirteenth edition, the artistic director is welcoming no less than 70 galleries from 43 different cities to Volta.   Can you tell us about this 2017 edition? What’s the atmosphere like? This is quite a difficult question because we see new things every year and that’s what’s interesting! Our galleries evolve, some take part in major fairs, others have different projects… But we work in a very organised manner. In New York, we only present solo shows whereas in Basel, we have more variety and we ask our galleries to change their programmes for every new edition. We’re not a fair that looks to gather as many people as possible, but our aim instead is to make Volta an attractive spot for curators and collectors who feel concerned. From the start, we thought that Volta would be held in a luxury hotel, a cheap youth hostel or else a boutique hotel… The idea was to create a well-groomed but human-sized concept because we always wanted to offer a break compared with the main fairs, a place where people also come to relax.   And have you tried to create links...

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