Since 2005 The Vienna Art Fair has been at the forefront of promoting Central and Eastern European art. This year’s ‘The New Contemporary’ exhibition did not disappoint with it’s cutting edge selection of galleries and artists. The Messe Wien centre triumphed yet again as a premier location for the event. Despite it’s unapologetic trade fair status and rather blank interior, the space is vast, allowing the artwork to take centre stage.

Whilst there was a well represented European contingent of galleries, it was encouraging to see work from under represented countries such Korea, Iran and Turkey. Yet again demonstrating that the European art scene continues to spread it’s wings globally.

The successful dialogue between Vienna and the Bosphorus continues with the special project “Diyalog: Art from Turkey”. Six galleries from Istanbul delivered a cross-section of the city’s contemporary art scene. Iran carved a particularly strong identity across the fair with striking work from the Shirin Art Center, Tehran.

Dvorak Sec Contemporary, Prague based gallery was certainly one of the talking points of the fair, carpeting it’s stand with cocker spaniel and feline rugs (dog carpet II and cat carpet, 2007
by Ondřej Brody). Equally striking was Richard Stipl’s Secret weapon, a mid-flight sculptural battle, pitting geese against zombie-babies. Sensationalism was put aside by work from Galerija Gregor Podnar, Berlin. The light installation miss Christmas by Vadim Fishkin (2012) was particularly poignant, depicting a shadow of a lonely palm-tree growing out of a bucket. Welcome simplicity amidst the more bank-worthy paintings and sculptures.

The Fair requires visitors full attention for at least half a day to work your way around the labyrinthine corridors of the Wien Messe. It is certainly a ‘must’ for any upcoming or established galleries that wish to register in the European market. The Vienna Art Fair continues to grow in stature which is encouraging for the Viennese art scene as well as European art as a whole.

The Vienna Art Fair continues until Sunday, September 23rd.

Sources: Vienna Fair 2012The Vienna ReviewArt Slant BerlinVienna Now or Never


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