ART MARKET: ART FORTNIGHT LONDON RÉSUMÉ
The mission of Art Fortnight London, which closed on July 5th, was supposedly to demonstrate the importance of the role of fine art in London, in the unique multicultural British capital. Major auction houses and galleries came together to exhibit and sell works of art ranging from Old Masters to some of the world's most cutting edge contemporary work. The mission was however debatable as it turned out to be an entirely strategic art market event rather than a platform to show and support young and upcoming artists.
Sale volumes were the main focus and auction houses dealt in enormous figures during the 2 week event. Works of impressionist and modern artists fetched more than 61 million pounds at the Auction House Sotheby's on the 21st June. Amedeo Modigliani's Garçon à la Veste Bleue was sold for 6,2 million pounds, Vincent Van Gogh's Deux Crabes went for 5,2 million pounds and Egon Schiele's Liebespaar was bought for 1.9 million pounds. At Christies' Auction house, Francis Bacon's Study for Self Portrait for 2,1 million pounds on the 23rd June and Three Studies of Isabel Rawstorne was sold for 3,1million pounds on the 24th June.
Although Art fortnight was advertised and classified as a major international art festival, most events were only accessible to groups of between 20-40 participants, consisting of art dealers or the inner circle of the art world. These kind of elitist door policies however, ignore the existence of the other side of the London art scene made up of dynamic and well informed art lovers, who invest and collect contemporary and emerging art.
The London gallery Haunch of Venison, on the other hand, is one of the few galleries showing the fresh talent of the conceptual and emerging art world. It opened its new exhibition Animals on the 24th of June, which explores the 'otherness' of animals and opens up new ways of thinking about them through the works of acclaimed international artists: among others Katarina Fritsch, Maria Kappos, Bruce Nauman, Diana Thater, Bill Viola and Rosemarie Trockel. Marina Kappo's video Beast, for example, shows an oversized domestic cat, looming threateningly over the viewer.
To make the Art Fortnight an established date in the art calendar, its philosophy and mission should be reformulated either as an old master art market event or as a platform for emerging art. If the organizers continue in the present form, trying to put everything under one roof, the event will lose its focus.
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