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Art Bodensee '06

Art Bodensee

Today, Art Bodensee opened its doors for the sixth time. About 50 galleries participate in the Austrian fair in Dornbirn. Artfacts.Net interviewed fair director Roland Falger and posed a couple of questions about the history and meaning of the fair. Another interview with Bernd Geserick (from the “Fischerplatz Galerie”, Ulm, Germany) can be found in the second part of this article:

Roland Falger

Artfacts.Net: This is the sixth edition of “art bodensee”. Do you still remember the beginnings? Were all aims you hoped for achieved in the end?

Roland Falger: In 1999, first discussions with the Viennese gallerist Manfred Lang about a gallery-fair in Dornbirn took place. Bit by bit, it turned out that the courage for a fair’s date in summer and the advantageous location next to the borders of Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein offered some great potential for an art fair. Along with about 40 renowned gallerists from these four countries, we finally started the premiere of “art bodensee”. And thanks to the top-notch quality of the works on display, the fair enjoyed great popularity. It was a big success.
So the bar was raised very high, and keeping this equally high quality for the second edition was quite a challenge – which we managed to fulfill thanks to the engagement of international gallerists and positive critics.
In the first years, art education and didactics was even more in demand than expected, whereas in the past years a lot of new art buyers and collectors could be supported.
The fair Dornbirn is extremely glad to offer a platform – namely “art bodensee” – for contemporary art and for the promotion of young galleries, and to initiate numerous selling impulses.

Preview at the Galerie Baumgartl

Artfacts.Net: How are the chances for “art bodensee”, given the constantly growing competition?

Roland Falger: It is crucial that gallerists achieve sustained success at “art bodensee”. Dornbirn has become an insider tip for young, rising art. And for the trading area around Lake Constance, Dornbirn offers high-class works of international top stars.
So finally, in midsummer season, a special product with an unrivalled spectrum and simultaneous clarity is offered both to visitors and exhibitors. The high number of returning gallerists (about 85 %) is the best proof that “art bodensee” grew from a regional art show to a persistent international booth fair. The goals we set for 2006 are: the consolidation of the art fair as a meeting point for international guests, good accounts and new contacts for the 50 galleries, as well as the dissemination of the interesting art region Vorarlberg to the entire German-speaking area.

Artfacts.Net: How do you personally define „good art“?

Roland Falger: The fair’s team of „art bodensee“ has learned a lot in the past years about Fine Arts, its first league and “local heroes”, about the functions of galleries, about art forms and the build-up of a collection.
The advantage of a summer art fair in Dornbirn is the possibility to discuss about each work with the gallerist and the artist. The warranty that subjectively “nonchalant” pictures or sculptures are also a good investment tops the pleasure of art purchase off.

Bernd Geserick (left) and Artur M. Holweg (Artfacts.Net)

Interview with Bernd Geserick Fischerplatz Galerie

Artfacts.Net: Mr Geserick, the Fischerplatz Galerie represents international heavyweights like Niki de Saint Phalle, Eduardo Chillida or Günther Uecker and it participates in "art bodensee" ab initio. Why does this fair attract you?

Bernd Geserick: The Fischerplatz Galerie is based in Ulm (Germany) and is therefore easily reachable for collectors from Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein. Collectors can get acquainted with us – gallerists and artists – at “art bodensee” and like to visit us afterwards in our galleries at home.

Fischerplatz Galerie, Ulm

Artfacts.Net: How does "art bodensee" excel as an extraordinary fair?

Bernd Geserick: Smaller fairs still respect the gallerists as customers. Unusual solutions in unusual times are still possible and nobody in the organization is narrow-minded. Criticism is taken seriously and problems are about to be solved. I like that. There is a similarly positive phenomenon noticeable at the organizers of “Art.Fair” in Cologne.

Artfacts.Net: The Preview was very well visited, the organizers are satisfied. Do you also expect a financial success?

Bernd Geserick: Every year since its premiere, "art bodensee" has become more and more successful for the "Fischerplatz Galerie". The reason for this is certainly the cumulative contacts. The first day, I could already sell four bigger exhibits; one work even to a colleague – another special feature of this fair. The familial atmosphere allows a very nice approach among gallery owners. The success of a fair does not only depend on the sales directly at the fair, but also on “after-fair-business”. An initially “meaningless” contact can turn out to become a business connection lasting over years. “art bodensee” is a very good example for this.

Fischerplatz Galerie, Ulm

Artfacts.Net: How do you judge the fair’s development, and what kind of development do you wish “art bodensee”?

Bernd Geserick:art bodensee” learned more and more each time. In the second and third year, the development stagnated a bit; the organizers reacted to this and founded an advisory council that annually ameliorated the quality since then. This is how it should continue. Furthermore, a regional expansion and internationalization respectively could give another impulse even though it certainly might not be easy to attract an American gallery to Europe in midsummer.

Artfacts.Net: Thank you very much for the interview. We wish you more good contacts.

Statements from gallery owners:

Klaus D. Bode next to an object from Hans Karl Busch

Klaus D. Bode Galerie & Edition Bode GmbH:

"This year we participate for the second time, after last year’s great financial success. The private character and the relaxed atmosphere sum up well the pleasure of this fair. Despite African temperatures, an interested, competent – and numerous! - public took part in the preview. We will come back next year."

Sven Purrmann

Sven Purrmann, Kunsthandel Sven Purrmann:

"I am here for the first time. The public’s attendance at the preview highly exceeded my expectations. It is striking that the public is much more interested in the art works than in the gallery owner. This aspect of the fair is very interesting for a newcomer."

The Collector Leo. J. Koenders together with Sabine Rieck (Artfacts.Net/Amsterdam) and Artur M. Holweg (Artfacts.Net, Berlin)

Interviews: Artur M. Holweg
Translation: Armi Lee

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