Language and login selector start
Language and login selector end

KUNST Zurich - Interview with Raphael Karrer

Tobias Hilger (Artfacts.Net) and Raphael Karrer (Co-Director Kunst Zurich)

This is an interview from Artfacts.Net and with Raphael Karrer one part of the directorial team of Kunst Zürich.

AfN: How did you come to the art world, and how to Kunst Zürich?

Raphael Karrer: Already in college I was very interested in the arts. 12 years ago, I met Evelyne Fener, who workes and is still working for the art-section of the Handelszeitung. She was the organizer of an annual event of this newspaper. Back then I was in the underground music scene and we plannes an event combining music and arts. Art survived and after a small start we are now already in the 12th year.

AfN: Kunst Zürich is organized by group 44, does this group organize any other events or just Kunst Zürich?

Raphael Karrer: Group 44 has been found only for the purpose of this event.

AfN: And Group 44 is only you and Evelyne Fenner?

Raphael Karrer: Yes, that´s right.

Group 44 - Evelyne Fenner and Raphael Karrer (Founders Kunst Zurich)

AfN: Kunst Zürich takes place in one of Europes leading buisness locations and one of Switzerlands most important art location, does this have any effect on the fair? Is this an advantage for the location here in Zürich?

Raphael Karrer: Because Zürich is a leading buisness location, there are many dedicated collectors. Money usually interacts with the artworld. The upcoming gallery scene in Zürich is therefore very lifely…to be seen in our guest sector with all these wonderful young galleries and artists from all over the world.

AfN: Switzerland has the ART Basel one of the biggest international fairs in the world, is the Kunst Zürich in competition with Basel?

Raphael Karrer: Every fair is obviously in competion with the ART Basel. On the one hand we attract established collectors, but on the other hand, this fair is THE chance for young collectors who want to discover new artists.

AfN: As far as we know there is only one gallery showing in Kunst Zürich and in the Art Basel. That is Nothelfer in Berlin and last year there has been Carzaniga joining the Kunst Zürich and Basel. Can you explain the small number of galleries exhibiting in both fairs?

Raphael Karrer: Because of the strict internationality of the ART Basel, many swiss and german galleries are no longer admitted there. Kunst Zürich is a good alternative for them to exhibit in an international context. Kunst Zürich has developed internationally and qualitatively. As we said before, Zürich is an important location for contemporary arts and because of our development, we are sure that we will attract more and more galleries to exhibit in both the ART Basel and Kunst Zürich.
But I think the point is, that we don`t exhibit galleries. We show important artists, and as you can see here at our fair, you can discover artists, which are the same artists which exhibit at ART Basel and other important fairs.

AfN: Since several years the Kunst Zürich invites emerging galleries, not only from Switzerland. There have been programms with galleries from Berlin, Vienna and New York. In Switzerland the VoltaShow and the Liste are also focussing on young galleries. Can you tell us something about the selection policy of Kunst Zürich concering young galleries?

Raphael Karrer: Galleries should not be older than 5 years, artists under 40 years old. Qualitatively it is partly an intuitive selection. Our body of experts pay careful attention to select only young artists who have the potential to reach international relevance.

AfN: In terms of Fair Competition. Where would you strategically locate the Kunst Zürich today and what role should the Kunst Zürich play in the near future?

Raphael Karrer: The main areas of Kunst Zürich are naturally our adjoining countries. we will never admit more than 150 galleries in order to remain a visitor friendly fair. The promotion booths will in the future only be selected on recommendation of curators. This selection policy guarentees a very high standard for our collectors.

AfN: Do you have a collectors program? And if yes how is it organized?

Raphael Karrer: We offer guided exclusive tours for collectors to meet with artists and gallerists personally.

Artfacts.Net-Team Kunst Zurich - Artur M. Holweg and Tobias Hilger

AfN: Even if it was not very busy last year at the Kunst Zürich there was very relaxed atmosphere amongst the galleries and they reported good sales. Most of the galleries a coming again. Why is this?

Raphael Karrer: Many galleries are in the Guest sector, that is changed every year. The fluctuation of the other galleries is very little. Most of them come again every year.

Interview: Tobias Hilger

This Interview can also be viewed as an video on

  • ArtFacts.Net - your experienced service provider

    Since its start in 2001, ArtFacts.Net™ developed a sophisticated artist database through its collaboration with international art fairs, galleries, museums and artists.