The last day of the four-day exhibition, I visited the former ABB Hall in Zürich to get impressions and insight into the trends of contemporary art through the exhibited artworks. The last day was not about illustrious programs or technical mysteries, it rather was a day of the public. Amateurs and people simply interested in art were looking around, the exhibitors were no longer intent to contact every single visitor, they were discussing which day had been the best for each of them. As I could hear, Sunday had been really prosperous, many of the pictures were already sold or reserved, as the little red flecks beside them indicated. Not all, but most items had their prices marked, ranging from 4.000 to 20.000 CHF.
The 22nd International Contemporary Art Fair (http://www.kunstzuerich.ch) featured selected artworks of 60 different galleries and artists. Many German, French, Italian and various other galleries were present beside Swiss ones. I would like to focus on a few, for me the most significant and in their perspective the most unconventional artworks, from among the many exciting and aesthetic experiences.
Marco Maria Zanin is a young Italian artist, who captures the fine transition of photography and painting in his works. His artworks unite the style of still-lives by Dutch masters, radiating timelessness, and the tradition of professional still life photography. Zanin was represented by Guillaume Maitre, from the Spazio Nuovo gallery in Rome. After a first glance at the pictures, talking to Mr Maitre made them even more interesting. The artist had arranged an assembly of the most commonplace materials for his still-lives: a plastic tube, shatters of concrete, pieces of plaster. The photographs, printed on special, exceptionally fine paper, gave the impression of paintings: the contours of objects seemed to be clouded by soft shadows, light and shade reminding us of classical drawings. The brightly exposed background, its white colour clear beyond belief, conferred a consistent elegance, unbinding the objects from their original selves and setting them on the level of artifacts. A multiple overlap of imagination and actuality. The elegant but extremely modest wooden rim really only served as a frame, bringing the picture itself into prominence. The covering glass was free of reflections as in museums, making the depth and texture of the picture realistic.
The French Galerie Mottet displayed real cultural delicacies, “Green paper” by Théodore Mann excelling them all in originality. The painter and poet was born in 1985, his series of eight pictures conceives different frames of mind. Monsieur Mottet referred to these works as “writings”: Mann had used cardboard and book-jackets for his collages, and the mostly green layers on top of each other created a construction quite out of the common.
The abstract paintings of Hideki Yamanobe are black-and-white masterpieces. The artist was born in Tokyo, and was represented by the German Galerie Wesner on the exhibition, with several of his works painted on large linen canvases. These monochrome pictures were created using acrylic or mixed techniques, their texture and the lines unfolding an inner world deliberately wanting colours.
The Swiss Hilfiker Luzern gallery had chosen to present a fascinating collection on a most exposed surface: a series of 60 drawings from a sketchbook, „Arbeiten auf Papier 1980–1982” by Leiko Ikemura. A material somewhat like wrapping paper gave their basic colour to the characteristic sketches, showing black graphite figures sometimes drawn only with a few lines. The many similar but still different drawings near each other, this integrated visualisation, testifyied to the vast aesthetic ingenuity of both the artist and the exhibitors.
Besides modern pictures, a few works of Picasso and Miro were also available. It was a treat to discover them among others presented by significant galleries.