10 Artists to Watch at LISTE

Molly Gottschalk
Jun 14, 2016 1:00AM

The 21st edition of LISTE opened to VIPs on Monday, welcoming a horde of collectors to Basel’s historic Warteck Brewery. Over its more than two decades, the fair has seen a number of key tastemaker galleries from Mathew to High Art—some of whom (like High Art and Gregor Staiger) have gone off to found their own fair, Paris Internationale. This year, with a number of programs having moved up to the main event at Art Basel in Basel, LISTE offers something of a fresh crop of young dealers, particularly from heretofore underrepresented regions and cities like Cairo, Kosovo, and Estonia. With them, these dealers bring a host of new artists to discover across the fair, butting up against notable presentations by recent institutional favorites. Below, we bring you the 10 artists we’ll be keeping our eye on after the fair.

Installation view of work by Cornelia Baltes at Limoncello’s booth at LISTE, 2016. Photo by Benjamin Westoby for Artsy.

One of Artsy’s 16 artists to watch in 2016, at LISTE, Baltes debuts works fresh from the studio, plucked from the same series she showed to great acclaim at the London gallery this January. In past exhibitions, the German artist’s works have hung from the ceiling or sat upon wheels on the floor. This time, elevated on shallow plinths, her paintings-cum-sculptures (priced between £3,000–8,000) are scattered across a blue carpet in a way meant to mimic sketches strewn across the artist’s studio floor. Look for Baltes later this month in a group show at Brand New Gallery or for her upcoming public commission at Cathedral Primary School in Bristol in 2017. 

Nona Inescu

Available at Sabot

Installation view of work by Nona Inescu at Sabot’s booth at LISTE, 2016. Photo by Benjamin Westoby for Artsy.


With two weeks still left of grad school at the National University of Arts in Bucharest, 25-year-old Inescu is having an excellent start to her summer. The Romanian artist’s sensual and tactile works, like a print of a hand ensconced in a fig leaf (part of her solo debut at Sabot last fall), attracted many admirers during the fair’s opening hours. Nearby, an installation pairing of a fuzzy peach and a dressing-room curtain (A fuzzy feeling, 2016; €2,200) was scooped up right away. “It’s a changing room you can step inside,” Inescu told me. (It’s true, I tried.) Inspired by the curtains of Flemish sculptor Lili Dujourie, the work is part of a larger project about the emancipation of women in Romania in the 1930s, and the print is a remake of a package for women’s stockings. “It’s about coming out of the private sphere, and stepping into the public.”

Alice Ronchi

Available at Francesca Minini 

Installation view of work by Alice Ronchi at Francesca Minini’s booth at LISTE, 2016. Photo by Benjamin Westoby for Artsy.

On the heels of a group exhibition at VAF Foundation, 27-year-old artist Ronchi presents an autumn-winter collection of interchangeable combs for dinosaurs—sculptures complete with accessories, and mirrors. (She debuted a spring-summer collection at Galerie Fons Welters last fall.) “A dinosaur can be vain,” said Ronchi, who was found near the booth on opening day. Although she notes the work was inspired by the Memphis Group’s design aesthetic, it was foremost inspired by fantasies of children. “It’s a way to behave like a child, and approach this like in a children’s story.”

Adelita Husni-Bey

Available at Laveronica

Installation view of work by Adelita Husni-Bey at Laveronica’s booth at LISTE, 2016. Photo by Benjamin Westoby for Artsy.

“It’s about a new urbanization plan in Cairo in 2050,” says the gallery’s Sveva D’Antonio of Husni-Bey’s piece, White Paper: the land (2014; €28,000). The work consists of a video that screens beneath a maquette of a future metropole and takes up much of the booth. “The government is trying to change Cairo into a big metropolis like Paris or Dubai, but they are destroying the ancient neighborhoods of the city,” D’Antonio added. Curious as to what will become of the farmers and fishermen displaced in the process, the 30-year-old artist went straight to the source, asking those who would be displaced to edit the masterplan. As visitors to the rising Modica-based gallery’s LISTE stand will soon notice, they did away with the skyscrapers and added small houses, hospitals, and social centers in their place.

Taocheng Wang

Available at Carlos/Ishikawa 

Installation view of work by Taocheng Wang at Carlos/Ishikawa’s booth at LISTE, 2016. Photo by Benjamin Westoby for Artsy.

Thirtysomething Chinese artist Wang was originally trained in classical painting. Now with a day job as a masseuse in Amsterdam, she paints ink and watercolor narratives around bizarre situations with her clients. “Her titles are quite revealing, like ‘that man tried to lick my arm,’” said gallerist Vanessa Carlos, referring to the artist’s 2015 work titled A Hongkong-Dutch Client Licking My Arm during the Massage Treatment (The Controlled Style). Three of Wang’s pieces debuted last week at Manifesta 11, and at LISTE, two works, including I didn’t want to take off my clothes for practicing massage skill (2016), quickly sold for €5,000 apiece.  

Li Ming

Available at Antenna Space

Installation view of work by Li Ming at Antenna Space’s booth at LISTE, 2016. Photo by Benjamin Westoby for Artsy.

Li’s site-specific video installation MEIWE (2015) attracts crowds to a glowing, neon alcove near a stairwell. Created for the artist’s first institutional solo exhibition, held at Beijing’s Ullens Center for Contemporary Art late last year, the installation includes a video, two light boxes, and a text. By midday of the preview, four of the videos, priced $12,000–16,000, had sold, as had a light box for $12,500. (The Rubells were looking intently when I stopped by.) The title borrows from a 2007 Glenn Ligon work, which itself pulls from Muhammad Ali’s 1975 speech at Columbia University. According to Antenna Space’s director Simon Wang, “Li wanted to place a focus on both the masses and the individual; looking for independence between individuals but trying to bring them together as well.”

Flaka Haliti

Available at LambdaLambdaLambda 

Installation view of work by Flaka Haliti at LambdaLambdaLambda’s booth at LISTE, 2016. Photo by Benjamin Westoby for Artsy.

Haliti represented her native Kosovo last year at the 56th Venice Biennale with an installation, Speculating on the Blue (2015), exploring borders, democracy, mobility, and freedom. This week, in a solo booth with LambdaLambdaLambda, the 33-year-old artist presents a sculpture conceived for a show at Kunsthalle Wien last year. Blue sand (a byproduct of the Venice Biennale presentation and a reference to EU colors, shown now at a time when Britain threatens to exit the economic union) fills Ikea bags, from which iron sculptures stand tall. The sculptures were modeled after drawings by schoolchildren  from an expat community, which, given the ongoing crisis, adds extra weight to the piece. “Blue gives hope for the future, while the Ikea bag presents a more broad view on the refugee crisis,” said gallery co-director Isabella Anna-Maria Ritter.

Installation view of work by Inga Meldere at Temnikova & Kasela’s booth at LISTE, 2016. Photo by Benjamin Westoby for Artsy.

“We’ve already swapped out all of her work,” said Olga Temnikova of the rampant demand for Meldere’s works during LISTE’s first few hours. The Latvian artist is trained in art conservation and has a knack for pulling art-historical knowhow into contemporary art. Three stone slabs that are clustered on the booth’s walls reference Russian set design à la Malevich or Popova, and were made using a fake archeological process: paint, cover, clean, repeat. The highlight of the booth, PRIMAVERA (2016; €5,000), is emblematic of the artist’s current show in the gallery’s Estonia space. It combines imagery from adult coloring books (think Mort Drucker’s JFK Coloring Book, Temnikova said) with art-historical references, like Greek imagery. 

Liz Craft

Available at Truth and Consequences 

Installation view of work by Liz Craft at Truth and Consequences’s booth at LISTE, 2016. Photo by Benjamin Westoby for Artsy.

A standout of “Mirror Cells” at the Whitney (the summer group show curated by Christopher Y. Lew and Jane Panetta), and also featured in a solo at Real Fine Arts, Craft unsurprisingly draws equal crowds to Truth and Consequences at LISTE. For the past several editions of the fair, the gallery has occupied its tiny basement space, accessible via spiral stairwell, but this year, the staircase’s doorway is framed with golden sculptures by the Los Angeles-based artist. “She deals with feminine identity through the envelope of the human body,” said gallery director Paul-Aymar Mourgue d’Algue.

Kulisek / Lieske

Available at VI, VII

Installation view of work by Kulisek / Lieske at VI, VII’s booth at LISTE, 2016. Photo by Benjamin Westoby for Artsy.

Last year, American artist and photographer Rob Kulisek and German artist and gallerist David Lieske joined forces as a collaborative music and art duo. This week, their series of 11 photographs that line VI, VII’s booth are not to be missed at LISTE. (Lieske is also manning Mathew’s unsurprisingly excellent booth upstairs.) Among the set are images created for a photo shoot for the revered Text zur Kunst, where the duo served as guest editors and styled 16 people connected to the current conversation around fashion. Others are the product of a shoot for a black metal album taken, ironically, in the Hamptons. More still are part of the pair’s mockup of a fashion and photography magazine, 299 792 458 m / s. For those who missed their performance on the LISTE rooftop Monday night, head to Berlin on June 25th, where they’ll be performing as part of the recently opened Berlin Biennale, curated by DIS.

Molly Gottschalk