30 Emerging Artists to Watch This Spring

Artsy Editors
Apr 13, 2016 4:55AM

With the spring art season comes a slew of gallery exhibitions, museum shows, and art fairs brimming with the latest crop of young artists. In preparation, we consulted hundreds of galleries and sifted through thousands of artworks to uncover the 30 most promising up-and-coming artists across the globe.

The artists listed below hail from Beijing to Beirut, Cape Town to Kathmandu. They are showing at fairs from Art Cologne to LISTE; in exhibitions from MFA shows to biennials; and their diverse practices span choreography, virtual reality, painting, and more. Five standouts, including a Studio Museum in Harlem resident and an artist currently filming in the jungles of Brazil, have been profiled in greater depth.

EJ Hill

B. 1985 in Los Angeles. Lives and works in Los Angeles and New York.

On view this spring:

Artists-in-Residence Open Studios at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Portrait of EJ Hill in his studio at the Studio Museum in Harlem by Daniel Dorsa for Artsy.


“Getting started can be the hardest thing—putting the first word on a page or putting the first mark on a canvas,” says EJ Hill, standing in the Studio Museum in Harlem’s spacious third-floor artist-in-residence studios overlooking 125th Street, dressed in head-to-toe denim with shiny black loafers and a cap. “I knew that if I just started with something familiar, it could hold my interest for a while. Then it would lead into the real artwork. So I went deep down a roller coaster rabbit hole. And I wasn’t able to drop it.”

Since Hill moved from L.A. to Harlem in October of last year and settled into the museum as one of their current artists in residence, he has been drawn back to a childhood obsession: amusement parks. “When I was little, I had these notebooks and they’d all be covered with roller coaster drawings, then in the margins they would have the stats (how many times it went upside down, and maximum speed). I had Hot Wheels tracks that would loop around my room, and K’NEX roller coaster sets—it’s been a thing. I’m deep in it,” he says with a smile.

Read the full profile by Tess Thackara.

Anna Hulačová

B. 1984 in Sušice, Czech Republic. Lives and works in Prague.

On view this spring:

Solo presentation with hunt kastner at LISTE 

Anna Hulačová, Brothers, 2015. Photo by Michal Czanderle, courtesy of hunt kastner, Prague. 


The figures that comprise Hulačová’s cast of otherworldly sculptures are inspired by religious icons, mythological gods, and folkloric beasts. They embody rituals that span history and geography; and together, they tell a captivating story of humanity’s penchant for worship and escape through art. Until recently, Hulačová has shown almost exclusively in her native Prague, but this year sees her work traveling beyond the Czech Republic to a solo booth at LISTE, a solo exhibition at CEAAC in Strasbourg, and group exhibitions in Berlin and Gdansk. 

Heidi Hahn

B. 1982 in Los Angeles. Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

On view this spring:

Showing with Jack Hanley at NADA New York 

Left: Heidi Hahn, Believe in All at Once, Maybe Later; Right: Heidi Hahn, Women for All, but None for You. Images courtesy of Jack Hanley Gallery.

It’s hard to spot a man in Hahn’s paintings, where women with features resembling smiley faces and bodies like lava-lamp blobs lounge, commiserate, and cry. The New York-based artist joins a recent rash of figurative painters, but sets herself apart by fusing art-historical precedents (the supine muses of Renoir, for instance) with a rebuke of the traditional male gaze. Hahn’s subjects, which recently featured in a solo at Jack Hanley and will be shown at NADA New York, aren’t the coy sitters of yesteryear—with their expressions pared down to several exacting lines, and their bodies to flat shapes, they come together as a tribe of unidealized figures who defy objectification. 

Felix Kiessling

B.1980 in Hamburg. Lives and works in Berlin.

On view this spring: 

Desert Now” at Steve Turner, Los Angeles.

Installation view of “Felix Kiessling: Ausdehnung” at alexander levy, Berlin. Photo courtesy of the artist and alexander levy.

Though he works with photography, installation, and sculpture, Kiessling says his actual art is the experience the visitor feels when moving through one of his immersive pieces (it should come as no surprise that the artist studied under Olafur Eliasson at Berlin’s University of the Arts). Recently tapped for inclusion in the 5th Moscow Biennale for Young Art, Kiessling has a collaborative bent as well, having worked with fellow Berlin up-and-comers Julius von Bismarck and Julian Charrière on an American desert-inspired exhibition (featuring a tumbleweed-covered treadmill, postcard racks, and a sculpture crowned with an LSD blotter—among other things) currently on view at Steve Turner. 

Madeline Hollander

B. 1986 in Los Angeles. Lives and work in New York, NY.

On view this spring:

“Lucky Draw” at SculptureCenter, New York; “Recall” at Movement Research at Judson Church, New York; “Heimlich,” at ​SkowheganPERFORMS, Socrates Sculpture Park, New York

Madeline Hollander, Immediate Release, May-June, 2014, at Tina Kim Gallery, New York. Photo courtesy of the artist.

The sharp and sinuous movements that make up Hollander’s arresting performances are inspired by airport pat-downs, touchscreen swipes, and the temperature (65 degrees Fahrenheit) at which most art institutions display their works, among other gestures that define how we interact with the contemporary world. In the past year, her performances—usually comprised of between three and eight dancers—have activated the SculptureCenter, Luxembourg & Dayan Gallery, and UNTITLED Art Fair. Look out for what she’s cooking up during her current fellowship at Socrates Sculpture Park, the fruits of which will be on display at the Long Island City space later this year.  

Petra Collins

B. 1992 in Toronto, Canada. Lives and works in New York.

On view this spring:

“24 Hour Psycho” at Ever Gold Gallery, San Francisco 

Petra Collins, Untitled (24 Hour Psycho), 2016. Image courtesy of the artist and Ever Gold [Projects].

At 23 years old, rising star Collins has amassed a tremendous and loyal following (she’s been taking photographs since age 15) for her dreamy, pastel-hued explorations of female identity. An artist as well as a curator, actor, filmmaker, and model, the ubiquitous Collins is fostering a generation of self-empowered young women, evidenced by her 2015 book, Babe, the fruit of the girls-only art collective The Ardorous, which she founded during high school. Though best known for her editorial work (think Vogue, Interview, i-D) this month Collins fills Ever Gold Gallery with large-scale portraits of women crying—all shot collaboratively between the artist and her vulnerable-yet-brazen, brilliantly lit subjects. Last week, Collins debuted a music video for Carly Rae Jepsen on ROOKIE magazine (where she was one of the earliest contributors).

New Noveta

Keira Fox, b. 1984 in Gloucestershire, U.K. and Ellen Freed, b. 1988 in Nora, Sweden. Both live and work in London.

On view this spring:

“Zene Zelmje” at Sandy Brown, Berlin

Portrait of Keira Fox and Ellen Freed of New Noveta in London by Kate Berry for Artsy. 

On a sunny day last September at Porto, Portugal’s Serralves Foundation, New Noveta—the collaborative performance project of artists Keira Fox and Ellen Freed—took over an expansive gallery space with one of their tumultuous, anxiety-fueled performances. Wrapped in jackets and flowy pants, wearing chunky heels and looks of terror, Fox and Freed entered frantically, running across the room, bursting water balloons, and systematically building an installation of large bamboo poles suspended from ropes. A crowd grew gradually, watching as a scene of struggle, or perhaps survival, unfolded. The artists built up the environment (and later cut it down); ripped each other’s clothes off, stripping down to leotards; and intermittently latched onto one another, crying out wildly—all while a percussive soundtrack, including the artist’s own voices and crashing waves, resonated across the space.

The artists regard the performance (part of Serralves’s 2015 “The Museum as Performance” program), as a milestone in their collaborative career, a moment where they took their practice to a new level. An engrossing concert of performance, sound art, lighting, installation, bespoke costumes, and choreography, the piece is emblematic of what New Noveta has become known for. “It’s similar to a theater production, but we’re not strictly theater or dance and not strictly performance art,” Freed tells me during a Skype call with the duo. “Everything is important, from the lights to the sound to how we enter the room.”

Read the full profile by Casey Lesser.

Alex Chaves

B. 1989 in Summit, New Jersey. Lives and works in Los Angeles

On view this spring:

“The Rose Period” at Martos Gallery, New York

Alex Chaves, Willa and Grace, 2016; Right: Alex Chaves, Painter, 2016. Images courtesy of Martos Gallery.

Los Angeles-based painter and poet Chaves drew crowds last fall with his solo exhibition at Night Gallery (during which he launched his first book of poetry, Abigail Adams). This spring, his New York solo debut at Martos Gallery may well have crowned him the New York art world’s next darling of figurative painting; momentum sparked when the gallery unveiled two of his paintings at Independent New York. A sinewy nude after Cézanne’s The Bather (c. 1885) and two languid, pastel lovers nestled on a patchwork quilt are highlights of the current exhibition, which made for an ideal setting for Chaves’s March poetry reading with writer and activist Grace Dunham. 

Florian Germann

B. 1978 in Thurgau, Switzerland. Lives and works in Zürich.

On view this spring:

Showing with Galerie Gregor Staiger at LISTE in Basel; 2016 solo exhibition at MAVRA, Berlin

Installation view of “Florian Germann: Heavy Rain” at Galerie Gregor Staiger, Zurich, 2015. Photo © ggsps, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Gregor Staiger. 

Originally trained as a stone sculptor and cabinetmaker, this low-flying Swiss artist should be on everyone’s radar—and likely will be after solo showings at LISTE in Basel and Mavra in Berlin later this year. Germann began gaining traction in 2015 during well-received presentations at Paris Internationale and Galerie Gregor Staiger. For the latter show, “Heavy Rain,” he presented a video along with sculptures that explore geology and shifting form—among them, wall-hung sculptures, akin to carved reliefs, recalled the puddle shape of melted ice cubes. 

Li Ming

B. 1986 in Yuanjiang, China. Lives and works in Beijing and Hangzhou, China.

On view this spring:

Showing with Antenna Space at Frieze New York and LISTE; 2016 Busan Biennale 

Li Ming, MEIWE, 2015. Image courtesy of Antenna Space. 

A founder and member of young Chinese art collective Double Fly Art Center, in his own practice Li explores his native China and issues such as ever-present surveillance, increasingly relevant amid the country’s rampant development. In a recent work, he captured iPhone swipes with magnetic fingerprinting ink often used by police; he then printed the resulting gestures onto kites. On the heels of his first institutional solo exhibition at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, where he debuted a site-specific video installation MEIWE (2015), the artist will bring the project to a solo booth at LISTE. Based on a text by critic Guo Juan, the work combines video and lightbox to explore how individuals exist within collective society and features, among other things, a glowing, humming, multi-color adaptation of Muhammad Ali’s “me, we” poem.

Peles Empire

Katharina Stöver, b. 1982 in Gießen, Germany and Barbara Wolff, b. 1980 in Fogaras, Romania. Both live and work in Berlin.

On view this spring:

“1 Eye 2 Eyes” at Wentrup, Berlin 

Installation view of “Peles Empire: DUO” at Wentrup, Berlin. Photo courtesy of Wentrup.

Artists Stöver and Wolff began to collaborate under the moniker Peles Empire in 2005, inspired by the grand halls of the 20th-century Romanian Peles Castle, which comingles replica decor from Renaissance to Art Deco. Steadily working since to recreate and repurpose the interiors of the castle—through wallpapered rooms, panels that collage photocopies and concrete, and jesmonite geode-like sculptures—the pair will open their latest installation this spring at Wentrup during Gallery Weekend Berlin.

Mohau Modisakeng

B. 1986 in Soweto, South Africa. Lives and works in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

On view this spring:

62nd International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany; Winter Sculpture Fair at Nirox Sculpture Park, Johannesburg, South Africa; Standard Bank Young Artist Award Exhibition at National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa; solo exhibition at Tyburn Gallery, London

Untitled (Metamorphosis 11), 2015

An imaginative sculptor known for his skillful handling of material and metaphor, Modisakeng first turned heads with his BFA exhibition of wood-carved bullhorns, snuff boxes, and a large Claes Oldenburg-like slip-joint knife at Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Art in 2009. This year’s Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner—a prestigious early-career prize previously won by William Kentridge and Pieter Hugo—Modisakeng has parallel interests in photography and video. In 2010, while working on his MFA under sculptor Jane Alexander, he began a series of photographic self-portraits that suggest the influence of Robin Rhode and expand upon the central themes of his work: violence, labor, security, and ritual.

Mario Pfeifer

B. 1981 in Dresden, Germany. Lives and works in Berlin and New York.

On view this spring:

Showing with KOW at Art Cologne; International Short Film Festival Oberhausen

Portrait of Mario Pfeifer on location in São Paulo by Beto Riginik for Artsy.

New York-based hip hop trio the Flatbush ZOMBiES’ music video for “Blacktivist” has 2.5 million YouTube views. In it, a likeness of President Obama kneels in front of the ZOMBiES (who stand in front of a mash-up between the Confederate flag and that of ISIS) with a bag over his head, prepped for decapitation; Defense Distributed-designed guns are plucked out of 3D printers by potentially felonious hands; Robert Downey Jr. dons blackface in Tropic Thunder; and Eric Garner meets his death at the hands of the NYPD. “Blacktivist” is likely the most widely viewed piece of video art in history. That’s because while the music and lyrics are by the Flatbush ZOMBiES, the video is the work of German multidisciplinary artist Mario Pfeifer.

The 34-year-old Pfeifer lives between New York and Berlin, when he’s not on various research trips and residencies that form the source material for the majority of his recent work. He collaborated with the ZOMBiES—Erick Arc Elliott, Meechy Darko, and Zombie Juice—over a period of six months on #blacktivist (2015), the title of the two-channel version of the video he created with producer Drew Arnold, in an edition of 10. The piece premiered last September at the Goethe-Institut’s New York space, Ludlow 38—and on YouTube. It has since cropped up at The Armory Show, is on view at this week’s Art Cologne, and will be show at Berlin’s ACUD this summer. It furthers his practice, which melds ethnographic research, a documentary aesthetic, internet mash-ups, and critical editing for pieces that serve up powerful truths about society without commenting directly on any of their subject matter.

Read the full profile by Alexander Forbes.

Juntae TeeJay Hwang

B. 1991 in Seoul, South Korea. Lives and works in New York.

On view this spring:

“Fault-lines: Disparate and desperate intimacies” at Earl Lu Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore

Installation view of Juntae TeeJay Hwang, Lick Your Cohorts. Image courtesy of the artist. 

At 12 years old, Juntae emigrated, alone, from Korea to the United States to attend school. It was a deeply affecting experience for the artist, whose K-pop and propaganda-influenced videos, performances, and installations explore the intersections and cultural collisions between East and West. Since receiving a diploma from London’s Slade School of Fine Art last year, Juntae has steadily picked up momentum—he showed at Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2015 in Nottingham and ICA London and was featured in this year’s edition of the XL Catlin Art Guide, an annual shortlist of the most promising new art school graduates in the U.K. Now an MFA candidate at Columbia University, Juntae will soon be required to fulfill two years of mandatory military service in his home country of South Korea—a fact that has informed recent works such as Angry Hotel (2015).

Rachel Rossin

B. 1987 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Lives and works in New York.

On view this spring:

“Space Between the Skies” at apexart; “Ex Nihilo, Nihil Fit.” at White Circle; solo presentation with Signal Gallery at NADA New York

Rachel Rossin, RSNBL-PRSN, Still from VR Installation, 2016. Image courtesy of the artist and SIGNAL.

A self-taught programming wunderkind and early adopter of today’s virtual reality technology, Florida-born Rossin pairs her technical practice with painting—tethering her process to physical reality. In her highly praised fall exhibition at Zieher Smith & Horton, oil paintings mirrored the surreal landscapes seen inside accompanying Oculus Rift headsets (and vice versa); and at NADA New York, her solo booth with Signal Gallery will offer up a new virtual reality installation alongside paintings inspired by screen grabs from inside the VR work—think first-person shooter characters sporting textures plucked from the artist’s childhood plants. 

Dena Yago

B. 1988 in New York. Lives and Works in Los Angeles.

On view this spring:

“Made in L.A.” at Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; solo exhibition at High Art

Left: Dena Yago, Untitled, 2014; Right: Dena Yago, About The Eternities Between The Many and The Few, 2014. Image courtesy of High Art.

Since simultaneously launching a book of poetry and an exhibition at Tomorrow Gallery in 2011, Yago has been exploring the ways that words and images inflect each other—the latest results of which will be shown at Parisian gallery High Art and in the Hammer Biennial in the coming months. The Columbia grad is also an accomplished writer and a producer of trend-forecasting collective K-HOLE. Her witty, often incisive works delve into human relationships and self-identity, ranging from sculptures pierced with chains and trinkets to works resembling book covers. 

Willa Nasatir

B. 1990 in Los Angeles. Lives and works in New York.

On view this spring:

“Willa Nasatir” at CHAPTER NY, New York 

Installation view of Willa Nasatir at Chapter NY, 2016. Photo courtesy of Chapter NY. 

The New York-based artist’s enigmatic images set groupings of noir-inspired objects (folding fans and fingerprints, disembodied gloves and burning candles) in shadowy rooms. In an age when internet profiles take the place of real-life personas and emoji stand in for emotions, Nasatir’s props feel like proxies for deep, dark human desires and obsessions. Last year, the eerie photographs had their first big outing in a solo at White Columns and have since popped up, piquing curatorial and commercial curiosity, at NADA Miami Beach and CHAPTER NY.

Adam Linder

B. 1983 in Sydney, Australia. Lives and works in Berlin.

On view this spring:

“Service No. 4” at Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin; “Some Cleaning” at Kunstverein Hannover; “Made in L.A.” at Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

Adam Linder, Choreographic Service No 3. Some Riding, 2015. Photo by Mark Blower, courtesy of the choreographer and SILBERKUPPE, Berlin. 

Following his March homecoming at the 20th Biennale of Sydney, Berlin-based choreographer Linder will continue his “Choreographic Services” series—begun in 2013, in which he offers choreographic performance as a service for hire—in commissions from Berlin to Los Angeles. Whether he’s mimicking the act of sweeping the floor in agile grace or responding to verbal statements of cultural criticism in gliding movement, Linder’s paid-by-the-hour choreography goes beyond music and ultimately engages choreography and language as a critical reflection of the relationship between economic labor and social conditions. 

Jesse Mockrin

B. 1981 in Silver Spring, MD. Lives and works in Los Angeles.

On view this spring:

“The Progress of Love” at Night Gallery, Los Angeles

Portrait of Jesse Mockrin in her L.A. studio by Emily Berl for Artsy.

An arm reaches through lush greenery with a raised pinkie finger, gravitating towards a figure caught mid-air, wrapped in a flowing pink gown; one stocking-clad leg points to the sky, just a moment after launching a tiny shoe into the air, pictured nearby. The scene is familiar and enticing, but very different than the original, like a cover of a classic love song performed well by a modern-day pop singer.

Fragonard is the most-often referenced painter,” says Jesse Mockrin of her work, as she gestures to this painting, which directly quotes from the Rococo master’s canonical 1767 canvas, The Swing. She is standing on the cement floor of Night Gallery in South Downtown L.A., surrounded by “The Progress of Love,” her new show of paintings. “But there are some other painters [referenced] too,” she goes on, “like Boucher, and lesser-known painters like Deshays and Perronneau, who liked pastels.” And while Mockrin’s works share some of the same formal qualities as an 18th-century Rococo composition—though they’re a bit too askew to actually be mistaken for one—the works in question are decidedly 21st-century.

Read the full profile by Maxwell Williams.

Abigail Reynolds

B. 1975 in Stamford, United Kingdom. Lives and works in London and St Just, Cornwall, United Kingdom.

On view this spring:

“Precarious Balance” at the Centre of Contemporary Art, Christchurch; “After Photography” at Galerie Alain Gutharc, Paris; “What Bird has done yesterday…” at Galerie Raum mit Licht, Vienna

Untitled (Breuer), 2015
Rokeby Gallery
Admiralty Arch 1977 | 1950, 2012
Rokeby Gallery

It comes as little surprise that Reynolds, who makes intricate collages and assemblages that use printed matter as a medium, studied English literature at Oxford before moving on to visual art. Her practice often takes her to book stores or flea markets, where she combs through magazines, atlases, travel guides, and newspapers for source material that can create a dialogue between the past and present. The art world is taking notice—recently selected as a finalist for the third BMW Art Journey prize, Reynolds has also been awarded funding by Arts Council England for her upcoming film, The Mother’s Bones, which is based on the post-industrial landscape of a Cornish quarry. 

Valentina Liernur

B. 1978 in Buenos Aires. Lives and works in São Paulo and Buenos Aires.

On view this spring:

Solo show at Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York

Installation view of “Valentina Liernur: CORRUZIONE” at Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York, 2014. Photo courtesy of the artist and Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York. 

Liernur has been incorporating denim into her practice since 2011, when a designer friend handed her leftover fabric swatches. Now she uses the material as a canvas—distressed, stitched, bleached, even pockmarked with holes large enough to allow a glimpse of the wooden frame beneath. The first of these works appeared in a solo show with Campoli Presti in 2014, titled “ahh...ah…” in reference to a 1980s Argentine commercial in which a model sighs sensually as she pulls on a pair of tight blue jeans. More recently, the gallery showed Liernur at this year’s miart in Milan; the Argentinian artist will also unveil new figurative paintings in a solo exhibition at Reena Spaulings later this spring.

Henrik Eiben

B. 1975 in Tokyo. Lives and works in Hamburg, Germany.

On view this spring:

Solo presentation with Galerie Christian Lethert at New Positions, Art Cologne; “Running on Sunshine” at Galerie Christian Lethert

Dropit (Changing Places), 2016
Galerie Christian Lethert

Fresh off a January appearance at Art Los Angeles Contemporary—where his colorful, geometric works at Galerie Christian Lethert inspired selfies—Eiben will be featured at Art Cologne’s New Positions sector this month as one of the 14 young, emerging artists specially selected by the fair for solo presentations. Incorporating a wide swath of contrasting materials, from knitted wool to fluorescent plexiglass, his practice draws heavily from the history of minimal art. Eiben’s works, whether pastel watercolors or aluminum wall sculptures, evoke freshness and light—perhaps one reason his upcoming solo show at Christian Lethert is entitled “Running on Sunshine.”

Aida Muluneh

B. 1974 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Lives and works in Addis Ababa.

On view this spring:

The World is 9” at David Krut Projects, New York; showing with David Krut Projects at 1:54 New York

City Life, 2016
David Krut Projects
Sai Mado / The distant gaze, 2016
David Krut Projects

Muluneh got her start as a photojournalist for the Washington Post, but has since cultivated her own brand of highly stylized portraiture. Her photographs feature figures dressed in primary colors, their skin often painted with the same bright shades in a nod to traditional African body art. Although Muluneh is widely traveled—she grew up between Yemen, England, and Cyprus and settled briefly in Canada and the U.S. before returning to Addis Abada nine years ago—her work is deeply rooted in her native Ethiopia. Her latest solo show aims “to make Africa digestible in a different way,” eschewing the tropes of safari animals, famine, and war to instead explore the photographer’s experiences of repatriation.

Nick Bastis

B. 1985 in New York. Lives and works in Brussels and Vilnius, Lithuania.

On view this spring:

Showing with Regards at Frieze New York; “Nick Bastis & Nick Raffel” at JOAN Los Angeles

Nick Bastis, When You Don’t Find What You’re Looking For, Sleep, 2014-ongoing. Image courtesy of the artist and Regards, Chicago.

Following his 2013 MFA graduation from the University of Chicago, Bastis has mounted solo exhibitions everywhere from the windy city to Brussels. His practice has incorporated drawing, video, sculpture—even hibernating snails, which will be scattered through his presentation of graphics and sculptures in the Frame section of Frieze New York. Bastis is broadly interested in processes of transactions and exchange, which is evidenced through the objects heading to Frieze—from transparent glass backpacks to refrigerator boxes.


Founded in 2013. Nanu Al-Hamad (b. 1987, Kuwait City; lives in New York), Khalid Al Gharaballi (b. 1981, Kuwait City; lives in Kuwait City), Abdullah Al-Mutairi (b. 1990, Kuwait City; lives in Kuwait City), Fatima Al Qadiri (b. 1981, Dakar; lives in Berlin), Monira Al Qadiri (b. 1983, Dakar; lives in Amsterdam), Aziz Al Qatami (b. 1979, Kuwait City; lives in Kuwait City), Barrak Alzaid (b. 1985, Kuwait City; lives in Kuwait City), Amal Khalaf (b. 1982, Singapore; lives in London).

On view this spring:

“L’air du temps” at Project Native Informant, London; Berlin Biennale

Courtesy of GCC and Project Native Informant.

Hardly a more poignant place could have been picked than the 2013 Art Dubai VIP lounge for the eight-person collective known as GCC to get their official start. Comprised of nine “delegates,” GCC tackles the sticky public image generated by the oil wealth of their native Arab Gulf region, and that wealth’s proliferation. The view they present is both more nuanced and more ridiculous than the reality captured in the Western news cycle.

The early rumblings of GCC began in the few years prior to their establishment in 2013. However, the group cites collaborating on a state-sponsored project proposal, right before the fair, as the moment when they realized that their combined voices and varied talents and perspectives provided greater weight than a critique levied by any one of them alone. “Our collective proposal addressed the beige zone where culture meets the state’s image management goals,” says GCC (they always answer en-masse) especially highlighting the role international art biennials can play in national branding initiatives. Needless to say, GCC’s proposal didn’t quite fit the bill of what the state had in mind. “It was politely rejected,” says the collective. Undeterred, GCC redoubled their efforts and launched a series of projects that have spanned from New York’s MoMA PS1 to Kuwait’s Sultan Gallery, the Sharjah Art Foundation to Kassel’s Fridericianum. This spring they’ll present a new video work, L’air du temps (2015), at London’s Project Native Informant and undisclosed work at the DIS-curated Berlin Biennale.

Read the full profile by Alexander Forbes.

Hit Man Gurung

B. 1986 in Lamjung, Nepal. Lives and works in Kathmandu, Nepal.

On view this spring:

Afterwork” at Para Site, Hong Kong.

Hit Man Gurung, Yellow helmet and gray house (from ‘I Have to Feed Myself, My Family and My Country’ series) (detail), 2015. Image courtesy of apt8. 

In figurative paintings, collages, and installations, Gurung focuses on the harsh realities of migrant workers of his native Nepal, who are risking their lives in search of work to support their families. His projects tap into real personal narratives (past works incorporate ID cards and visa applications), which he gathers through visiting with families who have lost loved ones. Featured in the latest (just-closed) Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Brisbane, the young artist’s work is also currently included in a group exhibition at Hong Kong’s experimental contemporary art center Para Site.

Jimena Mendoza

B. 1979 in Mexico City. Lives and works in Prague.

On view this spring:
“Konstelovat” at kurimanzutto, Mexico City

Installation view of work by Jimena Mendoza. Photo by Diego Pérez, courtesy of the artist and kurimanzutto, Mexico City.

Though her earlier work draws heavily upon Mexican craftwork and indigenous imagery, Mendoza’s solo show at kurimanzutto reflects a widening pool of source material. Currently enrolled at the Academy of Art, Architecture, and Design in Prague, and a fellow of the Czech Republic’s culture ministry, Mendoza has incorporated sources as disparate as Eastern European futurism and pre-Hispanic period relics into her small ceramic sculptures. It’s a pseudo-historical iconography that benefits from the artist’s skill for the applied arts, offering a fitting testament to Mendoza’s belief that the past “has the possibility to question the present.”

Hao Jingban

B. 1985 in Shanxi, China. Lives and works in Beijing.

On view this spring:

“New Directions: Hao Jingban,” Ullens Center for Contemporary Arts (UCCA), Beijing  

Installation view of Hao Jingban, I Can’t Dance. Photo courtesy of Antenna Space. 

A graduate of Goldsmith’s and University College in London with degrees in Media and Film Studies, Chinese artist Hao has been drawing the attention of curators from Beijing (where she lives) to New York with her evocative, pseudo-documentary films that mine her country’s social history. Her “Beijing Ballroom” cycle of films goes on view at Beijing’s prestigious Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in June this year, offering viewers a window into China’s culture of ballroom dancing pre- and post-Cultural Revolution. 

Gaia Fugazza

B. 1985 in Milan. Lives and works in London.

On view this spring:

“Present and Distracted” at Zabludowicz Collection, London; The Salon de Montrouge, Montrouge

Installation view of “Zabludowicz Collection Invites: Gaia Fugazza,” 2016. Photo by Tim Bowditch, courtesy of the Zabludowicz Collection. 

Young Milanese artist Fugazza is the latest to take on London’s Zabludowicz Collection, where her abstract and figurative works inspired by daily observations—in motherhood, artmaking, or on her mobile device—consider how circumstances shape our destiny. In delicate drawings carved onto wood or paintings on glass with raw, hand-mixed pigments, Fugazza fuses stimuli from smartphones and laptops with narratives of everyday life that are at once deeply personal to the artist and universally understood.

Emanuel Rossetti

B. 1987 in Basel. Lives and works in Basel and Zürich.

On view this spring:

“The Promise of Total Automation” at Kunsthalle Wien; showing with Karma International at Art Basel

Installation view of Emanuel Rossetti, Vomitory, 2014, at Kunsthalle Bern. Image courtesy of Karma International.

Rossetti is never constrained to a canvas but rather takes over walls, floors, ceilings—even filling the air with sound. In an exhibition at Kunsthalle Bern, the artist transformed several gallery rooms with lush red carpeting and a myriad of objects (a solitary desk, a sprinkling of bells on the floor, a humming speaker). In addition to a group show at Kunsthalle Wien, look for his work at Karma International’s booth at Art Basel.

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