Indeed, it’s never been edgier. Part of restructuring arteBA so it can make it to the “top ten” art fairs in the world, a goal Oxenford is bent on achieving, has to do with removing clutter, reducing the number of works hanging on the walls, streamlining design all around, and taking some risks. This means making room for performance—the VIP preview had a fair share of artist antics—as well as for more politically charged works.
“This is a work for below or behind the couch,” said Henning Weidemann, from Berlin’s Campagne Première
gallery, as he pointed to a picture of a naked corpse plastered on a wall. “It’s nice to be able to bring something like this to the fair. I’m sure you’re not used to seeing things like this here.”
He was referring to a massive installation by Marco Poloni
. The dead man on the wall is Roberto Quintanilla, the Bolivian consul in Hamburg who was shot and killed in his office—the three bullet wounds forming a “V” as in victory—in 1971, still in the wake of Che Guevara’s execution in the jungles of Bolivia. The work, part of the fair’s U-TURN section curated by Jacopo Crivelli Visconti, is an obsessive investigation of this murder, with details on the gun (it was bought by the Italian publishing magnate Giangiacomo Feltrinelli), the woman who killed Quintanilla (Monika Ertl, daughter of Leni Riefenstahl’s director of photography) and all that ensued, in what Poloni identifies as an underground tangle of revolutionary endeavors.