Cosmoscow the only Russian contemporary art fair, reports good sales for 2016 and agrowth in Russian collectors investing in contemporary art

Moscow, 12 September - The 2016 edition of Cosmoscow, Russia’s only international contemporary art fair, which is supported by strategic partner Credit Suisse, jewelry partner Carrera y Carrera and official partner Beluga, took place between 9 and 11 September. Good sales were reported across Russian and international exhibitors, despite the ongoing economic challenges in the region. Cosmoscow continues to help develop the contemporary art market in Russian and the CIS by supporting emerging artists and encouraging the inclusion of works at a lower price point, which this year ranged from 1000 – 250,000 Euros, to attract young collectors. This year nearly 16,000 visitors attended the Fair, an increase of 14% to the previous year. The VIP preview attracted over 2,000 visitors, including curators, museum directors and collectors such as Boris Belotserkovsky, Dirk Boll, Francesco Bonami, Theresa Mavica, Andreas Rumbler, Zurab and Vasily Tsereteli, Igor Tsukanov and many others.

“We've had really positive feedback from galleries, collectors and the general public about this year’s Fair. Most have noticed that the fair is developing and gaining ground. We are so pleased to see that Cosmoscow and it’s Parallel Programme has generated so much interest in the region, it's a great sign for the art market and for the whole art community. Out circle of supporters is growing year on year, and I am sure that together we will help to position the Russian contemporary art scene on the global stage” says Margarita Pushkina, Founding Director, Cosmoscow.

Cosmoscow hosted 38 galleries in total from the USA, UK, Continental Europe, Russia and CIS, – 10 of them participated for the first time. The galleries presented over 100 artists from around the globe. International galleries included Galeria Javier Lopez & Fer Frances, (Madrid), Frameless Gallery, (London), NK Gallery (Antwerp), One Gallery (Sofia, New York), White Space Gallery (London). Russian galleries such as XL Gallery, Regina, pop/off/art, Marina Gisich Gallery, Frolov Gallery, RuArts Gallery presented some of the most exciting artists from the region. The Discovery section featured galleries less than five years old, and those representing emerging artists, such as UVG Art Gallery (Yekaterinburg, Budapest), MSK Eastside Gallery (Moscow), NAMEGALLERY (Saint Petersburg), Temnikova & Kasela (Tallinn), and HLAM Gallery (Voronezh).

Pop/off/art Gallery, which is one of the largest galleries based in the influential Winzavod Contemporary Art Centre in Moscow, reported strong sales. The gallery sold all of available works by Russian painter Vladimir Shinkarev. Sergey Popov, gallery director, says: “We are pleased with the sales at Cosmoscow 2016. We have noticed a growth in Russian collectors but were also delighted to sell a number of works to a private Belgian collection. We are looking forward to future Cosmoscow Fairs, to the Russian collector base growing, and to seeing an increase in international visitors”.

Exhibitors reflected on their experience of the fair:

Olga Temnikova, co-owner of Tallinn-based Temnikova & Kasela gallery: "Cosmoscow is our favorite fair and this is our third year exhibiting here. Collectors showed a strong interest towards the works we've displayed despite the fact that the artists are from abroad, and some of them haven’t exhibited in Russia before. For us, the fair was a success; we made a lot of new contacts and sold very well., who partnered with the Fair, also contributed new contacts. In short, Cosmoscow is a dynamic fair with huge potential of expansion in a relatively new market for contemporary art."

Vladimir Frolov, founding director of Frolov Gallery: "I am pleased with the results of the fair; even given my natural optimism, I did not expect such an excitement on behalf of collectors to a series of works by Vladimir Fridkes 'Svetlana Zakharova. Still Frame'. I am also pleased to mention that one of the works of this series became the highlight of the Off white auction, having been sold for € 31,000. To me it was important that serious collectors were interested in the works of Abraham Lacalle, one of the best contemporary Spanish artists, who is also represented by the Marlboro gallery London."

Marina Vinogradova, Anna Nova Gallery art director: "We are very pleased with Cosmoscow 2016. Our booth was almost completely sold out on the very first day of the fair.” Gallery presented two artists on their booth – Ukrainian born and Dusseldorf based artist Aljoscha and Saint-Petersburg artist Alexander Dashevskiy.

Maria Burasovskaya, Director, Glaz Gallery, said: “Sales were definitely better this year, as was the overall experience of the Fair. The works were bought mostly by Russian collectors, even though we did sell work to people from France, Turkey and Italy”.

Mariana Gogova, Artwin Gallery: “International collectors are very attracted to artists from the post-Soviet countries, which is why works by Bakhyt Bubikanova drew so much attention at our booth. We sold her work to a new collector that we met through the Fair. Tim Radya became the star at the booth – almost all of his works were sold out and there was a fantastic reaction to his images on social media. There was a queue to view Said Atabekov’s Customs Station and Olga Kroytor’s Burnt Room, which were part of Cosmoscow non-commercial programme.”

Elena Krylova, Shaltai-Boltai development director, Shaltai Editions: "We are very pleased with our first participation in Cosmoscow as a gallery. We are delighted to see that our model of creating artist editions, and affordable artworks, are of interest to so many people. It’s a new idea to the Russian art market and we’re hoping to continue to develop this level of collecting.”

Marina Alvitr, UVG Art Gallery director: "Cosmoscow 2016 was even better than 2015. A lot of interesting events took place almost every day. That is why there was such a diverse audience. We are very pleased to be part of the forth edition of the Fair.”

Non-commercial programme

Credit Suisse, Strategic Partner to Cosmoscow, has a long history of sponsoring the arts, and this year launched the new Credit Suisse Cosmoscow Prize for Young Artists. Anastasia Bogomolova from Chelyabinsk, Ilya Dolgov from Kronshtadt, and Anastasia Kuzmina from Moscow were selected by an international art expert committee as the winners of the award which is designed to support emerging Russian artists. Each of them will receive a grant of CHF 3,000 (Swiss Francs). Originally, a Collector’s vote during the preview of the fair was supposed to determine which artist would get an additional prize of mentoring support from art experts at Credit Suisse and Cosmoscow and an art trip to Switzerland to visit leading Swiss art institutions and to meet with art experts. However, the Collectors' Choice winner Ilya Dolgov asked if he could share the award with others. The bank's management made the decision to expand the prize and offer all three artists the opportunity to participate in the educational trip and other mentoring activities.  

In addition to the gallery booths, the Fair included a selection of special projects by young Russian artists on display for the first time at the Fair – among them is the booth of Sveta Shuvaeva (Cosmoscow Artist of the Year), Andrey Kuzkin installation, Evgeny Antufiev booth in the frames of the Cosmoscow 2015 Patron Programme, and entrance installation by Anastasia Potemkina.

The Off white auction, supported by Christie’s, took place on Friday 9 September, in benefit of the Naked Heart Foundation. The auction consisted of 15 works by contemporary artists and photographers and the sale reached 154,500 Euros, with the top lot by Vladimir Fridkes 'Svetlana Zakharova. Still Frame' reaching over 30,000 euros.

The Cosmoscow Talks series was well attended over the weekend and was programmed to give a thorough introduction to today’s contemporary art market. The programme included international curator Francesco Bonami who gave a lecture explaining the relevance and value of contemporary art.

Cosmoscow’s Parallel Programme included exclusive previews of landmark exhibitions, including the Stephan Balkenhol mini-restrospective at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, the Russian Space exhibition at the Multimedia Art Museum, Valery Koshlyakov’s exhibition in the Russian Impressionism Museum, tours to Ekaterina Foundaion, In Artibus Foundation, Winzavod Contemporary Art Center and the construction side of the future VAC space to open in 2019.

The response from Moscow-based arts professionals, partner museums and collectors, both attending and participating on-site at the Fair, coupled with the quality of Cosmoscow’s Parallel Programme at Moscow’s major art institutions, illustrates a burgeoning contemporary art scene that goes fom strength to strength.