In an art market where young, emerging artists can become highly sought-after fixtures in relatively short periods of time, art fair platforms dedicated to emerging art have become the ones to watch. The Emergent section at miart is no exception. With miart now in its second iteration, curator Andrew Bonacina explains, “it’s important that these kinds of presentations might challenge what we expect from an art fair.” He intends to do just that, through a selection of 20 galleries, all of which were established within the last five years, and including many that have never exhibited at an international fair before.
Keeping Milan’s “rich ecology” of art institutions, spaces, and organizations in mind, Bonacina sees miart as a “particularly interesting fair for the way in which it creates a portrait of the city and its art scene.” Contributing an impressive track record of working with artists in his curatorial process, Bonacina told Artsy, “many of the galleries that I’ve selected for the Emergent section, I came to know about through artists, and for me that’s always a persuasive factor in my decision making.” Additionally, he sought out several galleries that “operate in the spirit of artist-run spaces,” noting that “it’s great to observe that kind of energy within an art fair, especially in the face of the pressures of the marketplace.” Taking our cues from the curator, we take a look at a few Emergent section highlights.
Luce Gallery: Established in the fall of 2009, by independent curator Nikola Cernatic, Luce Gallery in Turin shows an intimate lineup of international artists, including big names like Scott Reeder, and was among the first galleries to give Sam Falls a solo presentation. At miart, among shimmering aluminum and tar collages by Hugo McCloud, sardonic works by Swiss wunderkind Alfredo Aceto—a 22-year-old who claims to be a part of Sophie Calle’s oeuvre due to the tattoo of her signature on his wrist—Luce highlights a new addition, Brooklyn-based artist Graham Collins. Named among painters to watch in 2014, Collins creates composites of glass scrims, spray enamel and reclaimed wood, conceptual reinterpretations of paintings.
Thomas Brambilla Gallery: Founded in 2010 in Bergamo, Thomas Brambilla Gallery represents an intimate, promising selection of six American and European artists. Alongside the sculptural work of Milanese artist Oscar Gianconia, Erik Saglia—the 24-year-old Turin-born artist whose first solo exhibition at the gallery is currently on view—is the focus of Brambilla’s miart booth. His painstaking orthogonal tape grids, glazed with spray paint and resin, are ruminations on the “modernist grid” that incite dialogues with the Spatialist and Arte Povera traditions of Italian forbears including Lucio Fontana and Alighiero e Boetti.
Southard Reid: Located on a mews in London’s Soho neighborhood, Southard Reid also opened in 2010, led by Phillida Reid and David Southard. The directors follow, in their words “a classical model,” which emphasizes that “the job of a gallery is to represent artists and to develop their careers. Lots of things change in the art world, but that model is not particularly changing.” At miart, the gallery offers a solo presentation of London-based artist Neal Jones, whose paintings on wood consider relationships between natural and artificial worlds.
Kendall Koppe: Located in Glasgow’s city center, Kendall Koppe was established in 2011 and currently represents eight artists from Europe and North America. Among them is Corin Sworn, who is currently in the spotlight for her inclusion in the Biennale of Sydney and for winning the prestigious Max Mara Art Prize for Women. Scottish artist Niall Macdonald takes the spotlight in their miart booth with his bright white sculptures—plaster casts of everyday objects that are combined in unexpected pairings to form clever assemblages.
Freedman Fitzpatrick: Following their opening just last spring, Berlin expats Alex Freedman and Robbie Fitzpatrick proved that even a converted medical clinic in a Hollywood Boulevard strip mall can become a hot L.A. art space. Hitting the ground running with first exhibition “Hi From California,” by December they were already showing at NADA Miami Beach, featuring photomontages by Lucie Stahl and found object totems by Mathis Altmann. Their miart booth combines a new sound installation by Hannah Weinberger and the ceramic works that form Matthew Lutz-Kinoy and Natsuko Uchino’s Keramikos project, a nomadic collection that celebrates local food.
Mathew: In 1999, David Lieske and Peter Kersten co-founded the music label Dial Records; in December 2011 they opened Mathew, a Berlin outpost through which to fulfill their pursuits as electronic music producers and gallerists. Gathering their stable of artists through personal connections, Lieske and Kersten have put together an impressive roster including Ken Okiishi, and an experimental, intriguing program that delves into theoretical frameworks and innovative exhibition design. At miart, the gallery shows works by Megan Francis Sullivan, a Connecticut-born, Berlin-based artist whose work explores processes and concepts of mimesis.