The Hamburg Art Incident

 CCA&A Gallery | Hamburg | London | Sergei Sviatchenko | LESS | 2006 | Fotocollage, übermalt | 129,0 x 97,5 cm

CCA&A Gallery | Hamburg | London | Sergei Sviatchenko | LESS | 2006 | Fotocollage, übermalt | 129,0 x 97,5 cm

„Has Art to be beautifull, or aesthetic?“ – rather odd question in the field of contemporary art, isn´t it? Aesthetic is not only a broad field, but ever since the beginning of modernism and Charles Baudelaires attempt to beautify in language the ugly realms of mid 19th century Paris in his accomplished „Le Fleur du mal“, the aspect of something being „aesthetic“ or „beautifull“ has no meaning for art anymore, really.  This question was one of many asked in a talk for Bloggers who attempted (like me) a special Blogger event at the Affordable Art Fair in Hamburg yesterday.

To be fair, most of the invited Bloggers and the host of the event are coming from the „Lifestyle“ and „Fashion“ sphere, which makes the question more understandable, but left (besides me) also the two talk guests, Isabell Kamp, featured in the emerging artist section of the fair (more to that later) and photographer and publisher Martin Morbach startled. The answer was no, obviously. After rambling for some while on topics of „image“ and „lifestyle blogging“ and the problems arising due to the fact that Public relation agencys and cmpanys are buying (more or less) posts, i felt a little lost. Writing on the new jeans by that Designer and how awesome it is just is`nt my cup of tea, nor would it possibly work like that with art, may it be affordable or not, which means on the affordable art fairs, created by London based gallerist Will Ramsay between 5000 and 100 Euro. Following the questions of aesthetics, image and lifestyle, the fair in Hamburg, hosting 70 Gallerys from around the world (1\3 from Hamburg, 1\3 from the rest of Germany, 1\3 international), has – just like other fairs – the tendency for the easy going, the enjoyable and decorative or what i want to call „nice“ works, largely painting, photography and graphic.

After the talk, i had a good conversation with Isabell Kamp and we wandered to her works at the „emerging artists“ section. She is doing Drawings as well as sculpture, exhibiting both, somewhat linked together. The sculptures depict surrealistic deformed human body parts, injected with bubbles and are made of ceramic. The drawings were mostly showing heads, faceless, again with little bubbles, in the eyes, in the mouth. The line of work deals with human communication – or rather miscommunication and the human body as an alienated being, separated from the mind and open for transgression.

Isabell Kamp | In den Dingen  | 2012 | Graphit, Acryl | 30x42cm

Isabell Kamp | In den Dingen | 2012 | Graphit, Acryl | 30x42cm

Though the idea of an „emerging artist“ section is something i do like very much, having to do with young and „emerging“ artists in my worklife as a journalist and sometimes as a curator as well, some of them being close friends, the presentation was a little bit unfortunate. The „youngsters“ were given a bigger booth at the end of the fair, just outside in a little pavillon, next to them three other galleries, two very much dedicated to street art. The works were necessarily too close together and haven´t had the space to breathe, that most of them would have deserved, so to pick just one artist and to let him work on site in the booth or giving them together the whole Pavillon would have been the better decision in my view, because it would have created the feeling of a „special“ room, section or how you want to call it.

But let´s talk the art, the things you can discover – and there were some very nice pieces and artists indeed. I would like to start off with mentioning the „We are visual“ artists collective who will set up a small printing studio, having also built a hide (to hide from the people from time to time, as they told me) and who are usually much into public interventions and performances, which you can have a look at online: WAV. They are also part of the emerging artist special section but have an own booth in the main exhibition hall. Also very noteworthy the Australian Retrospect Galleries out of Byron Bay NSW, especially because of the breath taking photography „Calamity“ (2011) by Alejandro Gatta.

In respect to Editions, the french publishing house „editions bucciali“ really convinced me with their program, being minimal, nearly concrete and showing some really astonishing works, i would have liked to buy (sadly a little bit out of my budget), especially the works of Zhou HAO , with their intimate but strong use of space and geometry schooled in the ancient tradition of calliagraphy.


Editions Bucciali at Affordable Art Fair Hamburg, 2013

Editions Bucciali at Affordable Art Fair Hamburg, 2013

Last but not least – and because you always stumble on artists you know personal, working in this field, i want to mention the wonderfull swiss photographer Jean-Paul Cattin, whom i had the pleasure to work with on my mail art project „keep me posted“ last year and who exhibits some works at the AAF Hamburg with the Canadian artêria Gallery.

Abstract Letter, Jean-Paul Cattin, Photography, 2012 for the keep me posted mail art project

Abstract Letter, Jean-Paul Cattin, Photography, 2012 for the keep me posted mail art project

If you are in Hamburg and visit the fair, make sure you get the „Tips for art buying“ they give out. It is really a rather hillarious document, although it might very well help people in their process of thinking about buying an (probably their first) art work.


Affordable Art Fair Hamburg, 201314th to 17th of November,
Exhibition grounds, Hall A3, entry Lagerstraße


Über philippkoch

author and curator, specializing in literature and writing on visual arts
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