Art Cologne: Contemporary Systems

Art Cologne is the oldest fair of its kind having started with just 18 galleries in 1967. Today around 200 commercial galleries come together each spring to present works by over 2,000 artists, covering all price segments from well-known blue-chip practitioners to the newest young and emerging artists. This year’s edition runs from 26 to 29 April and sees an abundance of new programming. For its 51st edition, Art Cologne’s International Art Market is concentrating on a re-branding of the young contemporary art section, offering a central platform for galleries less than 10 years old with the new spatial concept titled NEUMARKT. With this new format, which integrates the previous New Contemporaries and Collaborations sections, young galleries have the chance to present themselves in three different stand areas.

In its main exhibitors section, Art Cologne will host booths by new participants including the influential Gagosian, David Kordansky, Daniel Templon and White Cube galleries. Accompanying them in the contemporary section are Hauser & Wirth, David Zwirner, Sprüth Magers, Thaddaeus Ropac, Hans Mayer, OMR, Pearl Lam, Max Hetzler, Karsten Greve and Daniel Buchholz. The return of the Modern and Postwar section sees newcomers Le Minotaure (Paris), Thole Rotermund (Hamburg), Derda Berlin (Berlin) and Zlotowski (Paris), join long term exhibitors Thomas (Munich), Axel Vervoordt (Antwerp, Hong Kong), von Vertes (Zurich) as well as Ben Brown Fine Arts (Hong Kong, London).

Another first for Art Cologne is a new commission for its entrance hall. The German artist Michael Riedel‎ has been invited to create a large-scale, site-specific installation. Titled L, it takes its inspiration both from the booth architecture and hidden mechanics behind the fair. For the piece, Riedel has designed a pattern text based on a transcription of one of the ‎selection meetings of galleries to the fair, which concerned the approval or rejection of galleries applying to Art Cologne 2017. The approximately three hour-long recording resulted in a 29-page document with a total of 53,689 characters, in which the letter L appears 1,894 times. With the resulting L installation, Riedel transforms the communication derived from the art system into complex graphic patterns.

Art Cologne, 26-29 April, Koelnmesse.

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1. Michael Riedel, record, label, play back, (malentendu, ignorance, doubles flous), Michel Rein, Paris, 2015