For an art fair like Artissima, it is important to include a healthy dose of both newcomers and seasoned players alike. After the breakthrough years, the challenge for seasoned players is to keep up with the level of presentation that the public has come to expect, whilst, of course, also keeping things fresh, interesting, and in some ways, unpredictable.
For an art fair like Artissima, it is important to include a healthy dose of both newcomers and seasoned players alike. The fair’s Main Section is dedicated to established galleries who have consistently presented a keen eye for quality. After the breakthrough years, the challenge for these players is to keep up with the level of presentation that the public has come to expect, whilst, of course, also keeping things fresh, interesting, and in some ways, unpredictable. A surefire way to do all that is by introducing a new partner. Chert – or, ChertLüdde, we should say – has done just that, and is taking the opportunity to present its new management for the first time at Artissima. Jennifer Chert and Florian Lüdde were kind enough to share this news and answer some questions for us, below.
Chert has been coming to Artissima every year since 2008, which means that you’re definitely in a position to tell us: how has the fair changed over the years? And what are your expectations for this year’s edition?
The fair has changed across four different directors with very different approaches. At the same time, our gallery has been changing and growing a lot. The reason why we have continued to come back to Turin is the close exchange with curators and institutions and, of course, the Italian collections we are close with.
At Artissima several of our artists have been awarded different prices and their works have been acquired by main public institutions based in Turin (i.e. Kasia Fudakowski's work has been acquired by the GAM, Fondazione Torino Musei; Vanessa Safavi won the Illy Prize and was subsequently exhibited at Castello di Rivoli the following year; Petrit Halilaj received the Fico Prize on its first edition).
Our expectations are to strengthen these relationships. Artissima has always been a great platform to show young emerging artists. This year, in fact, we are presenting a new position of the gallery: the Spanish artist Alvaro Urbano.
What are some of the main challenges that you come across when preparing for your participation at an art fair?
Of course, the overall organization and preparation is very challenging. It is time and energy consuming in a lot of senses. However, our main focus is on the presentation itself and on the works that we are bringing.
As a gallery that puts a lot of emphasis on publications, what would you say are the unique qualities that this medium offers to artists? Do you think publications are seen more as an accessory - adjacent to, but not part of - the overall work of an artist?
I am a fan of artist's publications in the original sense of artists’ books - that is, the book as a medium to continue and enlarge the artist's practice. As a gallery who represents almost only emerging artists, we are maybe far from the idea of comprehensive catalogues of oeuvres, something which I feel should arrive once an artist has achieved a good body of representative works and years of career. We recently produced a huge and beautiful "catalogue raisonné" for Ruth Wolf-Rehfeltd (born in 1932) who had 20 years of works, most of them never published or seen before. But again, for what concerns young artists, we try to focus exclusively on special projects / printed matter that can be seen as an artwork themselves.
If I understand correctly, you’ve recently moved locations, although still in the same neighborhood of Kreuzberg. Does this move signify other changes for the gallery?
Yes. We moved in the new location this spring - the space is an old apartment with 3 different levels; it is a bizarre space and full of stairs. Another important change for the gallery has been the new joint venture with Florian Lüdde, former director of Esther Schipper gallery, who joined Chert as a partner this autumn. The gallery is therefore changing its name in ChertLüdde and Artissima is actually the first moment that this is becoming official to the public.
Top image: Kasia Fudakowski, Are you eating well?, 2016, Plexiglas, acrylic paint, wire.
All images courtesy the artist and ChertLüdde, Berlin
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