Art Market News in Brief !



Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news.

Chiharu Shiota at the “Sucrière”

The Sucrière has hosted the Lyons Biennale since 2003. This new and unique venue in Lyons is starting a new cycle of temporary exhibitions with the Labyrinth of Memory exhibition work by the artist Chiharu SHIOTA.

For this exhibition, Chiharu Shiota has created “a specific project for the architecture and very identity of the building”: sixteen dresses connected by a white cloth occupy the ceiling space, surrounded by a thick yarn of black wool. The weave makes the work denser, clouding the viewers vision and at the same time immersing the viewer in the work. This monumental installation is typical of Shiota’s work, constantly navigating between the concepts of gravity, space and time.

The artist is virtually absent from the secondary market. She has only one result for an audiovisual work (HKD 40,000) that is quite unrepresentative of her current work. However, at just 39, she already has a high level of art world visibility. Last year, the Maison Rouge in Paris exhibited her work. Antoine de Galbert, founder of the Maison Rouge, himself a big fan of the artist, chose one of her works at his show Ainsi soit il at the Museum of Fine Art in Lyons. Exhibited in 1999 at Alexander Ochs in Germany, the artist has an excellent global network of galleries (Daniel Templon in Paris, Haunch of Venison in New York) and in her home country (Kenji Taki Gallery Tokyo and Nagoya).

Living today in Berlin, despite having only one auction result, the Japanese artist was among the fifty highest-priced Japanese artists under 40 on the 2009 art market (45th place).

A “private” retrospective for Lucio Fontana

The Gagosian Gallery, in collaboration with the Lucio Fontana Foundation in Milan, is hosting a retrospective dedicated to the artist until 30 June 2012. It will bring together over 100 works, and six Ambienti Spaziali environments created by the artist and reconstructed identically for the occasion.

Trained as a sculptor, Lucio FONTANA is particularly popular at auctions for his paintings which account for 31% of his transactions and 86% of his auction revenue. His drawings are in second place, representing a quarter of his auction market. Ceramics occupy third place (14%), followed by sculptures representing only 10% of his lots and 5% of his auction revenue.

His price index acquired another dimension in 2001 with his first adjudication equivalent to one million dollars for a Concetto spaziale (dated 1954): the work doubled its estimate with a hammer price of £680,000 (Sotheby’s, London, 7 February 2001). Since then, Fontana’s Concetti spaziali are the pride of Sotheby’s and Christie’s “Part One” sales. Fontana’s million-plus sales accelerated as of 2006 when 9 of his works exceeded the million-dollar threshold. In 2007, there were no less than seventeen million-plus results, including one for a ceramic work. The price surge continued in 2008 with, for the first time in Fontana’s auction career, results exceeding $10m.

Since then, his personal auction record is $18m with a painting entitled Concetto Spaziale, la fine di Dio on 27 February 2008 at Sotheby’s in London. In fact, the UK is his best market place: about 70% of his auction revenue is generated in London, although his adopted country, Italy, hosted the sales of nearly half of his transactions between 1997 and 2011.

A look at Russia…

Recent events have generated excellent art market news flow from the East. While the ninth Photobiennale exhibits the great names of Russian and international photography until 27 May 2012, we have learnt that The Garage Center for Contemporary Culture founded by Dasha Zokhova has moved. The institution will be strategically located in central Moscow’s Gorky Park. The space, specially designed by architect Rem Koolhaas, will open in 2013, with a likely retrospective of the work of Richard SERRA.

For the 55th Venice Biennale, the curator of the Russian pavilion, Stella Kasaeva, has officially announced the name of the artist who will represent Russia. Pursuing the focus on Moscow Conceptualism, the artist Vadim ZAKHAROV (born 1959) will take over from his compatriot Andrey MONASTYRSKY (born 1949) who represented his country in 2011. A fundamental movement in the history of Russian art, Moscow Conceptualism emerged in the 1970s to emancipate art, make it autonomous and create an alternative to the traditional Realism imposed by Socialism. An emblematic artist of the School of Moscow Conceptualism, Vadim Zakharov, like many talented Russian artists, has had little success on the secondary market. Of the 16 lots offered since 1990, four remained unsold, including his last three lots. In short, sales of his works have not been brilliant over the last three years. In effect, his most recent result, and also his record, was in October 2008 with his monumental Baroquie that fetched $86,500 at Phillips de Pury & Company in London. Artist, theorist and art historian, Vadim Zakarov has participated in numerous exhibitions in the world, but has not yet attained the notoriety of his elders Eric BULATOV (born 1933) and Ilya KABAKOV (born 1933) whose latest auction records were set in the same year at $5.17m for Kabakov (Beetlte, Phillips de Pury & Company, London, 28 February 2008) and $1.9m for Bulatov (Glory to the CPSU, at the same sale). A conspicuous participation in this 55th Venice Biennale could open new horizons for Vadim Zakharov. Until then, let’s hope that the market for Russian Contemporary art recovers some of the superb vitality it had in 2007/2008.