Art Taipei / 26 – 29 August 2011



Now in its 18th year, Art Taipei is the oldest art fair in Asia. This year it opens on 26 August, presenting 124 galleries at the World Trade Center of Taipei.

Year after year, the coherence of this event – which attracted 50,000 visitors in 2010 – is provided by the overwhelming presence of Asian galleries. The best represented artistic centres are Taipei of course, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Seoul, Beijing and Shanghai. Unlike other Asian art fairs, there are very few European and American galleries present at Art Taipei. Indeed, this difference contributes much to the originality of Art Taipei that wishes to impose itself as a platform for Chinese art.

On top of this underlying ambition, Art Taipei has another specificity by consciously focusing on a particularly rich and complex theme in Contemporary creation, that of New Media for which this year it is hosting a dedicated section as well as a programme of conferences on the subject.

Art Taipei Forum : ProgrammeArtprice is delighted to announce its participation to Session II : New media art in Global Contemporary Art Market.
Topic : New Media at auctions – Overview and outlook
Speaker : Céline Moine 
The Contemporary art auction market, one of the most dynamic markets in the world, represents a superb source of income for today’s auctioneers. Demand for Contemporary creation has in fact become a global phenomenon and the number of devoted amateurs and investors has grown rapidly over the last decade, encouraged by an extremely busy schedule of major exhibitions, art fairs, shows, festivals, and biennials all over the world and which, for some, has converted the collection of Contemporary art into a veritable way of live.

Never before in the history of art and its market has so much energy been focused on Contemporary creation. The figures alone prove its incredible expansion: between 2005 and 2008 (at the top of the market) for example, global auction revenue from Contemporary art grew six-fold.

Traditionally, the works which sell best are paintings, sculpture and drawings… their historical anchoring as art media and their physical durability being reassuring factors for collectors.However, a change has occurred over the last decade with photography becoming increasingly accepted as a primary artistic medium (except in very rare cases, photography is the quintessential “multiple” medium). At the same time, we have seen the substantial accretion of works that are sometimes referred to as “immaterial” like videos, audio works and digital arts in general. While the photography segment of the Contemporary market has acquired a stature that occasionally competes with painting (in terms of price), the secondary markets for the other New Media are developing more timidly. As technology is evolving, the question of obsolescence – particularly acute in the case of video – partially explains the reserve felt by certain amateur art collectors in respect of actually acquiring such works. Unlike photography, media such as video, digital and audio arts are effectively changing the fundamentals of the Western traditional classical art market based largely on the commercial exchange of paintings. Nevertheless the prices of these modern works are rising because among the new generation of collectors, many are giving preference to media more in harmony with our times and with a nomadic approach to experiencing art.

To better analyse in detail the evolution of the market for New Media, we make a distinction between two categories: that of photography and that of video and audio installations, because the two markets are not the same age and do not function at the same pace.

The accretion of the photography market – which is near the beginning of its auction history – has been particularly strong in Europe and the United States. Its penetration of the world’s most prestigious collections illustrates the evolution of mentalities regarding ways of collecting art. Very recently we have seen the proliferation of dedicated photography auctions responding to an increasingly urgent demand for the medium. In fact, at the height of the market (2008), the auction price index of photographers had risen +83% in less than a decade. From NADAR and Gustave LE GRAY, via Richard PRINCE, Andreas GURSKY, Charles RAY, Peter BEARD, Mike KELLEY and Cindy SHERMAN, some prints change hands for several hundred thousand dollars (or even millions of dollars) in a market that also offers collectors a very deep mine of affordable works.

Apart from an analysis of photography, which has become one of the drivers of the Contemporary art market, we focus on the trends and outlook for the other categories collectively referred to as New Media, such as digital art, installations and moving images in general.