Flash News: Mona Hatoum – Berlin Positions – Cologne Art Fair



Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news: Mona Hatoum Retrospective – Second edition of Berlin Positions – Cologne Art Fair coming up in September

Mona Hatoum Retrospective
After the Jeff Koons exhibition, which attracted 650,000 visitors, the Pompidou Centre is opening its main gallery to Mona HATOUM until 28 September 2015. This is the most comprehensive exhibition to date of this British artist of Lebanese origin (bringing together around a hundred works covering forty years of creative activity), an exhibition « organised as a charting of territory, not as a retrospective » according to Christine Van Assche, the curator.
Born in 1952 to Palestinian parents in Beirut, Mona Hatoum has been living in London since 1975, the year civil war broke out in Lebanon. Unable to return home, she completed her art studies in London (at the Slade School of Fine Art) and now divides her time between London and Berlin.
Widely recognised internationally, her career took off in 1995 after being awarded the prestigious Turner Prize. She exhibited at the White Cube in London (1995) and then at the New Museum in New York (1997), before entering the auction arena in 1998, with a promising first $46,000 final bid including fees for A Couple of Swings (Christie’s New York): the installation comprises two glass-seated swings facing each other, and which hint at potential disaster in the event of the slightest movement. Subsequent exhibitions followed at the Tate Britain (London, 2000), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney (2005) and the Mathaf, Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha (2014). In 2011, the artist won the Joan Miró International Contemporary Art Prize and in the same year achieved her record auction price of $470,500 including fees (Christie’s New York, 8 November 2011).
The record-breaking work, entitled Silence, plays on a baby’s crib with bars made of glass. The protective function of the object is undermined, since the bed may break at the slightest touch. In the tradition of conceptualism and minimalism, the works of Mona Hatoum also draw on her personal life and origins. Mona Hatoum is a woman in exile and a committed artist. Intimately affected by the disorders of the world, she transforms everyday objects, Palestinian embroidery, giving us a video-recorded tour of the inside of her body, composing works with her hair… to cause us, on unstable territories, to think of threats, uprooting, conflict, geopolitics, beauty, identity and intimacy…

Second edition of Berlin Positions
Germany is the fifth largest marketplace for contemporary art auctions ($17.7 million in sales recorded between July 2014 and early July 2015), just behind France and just ahead of Qatar. Clearly, Germany is struggling to defend its position: to attract major collectors, there was a need for a new contemporary art fair able to make its mark. Such is the ambition of Positions Berlin (from 17 to 20 September 2015), with the second edition of this fair opening in the autumn with 77 exhibitors from 16 countries.
Most of the exhibitors come from Germany (Berlin, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Munich), but also from London, Singapore and Tokyo, to occupy an area of 6,500 square meters in a creative, dynamic area of the city (Arena Berlin). Positions Berlin represents a potential new highlight in the annual round of fairs, opening an important window onto German artists, who are among the most sought after on the market behind Americans, English and Chinese.

Cologne Art Fair coming up in September
Cologne Art Fair is to celebrate its 12th anniversary this year in the majestic space of Koelnmesse trade fair site in Cologne (12,500 square meters). Among the hundreds of exhibitors coming together from 24 to 27 September 2015, there is a majority of confirmed and emerging German galleries. Indeed, Cologne Art Fair seeks to put forward a continual confrontation between established artists and a more upcoming dimension of contemporary art. It combines opposites, exploring a broad spectrum of creation covering fine art, photography, street art and even design.
Among the exhibitors will be the Nagel/Draxler Gallery (Cologne / Berlin), Cosar HMT (Düsseldorf), Sies + Höke Gallery (Dusseldorf), Van Horn (Dusseldorf), Philipp von Rosen (Cologne), Conrads (Dusseldorf) and Thomas Rehbein (Cologne). These professionals will be setting the pace in Cologne in the early autumn of this year, in the face of the Art Cologne fair whose spring edition is highly popular among major collectors. The latter event celebrates its half century of existence in 2016.