Art fairs

The 'Young Art Fair' at Liste attracts top art collectors

Despite the scruffiness, business is swift in the fair's 11th year


Basel. Despite its designation as the “Young Art Fair”, Liste 06, in its 11th year, is the oldest alternative event around. To keep the fair fresh, the 59 exhibitors (a third here for the first time) are only allowed to attend for three or four years, and only show artists aged under 40.

Liste has been a seedbed for upcoming galleries, and a third of past Liste exhibitors are now ensconced in Art Basel, including London’s trendy Herald Street Gallery and Hotel. Darren Flook of Hotel, who is showing in Art Statements, says he will miss the informal, fun atmosphere of Liste: “When we were accepted for Art Basel I though “oh, that’s wrecked everything, now I have to sit in the conference centre instead of having beer in the sun at Liste!”

Others find the deliberate scruffiness of the fair off-putting, but it is thought to be the place to discover emerging names–as long as you don’t mind tripping over some of the art or sifting through a great deal of dross.

Nonetheless, a posse of major collectors including Donald and Mira Rubell, Sue and Michael Hort, Michel Ringier, Miuccia Prada and Ethan Westfrank had clattered up the staircases and segued around the labyrinthine corridors yesterday, and business was reported to be brisk.

This year Liste has built a tent-annex to accommodate ten new exhibitors, and add space for the constantly increasing visitor numbers. Unfortunately the pillars supporting the black tent were distracting and the extra area is awkward, with no chance to stand back from most of the works of art.

Among the newcomers to the fair in this section is the Parisian gallery Cosmic, showing work by a young British artist, James Hopkins. The gallery had pre-sold his original work, Decadence and Demise, 2006, (E20,000), a mixed media piece showing a skull with a globe and disco ball for the eyes, a line of beer bottles for teeth and a pair of champagne bottles for the nose. Also treating the theme of death was Sinner and Winner (2006, E8,500) a pearl necklace in the shape of a skull on top of a Bible.

Liste certainly offers an internationally diverse range of galleries: another first-timer is Guangzhou’s Vitamin Creative Space showing Zheng Guogu’s Garden Project, (2004-06) with plastic flowering trees surrounding a large plinth covered in melted wax ($20,000). From Sweden, Natalia Goldin is showing very pretty detailed paintings on plexiglass by Anna Camner. Three out of four were sold before the fair.

Poland’s Raster Gallery sold Zbigniew Rogalski’s Self Portrait, 2005, at the opening of the fair for E21,500, but the gallery had other Rogalski works available, as well as paintings by the equally fashionable Polish artist Rafal Bujnowski. Director Lukasz Gorczyca was fielding a constant flow of collectors as the fair opened.

At the opening, the Oslo gallery Standard sold two of the three-edition The Coffeetableisation of Everything, 2006, a slab of a book enshrined in a perspex box but bare of any other ornament.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Collectors attracted to a bit of rough'