Art fairs

Volta's success continues with a strong performance on the first day of its second edition

Business is brisk but while the fair’s change of location allowed much needed expansion it leaves collectors hot and bothered


Basel. The Volta fair was the surprise hit of last year, filling a niche between the scruffier Liste and the ultra-smart Art Basel exhibition. This year, its second edition—expanded from 23 to 40 galleries—did even better, according to the exhibitors. Buyers were out in force for the opening yesterday, including the Miami collectors, the Rubells, and the Parisian buyers Daniel and Florence Guerlain.

“I sold half my stand in an hour,” says French gallerist Nathalie Obadia (G10). Elsewhere, business was also brisk: London gallery Museum 52 (P4), one of the eight project spaces with solo shows, had two reserves on The New Atlantis, 2006, a bronze and steel installation in an edition of four by John Isaacs (E18,282). A show of work by Isaacs will be at London’s Serpentine Gallery later this year.

Takashi Murakami himself was keeping an eye on his studio’s Kaikai Kiki stand, which had Japanese staff dispensing sake. Almost everything was sold on the stand by 3pm, including Mahomi Kunikata’s 1st Picture Mail Together, 2006, for E3,968. The Taro Nasu stand (G4) was virtually sold out, with huge interest in Kazuna Taguchi’s photographs of her paintings of composite women (various titles), all sold in editions of three, priced at E1,349.

Roman Wolgin’s 2006 series of portraits (Someone Else) of artist Martin Kippenberger, supermodel Kate Moss and other celebrities sold to “young European collectors” for around E14,600 from the Store gallery (G3).

A project on show at the Danish gallery Aebaek (P1) attracted a lot of attention. Artist and pilot Simone Aaberg Kaern documented her flight to Afghanistan in a 1960s single-engine Piper Colt, to visit fellow female pilots. One piece on show is Freedom Fighter, a scaled up Afghani pilot’s badge made in carpet, and a series of photographs in long strips, Sisters in the Sky (E5,000, editions of three, with only one left yesterday afternoon).

The only problem facing the Volta visitors was getting back. The fair moved this year, from a disused power plant close to the centre, to a vast warehouse in the industrial outskirts. Tension was high as collectors vied in the heat for taxis which arrived at 15 minute intervals. “The show was great,” said a sweating buyer once he finally got a bitterly disputed ride back to the main fair. “But boy do they need to sort out the transport.”

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Volta gets even better'