Star Artists at ART COLOGNE - Part I
Ideally, an art fair is remembered as a “temporary museum”: a place where world-class works can be discovered before they go into private collections. If you ask people involved in ART COLOGNE, the signs are good that this year’s edition will be remembered thanks to its highlights.
Jannis Kounellis, Untitled, 1961, tempera, pencil, and collage (cardboard) on paper, 69,1 x 99,7 cm, photo: Galerie Karsten Greve, Courtesy Galerie Karsten Greve Cologne Paris St. Moritz
One art dealer with impressive artists in his portfolio is Karsten Greve. He has been active as a gallery owner since the 1970s, and today he has locations in Cologne, Paris, and St. Moritz. Early on, he presented world-famous names such as Jannis Kounellis, John Chamberlain, and Louise Bourgeois, with whom he cultivated close friendships. An intellectual exchange with artists and their works runs through his entire career. It is thanks to Greve, for example, that artists who are now fixtures in art history were able to gain a foothold outside the United States. He was the first gallery owner to dedicate an exhibition to Louise Bourgeois in Europe, in 1990, establishing her on the European market.
A masterpiece of exclusive provenance as proof of friendship
Louise Bourgeois, The Welcoming Hands, 1996, bronze with silver nitrate patina, polished, ed. 2/3, 17,7 x 88,9 x 43,1 cm, stamped on the lower side: LB 2/3 MAF 2010 BOUR-10429, © The Easton, Foundation, New York, photo: Christopher Burke, New York, Courtesy Galerie Karsten Greve Cologne Paris St. Moritz
The story behind a work Greve is now presenting in Cologne shows just how intimate the relationship between artist and gallerist was: Bourgeois’ “Welcoming Hands” (1996) is a bronze sculpture with a silver nitrate patina in a limited edition of three signed copies that Greve bought directly from the artist. The bronze shows three hands joined in an intimate gesture of welcome. But they are not the hands of a model who posed for Louise Bourgeois.
The bronze is to be understood as a self-portrait - Bourgeois used her own fingers as the basis, reproducing every vein, every line, every wrinkle. The work can thus not only be interpreted as a sign of hospitality, it also allows you to get close to one of the greatest artists of the postwar period, who literally reaches out to you.
The work of the internationally renowned artist Leiko Ikemura creates references between East and West.
Leiko Ikemura, Trees out of Head, 2015 (darft) / 2019 (cast) bronze, patiniert, ed. 2/5, 25 x 32 x 20 cm, signed and numbered below: Ikemura 2/5, S-15/19-01-B-II, © Leiko Ikemura, photo: Jörg von Bruchhausen, Berlin, Courtesy Galerie Karsten Greve Cologne Paris St. Moritz
The works of the artist Leiko Ikemura, which Greve is also showing in Cologne, can also touch you directly.
With ceramics, paintings, glass works, and bronze sculptures, Ikemura creates a universe in which references to Western art history and Japanese tradition meet. Even without deciphering the references, you want to immerse yourself in her canvases and lose yourself as a viewer in the soft colors.
Ikemura knows how to create ineluctable landscapes of the soul
Galerie Bastian curates works by Damien Hirst, Emil Nolde and Joseph Beuys for a "radical" dialogue
Emil Nolde, Meer mit zwei Dampfern, ca. 1930, Watercolour on Japan paper, 33,5 x 45,2 cm (framed) © Nolde Stiftung Seebüll, Courtesy: Galerie Bastian Berlin
The seascapes by Emil Nolde on offer at the Bastian gallery’s booth have a similarly stirring effect.
Using expressive colors, Nolde repeatedly captured the ebb and flow of the tide, the waves and billows. Regardless of whether the spray reared up threateningly or danced as a peaceful whitecap on the surface of the water, Nolde took up the brush and found forms of expression for this force of nature. Many of his watercolors were painted in Seebüll in North Frisia, where he lived right on a dyke from the 1920s until his death in 1956.
The team around Aeneas Bastian, who has been managing the gallery since 2016, knows a great deal about Nolde and his contemplation of the sea. He is keen to present Nolde’s art but at the same time does not ignore the dark chapters of his life, including his involvement in the National Socialist ideology.
Damien Hirst Unicorn – The Dream is dead 2005, Sculpture in silver coins (dimes), glass container, water, 251 x 142 x 60 cm, ed.: 3 + 1 AP, ed. no.: AP, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Courtesy: Galerie Bastian Berlin
In addition to Nolde, Bastian is also showing a rare object by Joseph Beuys and a sculpture by Damien Hirst.
Text: Laura Storfner