‘Artissima’ is one of the leading contemporary art fairs – and this year it’s the twenty-second edition. With a great number of initiatives, Turin is very international, when it comes to visual arts. We’ve talked to Elisabeth Thoman – Director of Galerie Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman – about their participation and the art market …
This year you are exhibiting at the 22nd edition of Artissima in Turin. After your debut last year it is the second time that you are participating in this international fair. What is the résumé of last year?
The public and collectors are profoundly interested in what they see and not in what they are briefed to see.
What are you expecting this year? Do you think it is getting easier the more often a gallery shows up at one specific fair?
The engagement at a certain art place always needs continuity. We made good contacts last year. Collectors with a certain knowledge about artists we are representing – like Herbert Brandl, Günther Förg or Otto Zitko -, sales to Italian and Swiss collectors and we encountered strong interest in the work by Jürgen Klauke for a future institutional show in the region. We expect increasing sales, especially for upcoming positions like Michael Kienzer, Thomas Feuerstein, Carmen Brucic and Julia Bornefeld.
In 2014 you presented a program with some considerable Austrian artists like Hermann Nitsch, Arnulf Rainer or Franz West. Are you following a likely strategy this year?
As we are representing probably some of the most important, internationally renowned contemporary artists from Austria any presentation starts from there with Nitsch, Rainer and West. This year, given that Paloma Varga Weisz has a solo show at Castello di Rivoli Turin, we also bring two of her sculptures.
The exciting thing about fairs is that every gallery has only one restricted area to curate. How big is your exhibition space this time? Is it hard to choose which artists you want to present in this limited space?
Coming to decisions is an exciting process. We have an extraordinary large potential as we are working since a long time. At the end we are usually really happy how fresh the display of our booth is. Good quality always fits together.
The Artissima claims to be a fair with lots of international exhibitors. Why is this fair so attractive to galleries from all over the world?
Some leading artfairs are completely monopolized. Artissima has a very good sense for quality, encountering a wide range of very reputable galleries. Professionals and collectors on the research of interesting art – first viewing of new relevant positions, discovering essential artworks by established artists – come and may find.
At a time when the art market is changing rapidly fast, is it even possible to keep track on all the important movements and different trends? If so, how?
Observing the art market is part of our business. Participating at Artissima is one of the consequences.
Recently many galleries are closing whereas auction markets are getting more and more powerful. What are your strategies to fight against these trends? With which strategies can a gallery survive for the next five to ten years?
We continuously buy works for our stock from all artists we are representing and a lot of others. For those galleries, who have worked for several or many years exclusively with works in commission, there is no chance.
What role does social media (instagram, facebook, twitter) play for you? Do you think that some galleries ignored these new trends too long, underestimating the impact of regular media presence?
We are lucky to have a young and very engaged team. With pleasure they use their knowledge in social media for the company. And yes, it is important. Print advertising is too expensive now. The youngest (future) collectors find their way through instagram, facebook, twitter, artnet and artsy.
// Interview by Anna Maria Burgstaller
ARTISSIMA • 6/11 – 8/11/2015
The preview and vernissage will be held on 5 November (invitation only).
More informations on www.artissima.it
Galerie Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman
Seilerstätte 7 • 1010 Wien • Austria • www.galeriethoman.com