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 Ruprecht von Kaufmann, Regenbogen, 2019, Öl auf Linoleum auf Holz, 122,5 x 153 cm, 
Courtesy Galerie Thomas Fuchs
Ruprecht von Kaufmann, Regenbogen, 2019, Öl auf Linoleum auf Holz, 122,5 x 153 cm, Courtesy Galerie Thomas Fuchs

The VOLTA New York art fair’s latest edition, its first directed by Kamiar Maleki, is hosting a focused blend of longtime returning VOLTA galleries as well as first-time exhibitors this March.
Maleki who knows a thing or two about art and especially collecting it, being the eldest son of the Iranian-born and London-based “super-collectors” Fatima and Eskandar Maleki has joined the VOLTA tribe after three years as Director of Contemporary Istanbul.
Several galleries from VOLTA’s “extended family” are returning to the new edition of the event after a few years’ absence, each contributing a compelling voice to the boutique art fair.

In two special features, coeur et art is presenting a few handpicked galleries participating in this season, complete with the galleries’ answers to five questions we exclusively devised for VOLTA New York. We kick it off with a statement by Maleki before we will be conducting an extended interview with him this summer for VOLTA Basel.

Kamiar Maleki, VOLTA Fair Director

“It truly is an exhilarating time,”

comments Kamiar Maleki, Fair Director.

“VOLTA’s new ownership by Ramsay Fairs and moving to Metropolitan West as the fair’s return to the city positions us with the wind at our backs.

We have focused the exhibitor list to a strong and diverse 50-plus galleries and have loosened up the solo-project mandate to offer participants greater liberty to stage their presentations as they would do at their home galleries.

This all results in a balanced and curated VOLTA New York fair, one built on artistic discovery, as our founders understood and as our 2020 edition attests.

I look forward to sharing it with you all.”

Kamiar Maleki, VOLTA Fair Director

Thomas Fuchs | Stuttgart

1) Elevator pitch! Please describe to our readers the concept and feel of your booth in three sentences.

At our booth we present Ruprecht von Kaufmann (*1974 in Munich, Germany) and Yongchul Kim (*1982 in Yeosu, South Korea), who throughout their works explore the idea of existence in different ways and techniques. For this, we juxtapose both artists. With their artworks we want to proof that figurative painting can still be fresh, new and interesting. 

2) Which artist/s are your presenting this year in New York and why?

At VOLTA New York we show Ruprecht von Kaufmann and, for the first time in New York, Yongchul Kim. In his artworks, Ruprecht von Kaufmann deals with the existence of modern people by subtly reflecting our actions, thoughts and feelings in a society marked by unrest. For some years now von Kaufmann has been working with colored linoleum instead of canvas as a painting ground, which he, in some of his works, cuts into with a linoleum knife and puts clumps of oil paint on it.

This technique creates an extraordinary, three-dimensional aspect.

His works can currently be seen in the group exhibition “Feelings – Kunst und Emotion” at the Pinakothek der Moderne in München till 4th Oktober 2020. 

Yongchul Kim is a young, emerging artist. Characteristic for his paintings are his expressive brushstrokes, which seem to melt his figures.

With his artworks Yongchul Kim is rising questions on the uncertainty of our existence.

3) What differentiates VOLTA from other art fairs in your experience?

What we like about VOLTA New York is that there are new artists to discover, but also well known positions are represented. We also value the selection of galleries and the very interesting audience, which includes new and well-known collectors, museum professionals  and curators.

4) What is your expectation or which advantages do you see regarding the new location and the new director Kamiar Maleki?

We’re looking forward to the new location and hope that, unlike Piers, it will provide more security in planning. We enjoyed working with Amanda Coulson very much and we’re also very pleased about the new director Kamiar Maleki, with whom we also expect a successful cooperation. It’s very positive, that he has a background as a collector, as VOLTA is primarily focused on collectors.

5) If you could change something on the art market, what would it be?

We feel very comfortable in the current art market. Nevertheless, it would be desirable if the public would focus more on artistic positions instead of high auction results. 

Kinetic Art | Mark Hachem Gallery
Kinetic Art | Mark Hachem Gallery

Mark Hachem | Paris + Beirut

1) Elevator pitch! Please describe to our readers the concept and feel of your booth in three sentences.

Right from the onset, Kinetic Art was at the centre Galerie Mark Hachem’s focus and over the following three decades, the gallery collaborated with many prestigious artists. For VOLTA New York 2020 Mark Hachem is proud to present artists from the Op Art movement as well as major creations from the Latino American art sphere. Latin American artists were central to the creation of the movement and it helped establish and then cement their integration into the French art scene, Kinetism being the only artistic trend in the 20th century that successfully challenged the European centric art landscape. 

These artists chose France as their country of refuge from which to base their artistic research. It is a useful reminder that immigration and exchange often lead to considerable cultural contributions.

The gallery will also be showcasing contemporary art through the works of Hussein Madi, Ghazi Baker, Wolfgang Stiller, Nedim Kufi and Michelangelo Bastiani.

Painter, sculptor and engraver, born in 1938 in Chebaa in South Lebanon, Hussein Madi is one of the Middle East’s most famous artists. Madi was able to create his own language, script and vocabulary.

Kinetic Art is also in the spotlight at the Mark Hachem booth.

Hussein Madi | Mark Hachem Gallery Beirut
Hussein Madi | Mark Hachem Gallery Beirut

2) Which artist/s are your presenting this year in New York and why?

At VOLTA New York, Galerie Mark Hachem celebrates the work of the Venezuelan masters and main players in the Kinetic Art field, Jesus Rafael Soto, Carlos Cruz Diez, Dario Perez Flores, René Ugarte, Francisco (Pancho) Salazar, Rafael Pérez et Rafael Barrios. The variation of contemporary artists Wolfgang STILLER, Ghazi BAKER, Michelangelo BASTIANI does not go unacknowledged, of our time, for our time except for processor Hussein Madi, who leads with his memory.

Each artist presented at VOLTA will exhibit material as a materiality of their reified consciousness.

VOLTA NEW YORK: The next chapter  #2 6

Wolfgang STILLER performs social commentaries on human engagement as antagonistic and exploitative such as corporations to their employees.

In compliment of the seriousness of some of his works, Stiller gives relief via comedy by way of his other pieces.

Wolfgang Stiller | Mark Hachem Gallery

What makes Hussein Madi unique is his ability to draw or paint using only straight lines and curves. It is the complex arrangement of these lines & semi circles, with varying thickness, that will allow him to compose, sometimes an animal, sometimes a human figure, often complex scenes using replication as another composition element.

VOLTA NEW YORK: The next chapter  #2 7

Currently working and living in Beirut, Baker’s style could be characterized as an exotic cocktail of lines, post-structuralism art, cerebral and deliberately anti-thematic.

Always looking to highlight the process itself, his artistic influences include comic book art, music, movies, motorcycle culture, esoteric imagery, everyday life and the human condition.

His work is inspired by thinkers as diverse as J. Derrida, M. Foucault and M. Merleau-Ponty, as well as other artists including Francis Bacon and David Salle.

Ghazi Baker | Mark Hachem Gallery

Storing a cloud in a jar, capturing a storm and putting a moving waterfall inside a frame as visual art pieces in a museum are some of the fantasies the artist Michelangelo Bastiani managed to make a reality through the use of technology.

Thus, through interactive videos, installations and holograms, the Italian artist has been capable of recreating a wide array of natural phenomena and elements in our planet and universe to showcase them with his unconventional point of view.

 Michelangelo Bastiani  | Mark Hachem Gallery
Michelangelo Bastiani | Mark Hachem Gallery

3) What differentiates VOLTA from other art fairs in your experience?

The interest in the new art scene and emerging artists, as well as attracting a new audience (collectors, press, institutions…). Promoting and bringing to the forefront the Artists themselves with their identity (communication, newsletter, social media…)

4) What is your expectation or which advantages do you see regarding the new location and the new director Kamiar Maleki?

It’s always a pleasure to work with Kamiar Maleki; Mark Hachem gallery is participating to Contemporary Istanbul every year. His dynamic contribution corresponds completely with the artistic line initiated by Amanda Coulson and will help to develop the international dimension of the art fair.

5) If you could change something on the art market, what would it be?

The parasitic manifestations of art and the way to legitimize it.

Lyle O. Reitzel Contemporary | Santo Domingo

1) Elevator pitch! Please describe to our readers the concept and feel of your booth in three sentences.

For this new version of VOLTA New York we present the fantastic Spanish duo “Los Bravú”, an emerging artist couple named Dea Gómez & Diego Omil, who work on each piece with four hands with a fresh, original and solid proposal. 

2) Which artist are your presenting this year in New York and why?

We selected “Los Bravú” firstly because they are our most recent discovery, which brings a new air to our gallery, and secondly because we understand that their original style, whose works true evoque Renaissance style intertwined with everyday contemporary elements and a distinctive language that identifies them very early on an aesthetic and conceptual level, as well as with exquisite compositions of admirable good taste, making their sophisticated work a new contribution to contemporary creation.


3) What differentiates VOLTA from other art fairs in your experience?

Recently we have participated in ARCO Madrid, Frieze New York, Zona MACO Mexico, among others and in Volta NY, it would be our 5th participation where we had presented the Dominican artists, Gerard Ellis (twice), Scherezade Garcia and Raul Recio, as well as Hulda Guzmán.

The difference between Volta and other fairs is that it is a boutique fair made up of only carefully curated shows, and because of the size of the fair itself, it is a quite manageable walkthrough, in addition to the possibility of discovering new emerging artist proposals.

Los Bravú, Retrato ecuestre en Gandio, Acrylic on Canvas
Los Bravú, Retrato ecuestre en Gandio, Acrylic on Canvas

4) What is your expectation or which advantages do you see regarding the new location and the new director Kamiar Maleki?

I think the new location creates interesting expectations of independence, and a new challenge for discovery on part of the collectors, curators, artists and art critics; a little further away from the Armory Show, although Close.

I understand that the new direction with Kamiar Maleki, impregnates a new energy, developing freshness and a new change, which creates interesting feeling of anticipation.

5) If you could change something on the art market, what would it be?

In our experience of more than 25 years in the trenches of contemporary art and without a plan B, we understand that the harmony between protagonists of the art scene as they are the artist, gallery owner, collector and curator, must be kept.

Here the Rock Stars should continue to be the artists, as thinkers/executives/producers on the aesthetic and conceptual level, supported by the gallery, and this is in turn supported by collectors and institutions, museums and curators.

Sometimes the latter competes too much, at a leading level with the artists themselves, and tries to impose in many cases their particular thinking and concept.

About VOLTA

VOLTA showcases contemporary positions by up-and-coming and mid-career artists with an emphasis on discovery, both for the curious newcomer and for the seasoned collector alike. By spotlighting artists through solo projects and tightly-curated presentations, VOLTA encourages exhibitors to present serious gallery shows, while refocusing the fair-going experience back on its most fundamental point: the artists and their works.

VOLTA New York

March 4 – 8, 2020 | New Location: Metropolitan West

Author: Esther Harrison