artgenève 2024: a new direction for a colorful edition

by | Jan 29, 2024 | Art Fair Coverage

Already an hour past into its VIP opening, artgenève was undeniably buzzing with an elegantly dressed crowd walking along the aisles of PalExpo, in Geneva. Loads of two kisses on the cheeks and seasoned collectors inquiring perpetually with gallerists. The fair was quite intimate but not as much as I would have imagined for an established regional fair.

About 80 galleries were present, the majority of which came from all over Switzerland and Europe, but also a few galleries coming from further afield such as Pearl Lam Galleries (Hong Kong) with a vibrant still life by Michal Korman, Blouin Division (Canada) with art market favored Wanda Koop’s fluorescent moons landscapes and Ayyam Gallery (Dubai) with an intense pair of works by Safwan Dahoul. Some mega-galleries were present, including Hauser & Wirth, Almine Rech, Tornabuoni Art, Perrotin and Opera Gallery. They presented 6-digits priced works such as Lorna Simpson’s Haze ($550,000 at, Hauser & Wirth) or Elmgreen and Dragset’s Bent Pool (€120,000 at Perrotin). However, the fair offered many high-quality works in the 5 and 4-digits price point (more below in ‘How much does it cost?’).

Elmgreen & Dragset - artgenève

Elmgreen and Dragset, Human Scale (Bent Pool), 2019, at Perrotin Gallery – artgenève 2024

The most exciting gallery booths were when the same gallery had a multi-artists booth with an adjacent solo booth. Located at the beginning of the fair, Mai 36, a Zurich based Gallery, presented both exceptionally, their main booth, with a sculpture by Stephan Balkenhol and chocolate newsprints by Ian Anull and especially their solo booth with remarkable Thomas Ruff photographs that give the impression of being digital but aren’t and the artist’s delicate flowers prints (picture). Semiose Galerie was another one of the sort with the mesmerizing psychedelic paintings of Amelie Bertrand as a solo exhibition.

The 31 solo exhibitions were running for the yearly sought after, F.P. Journe solo prix Art Genève. The winner was announced after I left the fair. It was competitive to say the least. In the end, one work by Pascal Vonlanthen from award-winning stand Lovay Fine Arts was selected to be acquired and donated to an institution in the region. My personal ranking included the booth of Karma International with a mini-retrospective with the works of Swiss artist Sylvie Fleury which had an overall pink and sensual vibe of the 1990s with magazines covers, references to beauty products such as La Mer and Calvin Klein (Eternity Now), the unmissable spaceship to Venus and the lady legs wall relief. The contrast of that booth with the neighboring Mighela Shama Gallery, all mirrored in green with the otherworldly lit paintings of Lausanne-based artist David Weishaar seemed meant to be.

Thomas Ruff and Amélie Bertrand - artgenève

Thomas Ruff at Mai 36 Galerie & Amélie Bertrand at Semiose Gallery – artgenève 2024

Over the years, the fair has succeeded in remaining attractive for younger collectors with many institutions exhibiting emerging artists. Fond Cantonal d’Art Contemporain was attracting a lot of interest. In addition, innovative sections such as this year’s Art Genève-Sur Mesure curated by Nicolas Trembley, truly succeeded in creating an amusement park mood right at the entrance of the fair. The monumental central installation was by Joana Vasconcelos (Gowen) of whom the art world has been admiring the astonishing fabric sculptures, especially since her Dior commission for their Fall/Winter 2023 fashion show. Her Valkyrie Mumbet was enhanced with surrounding fairy tale installations including sculptures by Paul McCarthy (Hauser & Wirth) and British eccentric artist Oli Epp’s cat-slide (Semiose).
Oli Epp Ninth Life at Art Geneve sur Mesure, Cat-Slide, Semiose Gallery

Oli Epp Ninth Life at Art Geneve sur Mesure, Cat-Slide, Semiose Gallery – artgenève 2024

Art Dealers Interviews

Two paintings and one sculpture were selected for the ‘1 minute in the booth’. The director of Lange+Pult Gallery, mentioned earlier, showcased a large acrylic on canvas by Natacha Donzé. Lorenzo Poggiali, the founder of the eponymous gallery, presented an impressive smoke and soot on panel by Claudio Parmiggiani, while Victor Gisler, founder of Mai 36 Galerie, discussed a wooden statue created by Stephan Balkenhol in 2023.

How Much Does It Cost?

Among the highlights was Camille Henrot’s striking piece, ‘black marble Portoro Derelitta (Study for Monday)’, 2016, offered by Galerie Mennour for $95,000. Sofia Mitsola’s vibrant work, showcased by Galerie Eva Presenhuber, was available for purchase at $48,000. Elmgreen and Dragset’s ‘Human Scale (Bent Pool)’, 2019, displayed at Perrotin Gallery, captured attention with its unique form and was priced at €120,000. Lastly, Richard Jackson’s intriguing ‘Deer and Skeleton, blue version’, 2014, presented by Vallois Gallery, was listed at €100,000.

Sum it up, I'm in a rush!

  • When? | January 25-28, 2024
  • Where? | Geneva, Switzerland
  • Atmosphere | pop and crowdy
  • Curator’s booth pick | Mai 36 Galerie
  • Featured Gallery Gem | Semiose Gallery
  • Spotlight Artist | Amélie Bertrand
  • For Whom? | Edgy collectors looking for investment

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