Cool Young Art Prevails at Art Rotterdam 2018—Here Are 9 Things Not to Miss

Lorenzo Benedetti makes his curatorial return to the Netherlands for the 19th iteration of the preeminent Dutch fair.

Anne de Vries's installation at Van Nellefabriek Mask Off. Photo: Frank Hanswijk. Courtesy Martin van Zomeren.

The self-styled “fair for young art” is back for its 2018 edition in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam, offering fresh perspectives alongside historical ones, with several of this year’s alternative sections structured by young and renowned curators.

Martha Kirszenbaum will program an over 7,500-square-foot space with video works in the returning “Projections” section, and the fair is debuting “Commonities,” an open-concept section in which galleries will be grouped by theme or material. The latter section is helmed by the renowned exhibition maker Lorenzo Benedetti, marking his return to the Netherlands after a rather sudden and dramatic departure a couple of years ago (Benedetti was fired from his position as director of the preeminent De Appel contemporary arts center in Amsterdam just after a year on the job, and, disputing his dismissal, the board resigned shortly afterwards).

Housed in the former coffee and tobacco factories of the iconic Van Nelle Factory—the building alone is something of a wonder; Le Corbusier once called it “the most beautiful spectacle of the modern age”—the 19th edition of the fair runs from February 8–11. We picked out some of the highlights from Art Rotterdam‘s roster of emerging and established talent. You might be reading their names for the first time, but it likely won’t be the last. Here’s what’s not to miss at this year’s fair.

1. Pauline Curnier Jardin at Ellen de Bruijne Projects

Pauline Curnier Jardin’s video installation Viola Melon, Baiser Melocoton. Courtesy Ellen de Bruijne Projects.

The young artist, whose artistic world is filled with fantasy, monsters, magic, and zombies, will be showing works related to the highly trippy Viola Melon from 2013, a video installation centered around the Greek goddess Demeter. The French artist was included in last year’s “Viva Arte Viva” exhibition, where she presented the Grotto Profundo, Approfundita in a dark and cavernous room (she was one of artnet News’s highlights from the show).

2. Vivien Zhang at House of Egorn

Vivien Zhang, Pick o’ Peach 2 (2018). Courtesy House of Egorn

The digitally inclined London-based painter has a growing buzz around her name lately, especially since she made her way onto “Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia” last year. Zhang will be showing a breadth of new paintings at the fair with Berlin’s House of Egorn, a series of vibrant works that continue along her trajectory of intricate oil paintings with rippling, digital geometries.

3. Sofia Goscinski at unttld contemporary

Installation view from Sofia Goscinski’s exhibition at Stadtraum Friedrichshof in Vienna, Peau blanche, masques noirs. (Photo: Alexander Rosoli). Courtesy unttld contemporary.

The Austrian gallery unttld contemporary will be bringing works by Vienna-based Sofia Goscinski, presenting two remixed groups of works from her two solo exhibitions at the Stadtraum Friedrichshof and at the gallery late last year, bringing them together at Art Rotterdam for the first time. These new works evolve around the highly influential post-colonial theorist Frantz Fanon, using his revolutionary 1952 book Black Skin, White Masks and his ideas on liberation as points for departure.

4. Mary-Audrey Ramirez at Galerie MARTINETZ

Mary-Audrey Ramirez’S DROWNING WEE LAMB (CLOSE TO ARDMAIR) (2016). Courtesy the artist and MARTINETZ, Cologne.

Luxembourg-born, Berlin-based artist Mary-Audrey Ramirez’s fabric-based works and performative sculptures are tragic, funny, and profound. Ramirez will be showing three works with the Cologne-based gallery Petra Martinetz, including two new fabric paintings and a sculpture in the “New Art Section,” which focuses on up and coming talent, curated by Witte de With’s Associate Curator Patrick C. Haas.

5. Laure Prouvost in “Projections”

Still from Laure Prouvost’s DIT LEARN (2017). Courtesy the artist; Lisson Gallery, New York; carlier | gebauer, Berlin; and Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris.

Presented within Kirzenbaum’s film program “Projections,” which will be ongoing throughout the fair, the Turner Prize-winner will show her latest film DIT LEARN, which features a hypnotic and fast-paced procession of images and objects with an aural narration that entices the viewer to rediscover their own systems for learning and creating meaning.

6. Ali Kazma at AKINCI

Film still from Ali Kazma’s Tattoo (Resistance) (2013). Courtesy AKINCI.

The Turkish video artist Ali Kazma documents human activity, prodding for fundamental questions about the human condition and its relationship to economic, industrial, scientific, medical, social, and artistic spheres. Kazma represented Turkey at the 55th Venice Biennale and had a recent exhibition of 20 video works at Jeu de Paume for FIAC last fall. His 2013 film, Tattoo, which belongs to his Resistance series that was shown at the Venice Biennale, will be on view at the fair.

7. Anne de Vries at Martin van Zomeren

Anne de Vries’s installation at Van Nellefabriek Mask Off. Photo: Frank Hanswijk. Courtesy Martin van Zomeren.

The foreboding public work Mask Off by Anne de Vries is a part of the public works section “Open Air,” curated by by Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk, who has sought out works that overtly contradict the industrial aesthetic of the Van Nelle Factory, where the fair is being held. A massive, menacing tree should do the trick. The 26-foot-tall public work will tower over fair-goers; it was conceived by the Dutch artist who was a part of the ninth Berlin Biennial, curated by DIS.

 9. Off-Site: The New Kunsthalle Music 

Ari Benjamin Meyers, Symphony 80, (2017). Exhibition view at Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, June 25, 2017. Courtesy: the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin. Photo: © Andrea Rossetti

Hans Ulrich Obrist will be in conversation with the artist and composer Ari Benjamin Meyers about his innovative, genre-bending project “Kunsthalle for Music” on Thursday, February 8 at 1 p.m. This new exhibition will also be worth a visit; it recently opened at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in late January. It’s a roving exhibition of music and music-based artwork that transforms the Rotterdam museum into “a contemporary space for music that is not a concert hall.” Check out our interview with Meyers about this ephemeral exhibition.

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