Luxembourg Art Week | Small sales and big dramas
As the second edition of the Luxembourg Art Fair opened its doors last week, we learnt that the director of Luxembourg’s national Modern art museum, Enrico Lunghi, is to quit after eight years at the institution.
His departure caused ripples within the fair, and numerous galleries, dealers and art world professionals were saddened by the news, appalled at the ongoing revolt conducted against Lunghi from within the institution. Other international polemics also contributed to the strange atmosphere within which the fair opened on November 8. A bigger audience may have been present (with 11,000 visitors against last year’s 7,000), but there was no overwhelming praise. With a selection of galleries of varying quality, and an “under-qualified” audience according to gallerist Guy Pieters, LAW was underwhelming for many exhibitors.
For this second edition, the fair has introduced the “Take Off” section, proposing works for less than €3,000. Thirty-five professional galleries were organized under the bracket “Positions” including 23 international participants, most of whom were left to the wayside as Luxembourgeois institutions came to do business with Luxembourgeois galleries, to buy works by Luxembourgeois artists. Alex Reding from gallery Nosbaum Reding and coordinator of the fair explained that due to the ferocious competition at other international fairs, it was decided to favor the local market, with non Luxembourgeois galleries coming from Germany, Belgium, Austria and France. Having such a restrained circle meant that the fair was overwhelmingly focused on the Benelux region. Guy Pieters gallery from Knokke-Heist decided to bring a bankable selection of artists including works by Julian Schnabel, Jan Fabre, Christo, César and Arman, whilst Luxembourg-based gallery Hervé Lancelin presented work by the winner of the 2015 Luxembourg Art Prize Albert Janzen; the artist uses Photoshop to work on the entanglement of lines that he hand draws onto paper, sandwich panels or whiteboards. Wild Project Gallery, also from Luxembourg, presented work by Sabine Pigalle, giving a nod to early Flemish painters.
Whilst Luxembourg’s national Modern art museum (MUDAM) might be waving goodbye to its director, they are currently celebrating the 10th anniversary of the museum with an impressive retrospective of work by Wim Delvoye. The exhibition allows visitors to discover some of his most controversial works, as well as lesser known pieces from Cloaca à Art Farm to more recent work including Cement Truck (2016) and Super Cloaca (2007). The majestic architecture of the building conceived by I.M.Pei houses Delvoye in his entirety.
Wim Delvoye, Untitled (Truck Tyre), 2013. Photo : Studio Wim Delvoye, Belgique, ©ADAGP, Paris 2016 / Wim Delvoye
Other celebrations are taking place at Casino, celebrating 20 years of existence, having reopened in March after renovations. The Franco-Canadian artist Aude Moreau is presenting a solo show “La Nuit Politique” (A Political Night) curated by Louise Déry, director of the UQAM gallery from Montreal. It is without a doubt, one of the most powerful exhibitions of the moment. In the wake of the election of Donald Trump to President-elect, “La Nuit Politique” sadly echoes the doubts and anxieties that currently loom over the world. Plunged in an all-consuming darkness, Moreau presents two very strong video works THE END in the Background of Hollywood, filmed from a helicopter, revealing and documenting the immense tentacles of Los Angeles, finishing by circling the City National Plaza displaying the message THE END through the open windows of offices. The apocalyptic nocturnal visions of Los Angeles provide an unsettling forecast for a world in crisis. The deafening sounds of the helicopters add to feelings of anxiety and panic. Aude Moreau’s Los Angeles is reminiscent of David Lynch or Michael Mann. The sprawling of the city leaves no room for silence.
©Aude Moreau and Galerie de l'UQAM
What’s happening next?
LAW will be back again next year, organiser Reding is hoping to invite Lisson Gallery to participate. The gallery represents Tony Cragg whose work will be part of a retrospective on the artists at MUDAM from February through September 2017.
Wim Delvoye, until 8 January 2017
Aude Moreau, “La nuit politique” until 8 January 2017