With one day left at Art Rotterdam, we offer you our take on the highlights at the fair and the artists you should be looking out for. For the jaded, Art Rotterdam is the place to discover fledgling talent that might just get your heart racing again (Turner Prize winners Elizabeth Price and Laure Provost both debuted their work at the fair when they were still relatively unknown). If that doesn't entice you, this year’s venue is the Van Nelle Factory, one of the most important historic industrial buildings in the world. Below are some of the artists whose works caught our eye:
1. Pieter Hugo
We interviewed South African photographer Pieter Hugo as part of our Cape Town special coverage in Elephant #14. Primarily producing portraits that document the chameleon-like nature of African communities, Hugo has said of his work: “I’ve travelled through Africa, I know it, but at the same time I’m not really a part of it… I can’t claim to [have] an authentic voice, but I can claim to have an honest one.” Stare into the unflinching eyes of his subjects at the Cokkie Snoei booth (46) and judge for yourself.
2. Alex Dordoy
London-based Alex Dordoy creates deceptively voluminous works that dwell at the crossroads between hand-made and mechanical processes. By re-appropriating reproduction techniques using mediums as varied as silicone and plaster, Durdoy transforms images of everyday items into rippling pools of colour. Look out for his work at the Grimm Gallery (60) booth.
3. Nadav Kander
Another photographer that we felt had to be on this list is Nadav Kander. The London-based photographer, artist and director is known for his stunning portraits of sitters among the likes of Barack Obama, David Lynch and Prince Charles. He says of his photographs: “I have never been interested in pictures that require the decisive moment. I’ve always been much more interested in pictures that could be taken on one day or another or might take four hours to take.” Kander’s work can be seen at the Torch Gallery (9) booth.
Margaret Salmon’s self-description as an artist who “creates filmic portraits that weave together poetry and ethnography” is very much to the point. Drawing from cinematic genres such as Italian Neo-Realism and the European Avant Garde, Salmon infuses her work with a refreshing, tender soulfulness. Represented by Office Baroque (110), her work is shown at the Projections section of the fair, which is a 900 metre square darkened area where a variety of video art will be screened.
The second video artist to make it onto this list, Mary Reid Kelley is known for her satirical black-and-white videos that are a complex mishmash of classical drama, contemporary pop culture and modern literature. Pulling together seemingly incongruous reference from Futurist manifestos to southern church socials, Kelley brings to her practice a bawdy dark humour that accentuates the expressionism of her films. Her work is also being shown at the Projections section and is represented by Pilar Corrias (102).
This year’s Art Rotterdam offers 25 new international galleries the opportunity to showcase their young talent at the New Art Section. We liked Anton Cotteleer’s otherworldly sculptures, which are made with acrylic, velvet, paint and iron – a good, curious mix of both hard and soft materials. Now that our interest has been piqued, we definitely hope to see more of his work soon. In the meantime, head over to Galerie Marion de Canniere’s booth (87) to check out his sculptures.
Dysideological Reasoning is Tinka Pittoors’s installation on display at the New Art Section. Featuring different types of flags, which are symbols par excellence of all identities, Pittoors’s work deliberately renders their semiotics unrecognisable through her careful arrangement of these emblems alongside other unrelated paraphernalia. She is represented by Base-Alpha Gallery (82) at the fair.
Art Rotterdam will run until tomorrow 9 February.
Art Rotterdam, Van Nellefabriek, Van Nelleweg 1, 3044BC Rotterdam
Images courtesy of the artists and the galleries.