Numerous artists visited the Zurich Art International contemporary fair this year, which made 18,000 entrances in over three days. During my visit I talked to many interesting people who presented their artwork alone or with a gallery. It was nice chatting with them and to get to know the ones who have fun making what they do.
No matter if they reproduce what they see or if it is the product of their imagination, the work of art contemporary artists is powerful and gets into our soul.
Gallery Primae Noctis in Lugano, CH
The owners of the gallery came with two amazing canvases of Chinese artist, Chen Shaoxiong, from his collection Collective Memory. They said he makes about 6/7 yearly. Shaoxiong used his own photographs and then makes drawings with Chinese ink. He studied at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts and started his career with videos, photography and drawings. He has also worked with collage and paint and has exposed in many places in the world such as the Venice and Shanghai Biennale, Luxembourg, Korea and the NoMa in New York.
Gallery Performance in Uster, CH
German painter Holger Lomeyer was also at Art International for the first time this year with his wife, Barbara. The friendly couple owns an art gallery and interior design company with African influence. After many years traveling the world, Lomeyer stopped in Africa, a country he fell in love with. At the fair he had made himself at home with around him some of his African sculptures and objects. While he showed me his book, he chatted about his time in Marocco.
The charming man from Düsseldorf studied at the Kunst Academy in the 1970’s before he started painting in Marrakesh in the early 1990’s. All begun with his Red Series. During his life he met Salvador Dali, the musician of Die Toten Hosen and he shared that for a decade he was the neighbour of Led Zeppelin. Lomeyer has been in talks shows, has worked in video clips and is a keen photographer. At Art International the visitor could admire various of his paintings like his flowers.
Gallery Geist in London, UK
It displayed the contemporary works of famous Scottish artist David Mach Ra, who is known to treat objects like a real magician. Some of his masterpieces are a yellow leopard or one with spikes, a beast coat hanger and some pin sculptures. As well he has made some collages like the Michael Douglas in Wall Street. In London you may have seen some of his works in museums like the Tate Gallery.
Stoller Relief Art in Wattenswil, CH
Markus Stoller and his good friend Peter Glücki talked to me about his 3D relief art.The gold and the mountains had drawn my attention to his large stand. Mr Stoller, a learnt mechanic, got the idea in 2005 and it took him six more years to develop a concept of reproducing mountain peaks in 3D with 24 carat gold plated. The end product is astonishing and with its frame in acrylic glass it makes a great design piece for a living room’s wall.
Glückli, a mountain climber, showed me some of the 3D arts on display like the Jungfraujoch and the Zermatt Matterhorn. At the moment Stoller only works on his art pieces during his spare time and by demand. He shared it takes him about 8 months to make a large frame. Stoller Relief has been in many fairs like the ones in Berlin, Copenhagen, Cologne and now in Taipei.
Gallery Fabbrik, Founex, CH
Fabienne Zehetbauer represented her own contemporary art works at the fair. She brought her new POP ART pieces from her bulldogs collections. She made 2 bulldogs series, one with 8 colourful bulldogs in resin and one in concrete. As well she was very happy to show the Swiss visitors her English bulldog 120×120 size prints. She shared that the people going by her stand reacted nicely to her work no matter the age. The bulldogs are interesting and lovable even for those who may not be bulldog or dog fans.
Claude Roegiers, Paris, FR
I met again with great pleasure Claude Roegiers who came with his series “Traveling Still” and “Women Portraits”. “Women Portraits” was only shown before at a private vernissage in March in Brussels and it was good for him to see the reaction of the people. He made twenty-five portraits of women across the centuries. Sixteen of them are surrounded by a golden frame. The colours on the women vary from fuchsia, pink to red.
But why did he put women like this in a frame? He explained that when he was a child he saw at his parents a painting in a golden frame of a young woman looking at a window. This memory never left him and he developed emotions over the years. Of course he knows he can’t show his women everywhere in the world as most show nudity. My favourite one is the girl of a 1907 postcard, which he changed in his own way.
“Traveling Still”, a series from 2012 has made a big hit everywhere he confessed, especially in New York and in Hong Kong. He made about 50 of them and just sold 7 in New York. If you wonder why all of his paintings have a veil across them, Roegiers explained for two reasons, first his textile influence (he was once a fashion designer in the United States) and his memories of a trip to China. When he visited Hong Kong about 25 years ago for the first time, he sat down at his hotel bedroom’s window and looked at the scenery behind a veil. Since it has been his signature. Do stop by his stand if you ever get the chance.
Victor Shtivelberg, Lindau GER
If some photographed artwork can look relatively different when seen live as online, it is not the case of Victor’s paintings. His paintings look as magnificent at a fair as on the internet.
Victor, a friendly Russian, living with his wife and 3 children, in Lindau was at Art International for the third time. He gently pointed out he could speak little English or German so I chatted with his wife. She said her husband makes about 25 paintings a year, sometimes 40 to 50. This is less to when he was younger and with no kids, he could make about 100! The couple owns a gallery and Victor has his own atelier there. Each room has paintings with one technique. It can take him from 2 days to 3 to 4 months to finish a masterpiece. At the moment said Victor I have about 70 unfinished works. Victor uses lots of green, blue, yellow and orange in his paintings. He paints Russian churches, landscapes, people, African ladies and even angels. It is all fantasy or what he sees lie the shapes of clouds in his painting “the return of the fighter”, looking like UFO. Victor’s Shtivelberg paintings are just beautiful and his calendar make great Christmas gifts!
Jean Francois Debongnie in Brussels, BEL
Jean Francois Debongnie’s paintings of flowers called out for me. He said they come out of his imagination and has been painting variations of flowers for the last twenty years. He paints with Chinese ink on canvas and works on the floor with water. He explained he puts about 6 to 10 layers of ink and it can take up to one week for his work to be done as he can only put a new layer when it is completely dried. He got his Chinese influence by living in Singapore for two decades.
Gordon Hopkins, Brussels BEL
Just on the over side of Debongnie’s paintings were the ones of American painter, Gordon Hopkins. Hopkins, who lives now in Brussels with his wife and child, left California about 13 years ago. He used to be a landscape architect and became a painter in Belgium.
He likes spending time in the summer in the South of France where he paints and he confessed he often goes to the Luberon for about 2 months. What an amazing painting he made and brought to the fair “Orchard in the Luberon!”
Marie Noelle Ronaquette, Forcalquier, FR
Through her smiling face, Marie Noelle brought much sun to Zurich. This joyful woman from the small village of Forcalquier came with her bronze sculptures. She shared she works in her atelier, which is in a very old house. Her first time in Zurich was positive as she sold some pieces and had many people interested in her work. She explained that when sculpting she tries to retell a story. Her bronzes are unique and have names such as “La Grande Curieuse” (the big curious) and “La Folle Glissade” (The Crazy Slide).
Artbycebular, Wädenswil, CH
Another interesting and friendly artist at Art International was Renata Cebular, presenting her series “Linear thinking in non linear world”. Originally from Croatia, Renata lives near Zurich. She creates spontaneous lines with ball-point pens or colourful pencils with movements that follow her intuition. She has been doing this since her childhood and made a break-through with her art in New York.
She also uses her art in interior designs. She makes tables and other objects like the ones she brought to the art fair. “Fashion is art,” she said joyfully. She is not looking for mass production but to help people individually and makes something they like. Look at this great table!
Gallery Sophie Héger, La Bruyère, BEL
Anne Sophie Morelle, a very likeable person from Belgium, visited the Zurich fair with her gallerist, Sophie Héger. Morelle showed me her bronze sculptures and talked about them with love as they are a part of herself. She brought “Mon Antigone”, a lady with no head with her hands tied up behind her back”, a wolf and “Diaphane”, a 120 kg sculpture attached from the ceiling, balancing herself gently.
Diaphane is a woman completely bond just like an Egyptian mummy. Morelle said peacefully looking at her that she is relaxing. “She is here, she is over there.” Then, she continued saying with a deep breath of happiness “I wanted to make it”. Put together in 2012 Morelle only made up to 8 pieces. Other of her themes are people and animals like the wolf.
Before becoming a sculptress Morelle was an osteopath in Brussels. Then, she studied at the Académie St. Josse and then the Académie de Braine-l’Alleud. Her sculptures have travelled to many places like Montréal, Toronto, Luxemburg, Crans Montana and Paris. She has been surrounded by people loving art like her husband, Vincent Buckens, and her grand-father the Baron of Voghel. She said to Ida Jacobs during an interview for her book “Anne Sophie Morelle Bronze Sculptures” edited by Han Art (2008) that he spent a lot of time around artists and always gave her good advice and encouragement in what she enjoyed doing.
With Anne Sophie Morelle you travel back to old times. Her sculptures make you happy and you leave them with peace in mind! No doubt they could be displayed in famous museums.