The 13th edition of the arteBA Contemporary Art Fair was a tremendous success: the specialized critics and the media praised the high standard of the exhibition and the quality of the works exhibited. Another indication of success was the great attendance, which increased towards the weekend and the May 25th holiday, with full attendance. This year the structure of the Fair underwent some changes which proved to be quite adequate as the general appearance of the fair became tidier and more precise even to the detail.
Special visitors from abroad were Alfons Hug, curator of the Sao Paulo Biennial, one of the most important events together with the Venice Biennial; and Rosina Gómez-Baeza, director of ARCO (Contemporary Art Fair) of Madrid. They both showed their amazement at the growth of arteBA in these last years.
Fifty-nine art galleries took part in arteBA2004. Among the foreign galleries were Thomas Cohn, Nara Roesler and Baró-Cruz Galería, all from Brazil; Fernando Pradilla, from Spain and Colombia; Astarté and Kraisler from Spain; Durban-Segnini from USA and Venezuela; Vasco Castresana from USA; Entre Estudio y Galería from Mexico; Sur from Uruguay; Cecilia Torres Ltd-Oscar Prato from New York and Montevideo; and Villa Sonja from Switzerland. Other participants were 6 art dealers, l7 non-profit making institutions, 23 corporations and institutions related to art and culture and 11 specialized publications.
Within a space of 10,300 squared meters, arteBA was able to display three important projects: the Primer Premio arteBA - Petrobras de Artes Visuales (the arteBA – Petrobras First Prize for Visual Arts) addressed in its first issue to three-dimensional works, with Sebastián Gordin as First Acquisition Prize winner, Alberto Passolini as Second Prize winner, and Celeste Martínez and Mariana Ferrari, as mention winners. The RED Project was a novel contest with two purposes: to present the latest trends and to open new routes for the circulation of all the artists of the country, working either individually or collectively. The project Eloísa Cartonera was awarded the First Prize. The Fourth arteBA Graphics Biennial provided a space dedicated to different manifestations of contemporary graphics. There were two categories of awards. In the first category, Mabel Rubli was awarded the First Prize and Celia Marcó del Pont, the second; and in the second category the awarded artists were Patricio Miguel Bosch, Ana Dolores Nova and Andrea Fabiana Fernández. The Biennial space was sponsored by Alto Paraná.
For the fourth consecutive year Bodegas Chandon purchased behind closed doors the first work of the arteBA Fair to be donated to the Provincial Museum of Fine Arts Timoteo Navarro, of Tucumán. The prize-winning work Unión Argentina de Corderas Patagónicas (Argentine Union of Patagonian Lambs) of Sergio Avello was exhibited at gallery Dabbah Torrejón Arte Contemporáneo.
Besides the RED Project, the Grupo Orígenes sponsored the II Young Art “Orígenes” Contest. The public chose the project called Sonoridad Amarilla, an independent collective project that consisted in a library where there were false books made of wood that contained works of art. Through a computer, the visitors were able to browse the contents of the “books” and obtain the corresponding material with the assistance of a librarian. This project was enthusiastically received by the public and this was made evident at the polls of the Orígenes stand.
This was the second time that the Fair included spaces for relax: a zen garden in the Chill Out Zurich space; and the Chill Out MINI space where Marcela Moujan won the MINI contest with an intervention of a real MINI Cooper.
There were also important institutional exhibitions from abroad, such as Powered by Deutsche Bank composed of graphics of German artists like Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke and Georg Baselitz, among others; Agua sin ti no soy (Water, I can’t exist without you) in the Generalitat Valenciana stand, an advance of the project of Luigi Settembrini for the next issue of the Valencia Biennial, to be held in 2005; and Arte Brasileño en Colecciones Argentinas (Brazilian art in Argentinian collections) organized by the Fundación Centro de Estudios Brasileños and the Brazilian Embassy with works by artists Cildo Meireles, Edgard De Souza, Adrianne Gallinari, Tunga, Jac Leirner, Walesca Soares, Waltercio Caldas, Vic Muniz, Paulo Brusky, Casio Vasconcelos, Marcos Chávez and Laurita Salles.
For the present issue of the Fair, arteBA specially designed a Collectors Programme , addressed to important collectionists, local and abroad. This programme was sponsored by JP Morgan.
The Fair has an 150 m2 Auditorium that can accommodate 120 people, which was the venue for seven debate groups as well as conferences, presentation of artists’ books and specialized publications. These events were coordinated by renowned professionals like María Sheila Cremaschi, Laura Buccelatto, Ana Longoni, Mercedes Casanegra, Valeria González, Florencia Braga Menéndez and Ana María Battistozzi. The arteBA Foundation invited five important cultural referents to take part in programmed talks: Rosina Gómez-Baeza (Director of ARCO), María Asunción Cabrera (Director of Fundación de La Caixa), Alfons Hug (Curator at the Fundación Bienal de San Pablo), Valentina Castellani (Assistant Vice President of Contemporary Art of Sotheby´s New York) and María Elena Ramos (ex Director of the Fine Arts Museum of Caracas). The events at the Auditorium were sponsored by Canal (á)
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