SPARK Art Fair Vienna is debuting an innovative new format from 24–27 June 2021, offering an exciting way for collectors, museums and institutions to discover works from both challenger and established artists with an international scope.
In a first for art fairs, SPARK will exclusively feature solo presentations by artists and will offer curated sections led by three top-flight curators: „Utopia: Post-War“ by Sabine Breitwieser, „Perspectives“ by Tevž Logar, and „Interface – Contemporary New Media and Digital Art“ by Marlies Wirth.
Building on the foundations laid by this year’s inaugural fair, SPARK is set to develop a production ecosystem, with artists creating works specifically to debut at the fair and providing collectors with a unique opportunity to access primary positions.
SPARK will be held at the historic Marx Halle in central Vienna with a comprehensive offer of peripheral experiences aligned with the current Covid-19 regulations.
This section compiled by Sabine Breitwieser is dedicated to the open and multiple narratives of post-war art. Much as we are still experiencing the aftermath of the Second World War and gaining new insights into it, the way we view the art of this period is in flux. While the attempt to capture and reflect on the events, destruction and trauma was initially concentrated on a few countries, this has long since become a global project. The same applies to the art of this period, which first reflected the deep shock felt in society and then evolved to create new forms of art, networks and utopias.
The section includes 16 solo presentations by local and international galleries who have close ties with the selected artists. Special features, including experimental film and dance from the post-war period, will round off the exhibition and address other distribution channels. This section does not claim to offer a complete overview of the art from this period – something that would not be possible even if the focus were just limited to Austria. In a time dominated by a global pandemic, the exhibition aims to throw a spotlight on the work of individual artists, rather than relying on canons of work or systematic approaches.
SABINE BREITWIESER is currently a 2020/2021 Getty Scholar at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles and a curator and author based in Vienna. 2013 until 2018 she held the position of Director at the Museum der Moderne Salzburg. Previously, from 2010 until 2013 she served as chief curator of the Media and Performance Art department at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. From 1988 until 2007, she was the founding director and chief curator of the Generali Foundation in Vienna. She has lead and curated more than 150 monographic and thematic exhibitions throughout Europe and the United States and has also had around 100 works and numerous essays published. In 2012, Sabine Breitwieser received the Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts in New York.
ONE STORY, DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES
“Perspectives” symbolically refers to Kurosawa’s idea of the Rashomon effect. This term relates to a specific situation in which an event is interpreted or described differently by the people involved. Invited galleries present artistic positions that seek to reflect on the working environment of artists, whether through critical questioning of identity, gender and business relationships, or in relation to power politics and authoritarianism. The focus of this section can be understood - especially in view of the new world order after the pandemic – as an act of symbolic resistance and at the same time testifying to a sense of time and space.
Art is indispensable when it comes to shaping and understanding life and ways of living. Looking at the world through the prism of art acts as an antidote to the numbness we feel, due to violence which dominates our everyday lives. Art allows people to see the bigger picture and recognise how things are interconnected, thereby helping to anticipate changes and their political, social and economic consequences. The section serves as a narrative link between galleries and individual artistic practices, defining social and political frameworks that enable us to contemplate the possibility of initiating change.
TEVŽ LOGAR works as independent curator, editor and writer. Logar has curated numerous group and solo exhibitions, including the Slovenian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennial, exhibitions and projects in New York, Montreal, Geneva, Beirut, Budapest, Lódź, and Berlin. For the 58th Venice Biennial in 2019 he was curatorial advisor to the Pavilion of the Republic of North Macedonia. 2009 to 2014 he was artistic director of Škuc Gallery in Ljubljana. Logar is a co-founder of the Ulay Foundation (2014) in Amsterdam and is a member of their advisory board. In 2014 he was nominated for the Gerrit Lansing Independent Vision Award for international independent curators in New York. Tevž Logar lives in Rijeka, Croatia.
CONTEMPORARY NEW MEDIA AND DIGITAL ART
The section focuses on digital and new media art - an area of interest to curators, institutions, galleries, and collectors alike. This theme addresses the new and exciting possibilities of digital technologies. As a young, multidisciplinary and hybrid art form it experiments with different types of artistic expression, forms of representation, sensory and perceptual modes. Confronted with the tensions faced in a world of technological advances, scientific discourses and social developments, all forms of new media art, are engaged in exploring the radical changes taking place in modern communication.
MARLIES WIRTH is an art historian and curator at the MAK – Museum of Applied Arts, in Vienna. As a curator for Digital Culture she is involved in the conception of the VIENNA BIENNALE and heads the MAK Design Collection. She curated exhibitions such as: ‘UNCANNY VALUES. Artificial Intelligence & You’ (2019), ARTIFICIAL TEARS (2017), and the new MAK DESIGN LAB. She is a part of the curatorial team of the touring exhibition ‘Hello, Robot. Design between Human and Machine’ (A cooperation of Vitra Design Museum, MAK and Design Museum Gent) and was co-director for the 12th Global Art Forum (‘I am not a Robot’) in Dubai and Singapore (2018).