radART – Market Art Fair 2017

Market Art Fair is back! Jesper Dahl gives us his highlight reel from the fair.

Market Art Fair has a new location, and it is perfect. Last year the fair was held in an office building which , at least to me, distorted how the art was perceived. The grandest was cramped by the ceilings and the brightest was battled by the paneled roof. This year the fair is held at Färgfabriken, which has a contemporary culture and arts focus year round.

As I walked up the dark stairs at the preview, towards the largest hall, the approaching sounds and the light reminded me of international fairs and it brought a smile to my face. In terms of the art, the fairs encourage the galleries to bring their A-game. It borders on bragging, but not in a bad way.

The trip out to Färgfabriken is worth it. By visiting Market Art Fair you get to see more good art in a day than you normally get in a couple of months – we aren’t spoiled with great commercial art in the North.


Gallery Steinsland Berliner – Ylva Carlgren and NUG

GSB, a Stockholm darling, brings us a carefully curated booth where the artists are beautifully juxtaposed. Ylva Carlgren is represented through multiple paintings hung symmetrically on two walls, creating what is read as one large work. Carlgren’s paintings are precise to the point of insanity, and displayed next to each other they look as if printed. I wonder if it isn’t a shame that most people will assume that they are prints and not see them for the incredible display of watercolor control that they are. Facing Carlgren’s many mid-sized shows of an extremely steady hand are two large canvases of chaos, courtesy of NUG. They are just covered enough to start transitioning into abstractions rather than traces of the method. In this context they are great, the visitor can learn about both of the artists by what they are mirroring.

Galleri Tom Christoffersen – Gudrun Hasle and Henrik Menné

The Danish gallery caught my eye as they play Hasle and Menné against each other in an intriguing way. Hasle shows light, pale, personal diary-like embroidery on textile. It is strong, feminine and leaves plenty of trace of personality and the hand. It is beautifully personal and the language suggests a naive, nostalgic or dreamy state. Terence Koh would have read it with ease. Henrik Menné shows the opposite. Menné’s works are abstracted prints made by a print-making machine in front of the visitors. The artist IS there, yet is not involved. The booth is an exposé of what is expected and accepted by a female vs. male artist. I personally find Gudrun Hasle to be carrying the booth.

Wetterling Gallery – Frank Stella

I wanted to write “Frank F*cking Stella” in the header because that is how I feel about his works as well as his status in the art world. Stella is a legend and a rebel, and a grandfather of multiple movements and he needs no explanation. Wetterling brings us a few smaller, very recent works, as a teaser of a future show at their Kungsträdgården gallery. I told everyone who wanted to listen yesterday about when I met Frank Stella a few summers ago at Bernar Venet’s private home. I asked him about the pavilion he built for Venet. “Mr. Stella, what are we looking at here?” and he simply replied, in his very New York voice, “Well, that is concrete, and the roof was made by a sail-maker in France…”. Unapologetic, legendary and matter-of-factly.

Erik Nordenhake – Sophie Tottie

Erik Nordenhake, formerly of Belenius/Nordenhake, has recently opened up a small space in Stockholm of his own, and the shows so far have been promising. The gallery brings us an artist from the former B/N stable; Sophie Tottie, who shows us two very different types of works that echo of textile, documentation, physical movement. The vertical works in ink remind me of medical graphs, EKGs and Sol LeWitt. The linework bears trace of the artist’s presence, fatigue, strength and dedication. The horizontal works, which consist of paintings and the tables they were made on, talk of textile and depth. Although they could hang alone without the tables, the addition brings us into sculpture and anchors the works in larger context of production. They bring us closer to the artist’s process.

Other highlights:

Andréhn – Schiptjenko – Annika von Hausswolff

It is impossible to mention the fair without thanking Andréhn – Schiptjenko for bringing von Hausswolff. They make sure that foreign visitors get to see one of the most important Swedish artists.

KANT – Asmund Havsteen-Mikkelsen and Magnus Pettersen 

The Danish gallery is mentioned for their incredibly visually appealing booth. The sculptures and the paintings look like they belong in the same very modern home. All of the works are decidedly modernist, and architectural, both by construction, reference and material.

Galleri Andersson/Sandström – Karin Westman (and Astrid Sylwan)

The gallery shows Westman alongside sculptures by Sylwan, an interesting way of highlighting Sylwan’s migration from the wall to the room. The paintings by Westman are sublime.