Christoph Doswald, Bettina Leidl, Marieke Wiegel and Fiona Liewehr will be curating the special sections at SPARK Art Fair 2022 in the Vienna Marx Halle.
New areas of focus for new artists, different perspectives, and a broader target audience.
With its second appearance in Vienna's Marx Halle, SPARK Art Fair marks the start of the European art season from 24 to 27 March 2022.
After an overwhelming response at its premiere last year, the focus this year will remain on exhibiting solo presentations within the unique, internationally renowned, exhibition architecture.
"This year we are once again putting the work of the exhibiting artists at the centre of the fair. We will see even more diverse, newer and more exclusive art than last year," declares SPARK Managing Director, Renger van den Heuvel.
The three curated special sections "Spark Expanded", "Photography" and "The Fourth Wall" will add to this experience.
"We will - despite the still uncertain COVID 19 situation - once again be a powerful symbol for the Austrian and European art markets. With Christoph Doswald, Bettina Leidl, Marieke Wiegel and Fiona Liewehr on board, we have once again been able to win the support of internationally renowned curators to enable us to present new artists and perspectives in our special sections," says van den Heuvel.
SPARK Art Fair 2022 will offer an even better mix of emerging and established artists from national and international galleries and from carefully selected areas of focus, thereby igniting a spark in the world of contemporary art.
The original concept has been developed by adding a further visual presentation aspect and through defining new areas of focus. Three curated sections will again complement the programmes shown by the galleries in the main section this year.
“The development and questioning of traditional concepts of art and artworks is a productive constant in contemporary art. It is only natural that, under such conditions, the standardised art fair format of the exhibition booth has a restrictive effect” says Swiss curator, Christoph Doswald.
In his section ‘Spark Expanded’, selected galleries will present artworks which would find no place in the usual fair setup - be it because they are too extensive, too unwieldy, too ephemeral, or too experimental for widespread commercial use.
Doswald: "Despite the broad fundamental approach on which these works are based, they currently have a great social relevance: Often developed outside of art-institutional platforms and mainly physically situated there, these artworks undoubtedly generate a certain broad impact, either through their presentation in public locations, through participatory involvement or through their mass-media impulses, to mention just a few aspects."
The ‘Spark Expanded’ section will feature, among others, both the Austrian gallery LAYR, with works by Stano Filko, and also the Turkish exhibitor Dirimart, with a work by Sarkis.
Christoph Doswald is a freelance curator, lecturer and publicist living in Zurich. Between 2009 and 2020, he headed a working group for ‘Art in Public Spaces’ for the City of Zurich, where he initiated more than 400 art projects that dealt with urban development. In particular, the exhibitions "ART AND THE CITY" (2012, 2015 and 2018), conceived as a triennial, influenced discourse on Zurich's dynamic transformation and embedded new topics in the public consciousness. Together with Paolo Bianchi, Christoph Doswald will also be curating the 4th Industrial Art Biennial in Labin (Croatia).
The Photography Section curated by Bettina Leidl, from Vienna, and Marieke Wiegel, from the Netherlands, will offer a further medium.
The focus of the presentation is on female photographers, whose artistic approach to the medium is currently receiving significant international attention.
"In the sense of an everyday social practice, photography fulfils an important social and identity-forming function. As an integral part of the visual arts, the medium has long since proven its formal-aesthetic versatility and independence from its neighbouring disciplines. Furthermore, photography has clearly established itself as a popular collector's item, especially among a younger generation of art enthusiasts," explain the two curators.
Eight female artists and their galleries have been invited to display their works. Their works reflect on genuine photographic questions such as the ability to depict reality, as well as the ability to manipulate apparent image testimonies. Among others, the Belgian gallery IBASHO will be represented in this section by works from Margaret Lansink, and the Dutch gallery FLATLAND will display works by Valérie Belin.
Bettina Leidl is the initiator of the new FOTO WIEN festival, which centres around photography and which will take place for the second time in March 2022.
As Director of the Kunst Haus Wien, she has repositioned the museum, with exhibitions on art and ecology, as well as international photography exhibitions such as the current exhibition ‘Wenn der Wind weht’ (When the Wind Blows), Elina Brotherus, Elfie Semotan and ‘Nach uns die Sintflut’ (After Us, the Deluge), making it into one of the most successful exhibition halls in Vienna.
Bettina Leidl has been President of ICOM Austria since 2020.
Marieke Wiegel is the current Director of the Grote Kerk Breda Foundation. She has worked in the field of culture for over twenty-five years as a manager and curator for institutions such as World Press Photo (Amsterdam), Magnum Photos (Paris), Institut Néerlandais (Paris) and Nederlands Fotomuseum (Rotterdam).
In addition to managing this foundation, she is responsible for the high-quality cultural programme in the field of contemporary art and photography and has been a board member of the International Photo Biennale BredaPhoto and the networking organisation ArtTable. Currently, Marieke Wiegel is a board member of the Saint Catherine Valley Biennial for contemporary art.
The fourth wall is one of the central concepts in the theory of naturalistic theatre and refers to the imagined side of a classic proscenium stage, the one which is open to the audience. “Inspired by the exhibition architecture of SPARK, which offers all exhibitors the same quarter-circle segment that is flattened at the back, the idea arose to dedicate a section of the fair to multidisciplinary artists who work at the crossroads of visual and applied arts, architecture, theatre, furniture design or fashion," explains curator Fiona Liewehr.
In line with this concept of a synthesis of the arts, the invited artists will create environments which incorporate all elements of the fair's architecture and break through the fourth wall by inviting visitors to enter the space as players, as art and life become one.
Fiona Liewehr will be exhibiting works by Scott Clifford Evans (Charim Gallery) and Gilbert Bretterbauer (rauminhalt_harald bichler), amongst others.
Fiona Liewehr is an art historian, curator, author, and editor, based in Vienna. She is the Artistic Director of Franz Josef's Kai 3 - Space for Contemporary Art and has worked both at the Austrian Belvedere Gallery and MUMOK, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig.
Until 2018, Fiona Liewehr was the Director of Georg Kargl Fine Arts and BOX, curating numerous group and solo exhibitions including ‘I - in/finito, Katinka Bock, Bernhard Cella, Jiří Valoch’, ‘Barbara Hammer’, ‘The other is oneself’, ‘David Maljkovic’ and ‘Gerard Byrne’.
Opening / 24 March 2022
Preview / 12 – 5 pm
Vernissage / 5 – 8 pm
Fair days / 25 – 27 March 2022
Opening hours / 11 am – 7 pm
MARX HALLE / Karl-Farkas-Gasse 19, 1030 Vienna
Underground U3 (Erdberg – exit Nottendorfer Gasse or Schlachthausgasse – exit Schlachthausgasse)
Tram 18 (St. Marx, Viehmarktgasse), 71 (St. Marx)
Bus 74A (Viehmarktgasse), 80A (Neu Marx)
Train S7 (St. Marx – direct connection to Vienna International Airport)
23–26 March 2023 / 28–31 March 2024
Renger van den Heuvel @Kurt Prinz
Christoph Doswald @C_Dorothea&Christoph
Bettina Leidl @Stefan Oláh
Marieke Wiegel @Marcella Ruiz Cruz
Fiona Liewehr @Walter Liewehr