The ever-dynamic VOLTA fair—the name of which was inspired by its initiation at a former power plant in Basel—opens to the public on June 13 at the Markthalle in Basel and runs through June 18.
This year's edition will present 68 exhibitors from 21 countries, with projects from artists representing 40 different countries. VOLTA is unique among art fairs for its invitation-only curated selection of exhibitors, and emphasis on solo (sometimes two- or three-artist) presentations that allow for the viewer to get an in-depth sense of the work in a short time.
The fair was founded in 2005 as an Art Basel satellite by pioneering dealers Kavi Gupta (Chicago), Friedrich Loock (Berlin), and Ulrich Voges (Frankfurt am Main). In 2008, it was acquired by Chicago-based Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. (MMPI), which also bought the Armory Show and launched a New York version that same year.
"As a 'pre-teen' and having moved into our grown up digs, VOLTA is maturing along with the years" said artistic director Amanda Coulson in a statement. "While we still represent emerging positions, the exhibitor base has also adapted organically to include positions of global relevance, in some cases regardless of decade conceived."
Though 90 percent of the exhibiting galleries have participated in past New York and Basel editions, this year the fair welcomes seven new exhibitors.
These include knoerle & baettig from Winterthur, which is presenting work by a pair of fast rising Cuban artists: Alejandro Campins, a finalist for the Farber Foundation's inaugural Young Cuban Artist of the Year award; and Frank Mujica, who was featured in the 2015 Bienal de la Habana.
Project ArtBeat, of Tbilisi, is presenting post-Soviet work by three Georgian artists: Gio Sumbadze, Nino Chubinishvili, and Lado Pockhua. Other brand new exhibitors include Galerie I'Inlassable (Paris), Causey Contemporary (New York), Anca Poterasu (Bucharest), SODA gallery(Bratislava), and taubert contemporary (Berlin).
Among other artists, Galerie Kornfeld, Berlin, is showing Michael John Kelly whose work reflects a variety of different influences, combining painting, printmaking, photography, drawing and collage.
VOLTA organizers said the fair seeks to acknowledge specific localized artistic efforts from decades past and to recontextualize their significance in a contemporary global context. To that extent, some exhibitors are looking back several decades for the present show. For instance, beta pictoris gallery, of Birmingham, Alabama, will present rubber and mixed-media paintings by late Mono-ha artist Yoshishige Furukawa, and Austrian-German conceptual photography duo Barbara and Michael Leisgen's "Mimesis" series.
Solo projects also remain fundamental to the VOLTA platform; 16 galleries will stage solo projects in Basel, while another 20 will position two artists in "dialogue" with one another.
Among noteworthy projects we're looking forward to are Senegalese artist Eric Pina at Ed Cross Fine Art (London), whose "Paysages" works on paper will be on view; an installation by German artist Yasmin Alt at Rockelmann &, of Berlin; and Turkish artist Alpin Arda Bağcik at Galeri Zilberman of Istanbul, who "renders disinformation and manipulation of current events" via photorealism.