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Anja Knoess

Volta 14 Art Fair Tour through Kristen Knupp’s Eyes

I traveled to Basel in June 2018, taking the train from Geneva and arriving at the Volta 14 Art Fair just in time to meet AWAD’s Susan Mumford, along with Volta’s David Goodman and Brian Fee along with our tour group.  A collaboration between Art Decision Magazine, AWAD and Volta, we met in the entrance of Volta’s new venue, a light-filled, spacious former industrial building housing about 75 international galleries.  The tours’ focus, fittingly given AWAD’s involvement, was to focus on showing our group women-owned galleries and women artists. We saw six galleries in total, the highlights of which are detailed below.

Starting off at London-based Fiumano Clase, we met Francesca Fiumano (AWAD member) who showed us pieces by Shadi Rezaei, an artist working in many media.  The photographs on display seemed to reference mythological representations of masculinity, overlaid with a modern interpretation of masculinity.  These images ask questions about meaning and history of identity.

Also on display was edgy work by Rhine Bernardino whose pieces focus on the body.  A seemingly shiny, decorative installation at the front of the gallery proved to be much more upon further investigation.

We then stopped at Galerie Anja Knoess from Cologne, Germany, and saw work by Sarah McRae Morton, a painter from Pennsylvania whose work depicts surreal, dream-like reinterpretations of 19th century paintings, often with references to American historical events, such as George Washington crossing the Potomac River.

Another highlight of the tour was Galleria Paola Verrengia, from Salerno, Italy.  Spanish artist Amparo Sard was on the stand when we visited and discussed her work in which she uses a needle to pierce paper and create bas-relief images in the paper.  The result is delicate, detailed and fragile monochromatic pieces.   Another artist’s work on the stand, Maria Elisabetta Novello, uses ash from burnt wood to create layered landscapes in glass vitrines hung from the wall.  The ash represents the essence of the work, as it is transformed and manipulated through a thoughtful process.  The pieces embrace the transience and fleeting nature of life.

And our tour was fleeting as well.  Lasting a little over an hour, we finished with a round of coffees in the Volta 14 bar, where we met the fair’s creative director, Amanda Coulson and had a quick discussion about the positioning of Volta in relation to the main fair and other satellite fairs.  Volta sees itself as the leading fair for showcasing new international galleries.  We look forward to creating another tour with a similarly interesting theme at next year’s fair.

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