THE MERCURY MAY BE FALLING IN BELGIUM, but photographically things are heating up for the second edition of FotoFever, an event that claims to be “the first European photography art fair”. Given events like Paris Photo, the exact basis for this assertion is unclear since the fair includes work by artists from outside the continent; presumably they are represented here by European dealers. Seems a bit of a hair-splitter definition…
FotoFever was launched last year in Paris. This year it will be staged in Brussels from 4–7 October at Tour and Taxi, the former canal-side Royal Warehouse currently under major renovation and used as a retail and trade fair venue.
The event was founded by Cécile Schall (daughter of the famous fashion photographer, Roger Schall), who specialises in organising contemporary art fairs. She works in partnership with Will Ramsay, himself the founder of Will’s Art Warehouse and the Affordable Art Fairs, both of which aim “to dispel some of the snootiness surrounding contemporary art”. So, it is perhaps not surprising that FotoFever sets out to encourage first-timers to start collecting and established collectors to broaden their scope. Indeed, their stated goal is “to conqueror Europe”, but I am sure they mean that in a nice way…
The presenters will not only include commercial galleries but also, in the Cultural Partners’ section of the fair, non-profit organisations such as FotoMuseum (Antwerp), Contretype Photo Space (Brussels) and Kaunas Photo Festival from Lithuania (who will be on stand CP10). Cécile Schall points to this symbiosis between public curiosity and passionate art dealers, underpinned by the trust engendered by institutional participation, as the main driver in successfully turning inquisitive visitors into art collectors.
THIS YEAR THERE WILL ALSO BE A SHOW by the young Polish artist Anna Orlowska, who has won the 2012 Fotoprize, awarded by FotoFever. Her engagingly disquieting images have been getting quite an outing in Europe, North America and Asia, including a show at the 2010 Pingyao International Photo Festival. Her prize includes the festival showing, a ‘parcours’ exhibition in the Photo District Marais, Paris (a community of photo galleries clustered around the Maison Européenne de la Photographie) and a spread in the contemporary art magazine Azart.
Some of the big names on show alongside the emerging talent include Terence Donovan, William Klein, Douglas Kirkland, Saul Leiter, Munkásci, Jean-Marie Périer, Sandy Skoglund and Alex Webb.
For further information on FotoFever, go here.
upper (main image): Tour and Taxi, Brussels [photo (cc) Torsade de Pointes]
middle: Cécile Schall talking about FotoFever 1 on French television (www.TV5MONDE.com)
lower: © Anna Orlowska from the series ‘Leakage’