Art Guide East, 16 June 2015
Art Safari 2015 had recently its second edition in the historical Ciclop building in Bucharest. The young Romanian art fair aims to provide platform for emerging as well as well-known Romanian galleries and artists from all over the country. We asked Ioana Ciocan and Silvia Rogozea, the directors of Art Safari 2015, about the importance, possible role and speciality of the art fair on a local and regional level and about their strategies, plans and visions for the future.
Kinga Lendeczki: Art Safari has been organized for the second time this year. Why was it important to initiate an art fair in Bucharest right in between two great centres or springboards for the CEE region Istanbul and Vienna?
Ioana Ciocan and Silvia Rogozea: We believe that there is a strong niche in the Eastern European art market. There are a lot of unexploited emerging local or national markets in the area, and Art Safari, scheduling seriously, takes that into account, creating an opportunity for collectors and large public to have a bird’s-eye view on contemporary art from young European markets. Since its first edition in 2014 a new approach for an art fair was the presence of national and regional Romanian museums showcasing modern and patrimonial art, therefore the date chosen for the fair gravitates around the Night of the Museum date (usually the month of May). In 2015 this section focused on artworks that were not shown publicly since the 1989 Romanian Revolution and were stored in basements of museums, most of the times in bad conservation conditions, due to poor state funding. The artworks showed in the museum section were highly appreciated by the public and it felt like a privilege to be able to rediscover these forgotten testimonies of recent art history.
K.L.: Is it meant to be a showcase of the ever strengthening and more and more internationally exposed contemporary art of Romania or is it meant to be a regional fair?
I.C. and S.R.: The second edition of Art Safari focused on Romanian Art not only from Bucharest, but also from cultural centres of already international acknowledgment in the contemporary art scene such as Cluj or Timișoara. We also had an increase in international participation with galleries from Italy, Denmark, Austria and Germany. Our future development plans for the next three editions of Art Safari include an emphasis on galleries from emerging regional markets and neighbouring countries.
K.L.: What can be the role of Art Safari in the development of the local art scene or within the region?
I.C. and S.R.: We highly value the amazing effort of the local Romanian galleries on participating in Art Safari 2015 and the careful curatorial selection was highly appreciated by the collectors and public. For 2016, we envisage a higher participation of Romanian galleries, as well as an international focus on New Balkania – contemporary art galleries from the enlarged Balkans region (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey).
K.L.: By the growing number of domestic exhibitors we can conclude that it has already fulfilled the role of a common platform for the contemporary art in Romania stemming not only from Bucharest but also from the globally known centre of Cluj, Timisoara etc…
I.C. and S.R.: Art Safari Bucharest is dedicated to (re-) presenting Romanian art from all over the country, we will continue enlarging the platform to other smaller cities and towns, where one could find extremely interesting galleries and artists.
K.L.: You took the co-leadership of the fair this year, comparing with last year how would you evaluate the fair, what were the major changes?
I.C. and S.R.: We cannot really compare the two editions, as each of them had different timings. As far as new programs, the second edition initiated a curated program of multimedia and performance works, entitled The Space, including 18 Romanian young artists up to 25 years old, namely: Adina Mocanu, Alexandra Sandu, Anca Știrbacu, Andrei Mateescu, Beniamin Popescu, Complexul saloanelor, Cristi Gheorghe, Diana Miron, doamnadia, Gabriela Mateescu, Marina Oprea, Marius Jurca, Lia Bira, Livia Mateiaș, Roberta Curcă, Sabin Gârea, Tristan Alexandru, Vlad Anghel. A second debuting program was Talk Non Stop, artists nocturnal talks on the occasion of the Night of Museums, independent artists such as: Sorina Vazelina, Saddo, Mircea Pop, Roman Tolici, Emanuel Borcescu, and Ștefan Ungureanu.
K.L.: Who do you regard as your rivals or in other words models? What are the best practices you insisted on integrating?
I.C. and S.R.: We believe in competition, it can only bring out good practices more so in an emergent market as Romanian contemporary art market: increase in artists’ presence in galleries portfolios, more transparent sales, mobility for artists within the country, etc.
K.L.: A striking difference of the two editions is the venue, as opposed to last year’s edition, which took place in tents, Art Safari 2015 was hosted in the historical Ciclop building. Why did you choose this place as venue?
I.C. and S.R: Ciclop was our first choice for the second Art Safari Bucharest, and we have to thank once again our fellow colleagues from street art movement, who organized an event in the Ciclop building in 2013, hence drawing more creative attention on the historical levelled parking. We thought it was perfect for our vision, and we were right. Both professionals and public loved it!
K.L.: Who are the visitors of the fair?
I.C. and S.R.: This year we had almost 20000 visitors, 19716 to be exact, a 25% increase from the first edition. We think that it is an organic growth, with so much more potential in the metropolitan cultural scene.
K.L.: Has the fair generated new collectors? What is the collectors’ base of the fair?
I.C. and S.R.: We had quite a feedback from the first-time buyers segment, where one could see again the potential of the contemporary art market for the next 5 years. The collectors, both beginners and more savvy connoisseurs, started to show a larger interest in contemporary and ultra-contemporary Romanian art, and we do believe that we are witnessing a shift in collectors’ preferences.
K.L.: Where do you see Art Safari in 5 years’ time?
I.C. and S.R.: Art Safari is joining the professional art market collective effort in promoting young, and also well-known Romanian artists, as well as encouraging the dialogue between artists, galleries owners and their public. For the next five editions, Art Safari Bucharest wants to position itself on the map of large European contemporary art fairs, with an increased focus on the neighbouring markets, both established and emergent ones. Following its general scope in promoting and encouraging young artists, Art Safari also intends to continuously develop and invest in the curated programs for the future editions.