Art Guide East, 2 November 2015
Knoll Galleries Vienna- Budapest and their director Hans Knoll are well known for the CEE region, Hans Knoll was the first contemporary art gallerist from abroad to open a gallery in Budapest and ever since then he is one of the most competent gallerist to turn to when it come to Central Eastern European art thank to his ongoing research of the region and the art tours the organise to the major centres. For viennacontemporary he showed three young artists from Poland and they all made success.
Tina Kaplár: How long have you been exhibiting at Vienna? How do you evaluate Vienna Contemporary's roe for the CEE region in general?
Hans Knoll: As a both Vienna and Budapest based gallery I have always participated at the art fairs in Vienna as it is of course the most important fair not only in Austria but for the whole CEE region without any real competitors.
TK: How did the Viennese scene anticipate the newly branded fair?
HK: Most of us found it risky and we were sceptical and critical about loosing the old brand and also found the date a bit dangerous because of all the other major events within the CEE region like the Gallery Weekend Budapest two weeks before the fair, the Warsaw Gallery Weekend running parallel the fair and the start of the Moscow Biennale also coincided with the new date. But everything went well and we were all very happy with the outcome.
TK: The fair has become slightly smaller in size and out of the exhibiting 99 galleries exactly the third came from the CEE region, do you find it a good strategy?
HK: As opposed to fairs like Art Brussels where there is a long tradition of art collecting and a higher number of potential buyers here in Vienna and in the CEE region where the number of local collectors is relatively small the only way to attract international audience is through this way: defining a clear focus. They managed pretty well, we were were happy with our results at the fair.
TK: Where do your collectors come from?
HK: We had a record number of new clients and they were from many different countries like the UK , from the Netherlands and from Switzerland as well.
TK: On what grounds did you select what to come with and expose?
HK: As the fair has this strong CEE focus and we are doing several projects in Poland we decided to exhibit works by three young Polish artist. We were pleased how the works by our debuting artist Kamil Kukla were sold, it was a very important feedback, and here in Vienna we could sell his works also to a Polish museum. I met Kuklas works during my recent researches in Poland. The works by the other artist Bartosz Kokosinski were also very well received, he was unknown when we started to work with him a few years ago, even for the local scene. With Tomek Baran we have been working already for several years and his works were also of great success.
TK: What have been the highlights for your gallery so far this year?
HK: Apart from the art tours I organise in different cities in the CEE region I would highlight a recently opened exhibition titled When Politics Enters Daily Life by one of our represented artists from Budapest, Csaba Nemes at MOCAK Krakow, which is a big exhibition receiving full attention especially because of the fact that it was opened right before the general elections were held and also because of the fact that all the works were put into the political context by a short explanatory text accompanying them on the walls.
TK: What are your plans for the near future?
HK: The novelty for next year will the first art tour organised to Krakow next summer.
*Featured image: Kamil Kukla_wt_oil on canvas_110x150_2014, courtesy: Knoll Galerie Wien, photo: Kamil Kukla