twitter facebook
"Film Cologne" publicity photo

Discovering art 0

Highlights of the Art Cologne 2018 art fair

Auguste Petre

Spring is a very suitable time to sink into the wonder of art fairs. Finally – and one cannot deny it – the weariness of winter has passed and every new creative process is both a source of inspiration and a harbinger of the forthcoming season of light. For the 52nd time, the western German city of Cologne will be presenting one of Europe’s premier art events – Art Cologne 2018. From April 19 to 22, around 200 galleries will be representing the creative work of more than 2000 artists.

Why is Art Cologne such an important happening in Western culture? First of all, established on September 15, 1967, it is one of Europe’s oldest art fairs. Secondly, it is a great place to learn about art processes in Germany and the main players involved, since, as the fair’s creative director Daniel Hug says – the focus here is on the regional market. And last but not least, Art Cologne is a gathering of not only world-famous artists and internationally renown galleries, but also an ideal place to discover a slew of new, emerging and promising artists and galleries. With a concentration on 20th- and 21st-century art, the catchphrase of this year’s fair is Looking at art, discovering art, buying art. presents the following highlights of the upcoming Art Cologne 2018.

Art Cologne 2018 
Koelnmesse, Messeplatz 1
Cologne, Germany


Zuzanna Czebatul

As every year, and following Michael Riedel’s large-scale work in 2017, this year the southern foyer of Art Cologne is featuring a large-scale installation. Titled Higher Than the Sun, it is the work of the young Berlin artist Zuzanna Czebatul, who studied at Hunter College in New York and then received her master’s degree at Frankfurt’s Städelschule under the tutelage of Willem de Rooij. Czebatul’s works have been shown in solo shows in Warsaw, Berlin and New York, as well as in group shows throughout the world. She does not shy away from using various mediums, and works with installation, sculpture, and the graphic arts. With Higher Than the Sun, Czebatul references  ‘the interiors of casinos in Las Vegas, the designs of which are intended to stimulate players to spend money’. In essence, the work is a very large carpet displaying the words NOW, SPEED, MEGA and CASH, and, according to the artist, pointedly describe not only casinos, but also art fairs.


Gallery Lelong & CoKonrad Klapheck, Domina, 2008

After a considerable pause, the prestigious Paris/New York-based gallery Lelong & Co will be returning to Art Cologne by way of representing the German painter Konrad Klapheck. The gallery was founded in 1981 with the coming together of writer Jean Frémon, Juan Miro-biographer Jacques Dupin, and the gallerist Daniel Lelong. Their goal was to create a place where books would have just as much importance as paintings. Today, more than 35 years later, Lelong & Co continues to successfully represent prominent contemporary artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. This year it will reappear at Art Cologne with a solo exhibition of German painter Konrad Klapheck. Revered by Surrealism initiator André Breton, in the 1950s Klapheck bestowed abstract monumentalism to household appliances – typewriters, irons, sewing machines, and so on. In the last few years, Klapheck has developed a new and provocative manner of painting that features people. Both early works and contemporary ones will be on view at the Lelong & Co gallery’s exhibition.

Hall 11.1 / Stand A 18


A strong Baltic presence will be felt at this year’s Art Cologne: the Latvian gallery Alma will be presenting the painter Ēriks Apaļais, while the Lithuanian gallery Vartai’s exhibition will feature the Paris-based Lithuanian artist duo known as SetP Stanikas.

Ēriks Apaļais. Stolichnaya and snowman, 2018

Alma gallery is a classic contemporary art gallery in Riga whose objective is to popularise the works of Latvian artists on the international scene. A great number of Latvia’s conceptual contemporary artists are represented by the gallery, including Andris Brežis, Ivars Drulle and Krišs Salmanis. At Art Cologne 2018 the gallery will be participating with the works of Ēriks Apaļais, who has graduated from the Hamburg Art Academy and primarily works with painting. His work frequently depicts plays on linguistic formulas and daily occurrences that influence culture.

SetP Stanikas. SpringIV, 2017

Opened in 1991, the Vartai gallery is one of the first private exhibition spaces in Lithuania. Since its inception, Vartai has carried substantial weight in the development of Lithuanian and Baltic art and culture and its introduction to an international audience. Currently it is one of the leading contemporary art galleries in the Baltics. SetP Stanikas is an artistic partnership consisting of the Lithuanian artists Svejone and Paulius Stanikas, who are currently based in Paris. Taking to task various mediums, they study the languages and expressions of the human body. will also have a stand at Art Cologne 2018, where you can pick up the latest edition of Arterritory Conversations No. 6, as well as the editorial publication Arterritory Conversations with Collectors.

Gallery Vartai: Hall 11.3 / Stand B 23
Gallery Alma: Hall 11.3 / Stand B 12


In parallel with the gallery exhibitions of Art Cologne, the fair also gives visitors the opportunity to see cutting-edge films from Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines as part of the Film Cologne programme. Begun just four years ago, Film Cologne is devoted to the art of the moving image. Its 2018 curator, Michael Janssen, has chosen to feature films from southeastern Asia that conceptually connect the historical studies of local culture, politics and art; they combine various factual and fictive elements, and reflectively hint at collective experience and authority. It has been well established that the link between history, politics and social aspects and events in contemporary art is very strong, and through the medium of video, this year’s featured artists have chosen to depict this link by representing time and space with imaginary narratives. Film Cologne will be presenting films by Kiri Dalena, Ho Tzu Nyen, Charles Lim, Tromarama, Nguyen Trinh Thi, Ming Wong, and Hsu Chia Wie TW.


Every year, Art Cologne grants an award for great achievement and investment in the field of art communication, and in 2018 it has been bestowed to art collector Julia Stoschek. It was her encounter with Douglas Gordon’s monumental installation Play Dead; Real Time (2013) in New York that inspired her to begin collecting art. Since then she has been actively collecting works of art executed in contemporary mediums, as well as closely working together with gallerists, artists and curators. Beginning with 2007 she has regularly exhibited works from her collection. Stoschek regards the moving image as her generation’s primary form of cultural expression, and so it follows that her collection would include pieces by such contemporary art classics as Nam June Paik, Gordon Matta-Clark, Marina Abramovic, and Bruce Nauman, as well as works by artists who have just recently emerged. Stoscheck calls herself an archivist of contemporary art and belongs to an exclusive group of people who have opened their collections to large numbers of people.  


In addition to the gallery exhibitions and Film Cologne, Art Cologne 2018 will also stage the exhibition The Köln Show, as organised by the Central Archive of the International Art Trade (ZADIK), as well as the public talks programme Art Cologne Talks Lounge.

The Köln Show is dedicated to art of the late 20th century and the 1990 exhibition of the same name which featured 66 artists from Europe, the US and Japan. This year’s exhibition will look at the emergence of internationally successful conceptual art and the roots of 1990s’ conceptualism.

A special exhibition with the title of Comeback will feature works from the Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) collection, which mostly focuses on art of the 1980s and 90s and is widely regarded as one of the most important collections in Germany. On view at Comeback will be works by Thomas Demand, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Cindy Sherman, among others.

The Art Cologne Talks Lounge will take place all four days of the fair and will cover such topics as the dialogue between art and economics, the changing values of today’s art, and the role of the Internet in today’s art processes.

For additional information on these exhibitions and the public talks programme, see:


Marconi gallery. Alex da Corte. The Storm, 2017

Milan’s Marconi gallery is also making a return appearance at Art Cologne 2018 after an absence of many years. It was founded in 1990 by Gió Marconi (who was just 24 years old at the time) as a creative continuation of his artist laboratory titled Studio Marconi, and the gallery rapidly attracted the attention of both the public and emerging artists. Currently it is one of Milan’s most prestigious galleries, having exhibited works by Joseph Beuys, Christo, Helmut Newton, Georg Baslitz, and many other famous artists. At this year’s Art Cologne, the Marconi gallery will be showing installations by Alex da Corte and the ascetic paintings of Oliver Osborne. Da Corte’s installations accent the youthful and forgotten aspects of life, whereas with Osborne’s paintings, Marconi wishes to bring attention to the conceptual humour and irony that they symbolise.

Hall 11.2 / Stand A 40


Gallery Thaddaeus Ropac. Gilbert & George, GingerBeard, 2015

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac will also be showing internationally renown artists at Art Cologne 2018. Ever since its establishment in 1983, the gallery has specialised in representing an international coterie of contemporary artists. Among its spaces in Salzburg, Paris and London, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac holds about 40 solo and group shows on an annual basis, many of which feature today’s most influential figures on the art scene. At Art Cologne 2018 the gallery will be showing works by such luminaries of the art world as Georg Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Gilbert & George, and Alex Katz.

The Georg Baselitz section will spotlight two paintings which will have been brought to the fair straight from the artist’s studio. In them, Baselitz tackles the subject of age and its role in an artist’s creative career. As for Alex Katz, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac will be showing a painting from one of the artist’s latest series, Coca-Cola, whereas from Robert Rauschenberg’s oeuvre they will present the work Spindle from the legendary series titled Urban Bourbon (1989).

It’s worth noting that Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac recently announced that it will be representing the estate of Joseph Beuys. With his radical ideas and peculiar approach to art processes, Joseph Beuys changed the direction of contemporary art, and can now rightly be deemed as having been one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. A retrospective of Beuys’ work, Utopia at the Stag Monuments, is currently ongoing at the gallery’s London location through June 16.

Halle 11.2 / Stand A 3


Another jubilant happening is coinciding with the exciting events surrounding Art Cologne 2018; namely, the gallerists Saskia Draxler and Christian Nagel have announced the launching of a new exhibition space designed by Roger Bundschuh Architects. The opening will take place April 18 and will feature an exhibition of the works of American artist Egan Frantz.

In addition, at 4:00 pm on April 22, Christian Nagel will participate in the Public Talks programme event titled 25 years ago: the "wild" 90s in Cologne (HALL 11.3, booth B 56).
Elisenstraße 4-6
Köln, Germany

An interview with Daniel Hug, the director of Art Cologne
Art Cologne: The 52nd edition. Q&A with Daniel Hug