The video-only art fair LOOP kicked off its 10th edition last Thursday in Barcelona. 47 international galleries rented a room each in the four-star Hotel Ramblas in the Catalonian capital to show the work of one artist in their program. With Spain’s economy at a standstill, the fair more than ever recalled the Gramercy International Art Fair (now the Armory Show) held in New York’s Gramercy Hotel during the economically difficult mid-’90s. But buyers at the opening were undeterred.
During the professional preview, Crevecoeur (Paris) sold a 2009 edition of the multi-part Whispering Pines, a projected video by L.A.-based artist Shana Moulton, for over $5,000, with a second on reserve. Motive from Amsterdam pushed the boundaries of the video fair, sneaking in a 16-mm film, Monument of Sugar (2007) by the Dutch artist duo Lonnie van Brummelen and Siebren de Haan. It sold within the first hour to the collection of the FRAC Marseille for about $20,000. Paris’s Galerie Martine Thibault de la Châtre sold one copy of Moussa Sarr’s two-and-a-half-minute video The Frog and the Scorpion (2012) for roughly $2,500.
“I really like the people behind the fair,” Ulrich Gebauer of Carlier Gebauer (Berlin) told A.i.A. “They’re so charming that after seven or eight years of lobbying, I agreed to come to LOOP for the first time this year.” On the first day he sold one of Marcellvs L.’s newer videos, Tent (2012) from the ongoing series “VideoRhizome” for just under $14,000 to a private French collection. It consists of a very immobile portrait view of a young male teenager lying inside an open tent, which is being shaken by the wind. The boy is playing a computer game unmoved by the weather conditions outside. Dutch power-dealer Ron Mandos pulled out all the stops to sell copies of Hans Op de Beeck’s Sea of Tranquility (2010), which came in an edition of 10 but cost over $430,000 to produce.
There was a veritable rush to get to the room of N2 Galeria, a small gallery from Barcelona, which showed Peter Greenaway’s five-channel video installation Ice Time 40,000 Years in 4 Minutes, 2012 (close to $40,000 each, ed. of 7 + 3 AP). While the visitors flocked to the booth, there were no sales reported after the first day. The filmmaker turned video artist was present, spouting sound bites. “I want to put new wine into new bottles,” he said, elaborating to A.i.A. that he is advocating “non-cinematic video” on the grounds that it will make life “richer and stronger, intellectually and spiritually.”
Other highlights included the room of up-and-coming local galleries Nogueras Blanchard, with the screening of Wilfried Prieto’s Lemon Green (2011), and Galeria Senda, showing Michael Joaquin Grey’s So What Moon Calendar 2012 (2012), a variation on a similarly titled projection from 2005. The artist recalled the iTunes visualizer. “My work on the visualization of sound influenced iTunes pattern-makers,” Grey told A.i.A. round orange forms pulsated onscreen.
Turin collector Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo waltzed the corridors of LOOP with Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona director Bartomeu Mari, who offered A.i.A. a guided preview of the over 100-work-strong Gordon Matta-Clark exhibition at the museum. Barcelona-based Matta-Clark collector and specialist Harold Berg joined. Berg lent over 70 works to the show and in my presence informed MACBA chief curator Carles Guerra of the discovery of an unrecognized Matta-Clark sculpture, which the artist executed under the auspices of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes Santiago de Chile in 1971. Matta-Clark had travelled there with Jeffrey Lew, who ran 112 Workshop in New York in the ’70s. Wide eyed, Guerra poured over the iPad screen, confirming, “the story sounds very likely.”