In October the Art Market Budapest International Contemporary Art Fair highlighted local and regional production while drawing in galleries, collectors, curators and visitors from around the world
Unlike the industrial halls or mega-tents that serve as the venues for art fairs all around the world, Art Market Budapest International Contemporary Art Fair is regularly organised in a creatively redesigned former industrial building complex in Millenáris, in the heart of the city. Discovering art in this setting, walking among the imposing steel pillars and beams, definitely makes for an atmospheric experience and perhaps an increased appreciation of the work on display.
The fifth edition of the fair ran from October 8 to 11 at Millenáris Park, engineering a meeting of the global and local art scenes. The fair maintained a regional focus while welcoming exhibitors from all around the world, augmenting its programme with highly informative professional programmes and numerous collateral events for the visitors.
The event was therefore of interest to both specialists in central European art and art-lovers wishing to know about contemporary production more generally. This year’s fair was attended by about 25,000 visitors, who were eager to see the works of more than 500 artists, represented by nearly 100 galleries from 25 countries.
As in previous years, special focuses and guest regions featured in the programme, allowing visitors to discover new and upcoming hubs. This year particular attention was given to the Western Balkans, including Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia — countries whose fascinating art scene is still under-represented in the international art market.
In spite of the fair’s central European focus, exhibitors arrived from more distant regions too. I myself curated a booth showing works by artists teaching and studying at the College of Fine Arts and Design of the University of Sharjah.
Meanwhile, Art from Berlin highlighted the German capital’s art, while the section Baltic Triangle presented a selection of these former socialist states. Next to the main galleries section, an entire exhibition hall was dedicated to photography. This section, entitled Art Photo Budapest, first established in the 2014 edition of the fair, is emblematic of the fair’s drive to position Budapest as one of the new European capitals of photography, in part based on the work of globally known Hungarian-born photographers such as Brassai, André Kertész, Robert Capa, László Moholy-Nagy and Martin Munkacsi. Those interested in monumental sculpture were catered for in the sCULTURE programme, with both inside and outside displays of plastic arts, including works by Bernar Venet. •