Adrian Ghenie, Doctor Josef 2, oil on canvas, at Haunch of Venison.
The European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht is not known for luring in contemporary art lovers. They are much better served by Art Basel or Frieze. Nonetheless TEFAF provides an excellent opportunity to put contemporary art into an historical perspective. All forms of human creative expression from the beginning of mankind up to now are presented: ancient Greek and Roman bronzes, fine Chinese porcelain, hand painted wallpapers, exquisitely crafted furniture and of course an abundance of paintings by world famous artists. The array and quality of art and antiques at the fair cannot be bettered.
(een bericht van Alexander Mayhew)
The modern art section of the fair mainly focuses on sure-sellers like Picasso, Fontana and Chagall. Works by Albers, Magritte and Richter are also ubiquitous. More surprising are recent works by well-known artists like Jim Dine and Frank Auerbach, who were both born in the thirties of the twentieth century, but are still producing work. Some of the contemporary offerings have a definite historical feel to them. Walton Ford’s depiction of a lion devouring a crocodile seems more at home in the 18th century, but was made in 2006. Jake and Dinos Chapman on their part actually used aristocratic portraits from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to paint in nasty deformations. Coincidentally the same genre of portraits can be found in pristine state in the paintings section of the fair.
The modern art section is mostly orientated towards classic modern, TEFAF is not the place to find emerging artists. Most interesting is the tightly edited booth of Blain Southern, in which an installation by Tim Noble and Sue Webster and three humorous paintings by Anton Henning stand out. Noble and Webster’s work of yellow rubber penises and fingers is a welcome contrast to the overbearing good taste pervading the fair. Henning’s works ironically incorporate pictures of Picasso’s art, thereby simultaneously underlining and mocking the enduring omnipresence of this modern master.