Despite battling meteorological conditions as temperamental as many of the prima donna characters fluttering around Basel art week, the third occasion of the VOLTAshow delivered a magnificent display of some of the most promising contemporary galleries of the international stage. Located a short distance away from the hubbub of central Basel’s Messeplatz (home to the legendary Art Basel), VOLTAshow03 appropriated a warehouse in the Ultra Brag industrial harbour area, creating an apt blank canvas against which to display a rich cornucopia of emergent talent.
The fair imposes no restrictions of age for exhibitors, instead seeking galleries who actively promote up-and-coming artists, rather than those of established success, who are often shared by galleries of different countries. Such an aim results in a show of measured intensity across all artistic media, with each booth yielding up gems as various as the characteristically exuberant explosion of visual stimuli from the artists of A Gentil Carioca (Rio de Janeiro), to the quieter - yet just as resounding - display of the Japanese gallery Taro Nasu. Refreshingly, the atmosphere between exhibitors was one of camaraderie and cooperation, bolstering support for each other’s efforts.
In addition to the international selection of galleries, VOLTAshow03 saw the inclusion of an invited group of Nordic galleries. This section was co-curated by the London-based Zoo Art Fair, an organisation which shares many affinities with VOLTAshow’s aims, and with whom VOLTAshow has embarked on past collaborations. Another project was the Outdoor Sculpture Project, which consisted of twelve international galleries submitting an eclectic assortment of installations, ranging from a derelict greenhouse (Kristian Burford at The Happy Lion, Los Angeles), to a performative work by Kerstin Schiefner from Laden fuer Nichts, Leipzig.
Following the stampede of renowned collectors who contributed to tremendously successful sales on the preview day, the fair enjoyed a steady stream of visitors, who delighted in the passion and exuberance of the art on show, qualities which had also
rubbed off on all of those who had the pleasure to work alongside it.
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Rukhsana Jahangir is a journalist in London