Interview: Kate Bryan, ART15’s director

One of the newcomers in the world of contemporary art fairs, ART15 will run its third edition in London this week-end, from may 21st to 23rd. 150 of the world’s most exciting galleries from 40 countries showcase modern masters through to contemporary talents. From Amman to Amsterdam, New York to New Delhi and Sao Paulo to Seoul, Art15 presents art from across the globe, making it one of the most significant cultural events of London’s summer season.

We used this opportunity to ask a few questions to Kate Bryan, the art fair’s director!

{Artsper}: Good Morning! First could you tell us how did the first edition of the fair, ART13, come to life? What is the concept of the fair?

{Kate Bryan}: The fair is a global presentation in the world’s most global city. Whilst other fairs are increasingly international, we have made a huge commitment to have a truly global line up. To that end we are showcasing galleries from over 42 countries and two thirds of our galleries come from overseas.
{A}: What are the novelties expected for the 2015 edition? What makes ART15 special?

{K}: One of the things we are very proud of is an exhibition at the heart of Art15 which deals with artistic freedoms as navigated by artists across the globe. Curated by Kathleen Soriano, this is an enquiry that came about after the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris when the world was questioning the boundaries of freedom, taste and expression. It’s a remarkable line up of work and I don’t think it could have been created anywhere else –we have work from Panama, Tibet, China, Denmark, Hong Kong and beyond!

{A}: As director of the fair do you think that your own tastes influence the identity of ART15?

{K}: It is a great privilege to direct a show like this but ultimately it is a massive endeavour and therefore is the product of many brilliant minds including our curatorial advisors, our selection committee and our International Advisory board. As it’s a global art fair no one person could ever be an expert, which is liberating and also means we are always learning which I am delighted about!

{A}: What artist, presented in the ART15, are you particularly excited about?

{K}: We have some wonderful Special Projects taking place at Art15. These are usually large in scale and are interventions throughout the halls. Janet Laurence, one of Australia’s most respected artists, has come to London to create a meditation at the heart of Art15 on the life of plants and the pressing environmental concerns that face our age. Jenna Burchill, a South African artist, is also making a site specific work called Homing. She has captured sounds of her home and juxtaposed them with sounds from London. The work takes the form of a series of wires, when touched by the visitor they are earthed and the sound is heard. It will be a very meditative, interactive piece on the gallery level at Art15.

{A}: Can you tell us a bit about the #IRL project?

{K}: #IRL is a significant new digital project curated by Valentina Fois. #IRL is an open conversation between artists Emilie Gervais and Sara Ludy through the technology they use to create art, physical sites, the environment and the public.This is a very experimental project which considers the medium of digital and internet age and what it will mean for the future of the artworld. The ‘in-real-life’ conversation between Gervais and Ludy can be iconographically compared with a freestyle rap battle, as the artists will perform without a previously produced script.


{A}: What is your long term vision for the fair?

{K}: I would like to see Art15 maintain it’s forward thinking approach, to constantly seek out new territories and to develop an ever expanding audience who are passionate about the extraordinary global art age we live in.

{A}: You have been working for the culture show on the BBC and you are a judge on the Flagship show for Sky Art Television, do you think it is important to spread and radiate Art through modern means of communication?

{K}: I think that broadcasting is a vital component for making people more art aware and feel that the art world is more accessible. There is no doubt a growing appetite which is wonderful – more people are going to museums and galleries than football matches! But there is still some sense of trepidation; the artworld can be too opaque at times. I even know some collectors who feel they are not properly qualified to talk about art. It’s wonderful when the public tell us how much they love Portrait Artist of the Year and talk with conviction about the artists – they feel not only able to but entitled to which is great.

{A}: What do you think of the purchase of art online and more precisely of the Artsper project?

{K}: I think increasingly digital platforms have a substantial role to play in the art world. Collectors feel satisfied in the quality of the presentation and imagery and therefore safe in committing to works unseen. It adds another component to the shape and scale of collecting activity. There will never be a time when we can be completely reliant with online content, this is art and it is the most physical of things, but it adds another dimension to a collector’s opportunities for discovery and acquisition. I am impressed by the curatorial approach of Artsper.