Second edition of START closes with exceptional gallery presentations, increased attendance figures and extremely positive critical response
14 September, London – The second edition of START, presented by Prudential, closed its doors at the Saatchi Gallery on Sunday 13 September with exceptional gallery presentations, increased attendance figures and extremely positive critical response. START will take place again at the Saatchi Gallery in 2016 from 22 to 25 September.
Galleries were delighted with the response of collectors, press and the public alike. Established collectors who visited the fair included Anita Zabludowicz, Fatima Maleki, Maryam Eisler, Catherine Petitgas and Charles Saatchi. START was also attractive to younger collectors including Kaimar Maleki, Will de Quetteville, Philippe Piessens and Arianne Levene. Other high-profile visitors included Middle Eastern financier and art patron Dr. Ramzi Dalloul, celebrity chef Lorraine Pascale and television presenter and choreographer Jason Gardiner.
START Projects received unanimous acclaim for its presentation of non-commercial exhibitions by teamLab, Chim↑Pom and Prudential Eye Zone, which featured contemporary Singaporean artists. teamLab's 'Flutter of Butterflies beyond Borders' presentation received a tremendously positive critical response and was the subject of much press attention, including the Evening Standard during the run of START. As a result, it has been given an extended run from Tuesday 15th to Thursday 17th September with START and the Saatchi Gallery throwing open the doors free of admission.
As part of its VIP Programme, START also featured a series of Collector Dinners and a Charity Auction conducted by Christie's.
Many galleries reported robust sales of artists new to London's collectors. Hafez Gallery (Jeddah) were delighted to report sales of Saudi photographer and Goldsmiths' graduate Nora Alissa whilst +MAS Arte Contemporáneo (Bogota) placed the works of Pilar Vargas into one of Europe's most important collections. Alludo Room Gallery (Kitzbühel) sold a number of works by New York-based artist Rachel Libeskind, whilst Gallery SoSo (Seoul) placed a number of delicate ink on paper works by Kim In Kyum. Skipwiths (London) enjoyed great success with Korean artist Kwang Young Chun.
The inaugural START Museum Acquisition Prize was awarded to Roman Road (London) with the New Art Gallery Walsall acquiring works by Aida Silvestri.
Marisa Bellani, Director of Roman Road said, "I'm really happy with the institutional support that Aida's work received. In addition to the acquisition by the New Art Gallery Walsall, her work was also bought by a Tate Patron and we are now starting to get major interest from a number of collectors."
Nelly Alegre from Osage Gallery which presented the solo exhibition of Au Hoi Lam said, "We are really happy and delighted to have participated in START. It is a good platform for us to know more about the European market. There's a great level of energy here at START and we've had some really good exchanges with both collectors and visitors to our booth."
Carl E. Smith from CES Gallery (Los Angeles) said, "I think START is amazing. It's been a great interaction with a new client base. Collectors are extremely interested in the work, the location is beautiful and I'm honoured to be here."
Kristin Hjellegjerde, owner of Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery said, "I am very happy that I have been part of START. I've met some of the biggest collectors in London and several of my own collectors who visited thought it was a high-quality event. The space is fantastic and I believe the fair has a great potential in the future."
Heejin No, Director of Skipwiths said, "As a young gallery, we're delighted to have had the opportunity to exhibit with START in such a beautiful environment as the Saatchi Gallery. The space is amazing and the quality of collectors has been very good."
Carlos Vargas from +MAS Arte Contemporáneo said, "We are a returning gallery and have really enjoyed growing with the fair. The second edition was wonderful and it is a delight to exhibit at the Saatchi Gallery."
Ludovica Rossi Purini, Director of Alludo Room Gallery said, "We would love to come back to START next year! In the last few days, we've met the most interesting collectors ever and we've made some really great sales!" The gallery was exhibiting new pieces by Rachel Libeskind, whose work was placed with a number of collectors.
Positive Critical Response
The critical response was overwhelmingly positive. Louisa Buck said in The Art Newspaper, "'START Art Fair is a truly global affair… There are galleries from Bogota to Budapest via Colombo and Cape Town, Jeddah, Lagos, Riga and Seoul which combine a high level of quality with some genuine surprises….Is there room for another art fair in London? In the case of START, the answer has to be a resounding YES!"
Grace Banks, writing for Forbes.com, described the fair, "START offers collectors, writers, curators and art lovers to see some of contemporary art's most exciting and ground breaking new art all in one place….START [is] one of London's fastest growing global art fairs."
Jan Dalley, writing in The Financial Times Weekend said, "The pieces that teamLab creates are beautiful all right, giant immersive works in stunning colours; a cloud of butterflies defies their apparent boundaries."
Lorena Muñoz-Alonso wrote in artnet.com, "The intimate scale of the fair, which is also peppered with a number of non-commercial exhibitions as part of its Projects section, makes for accessible and pleasurable viewing."
Mark Beech wrote in ArtInfo, "There have been lines of people waiting to get in, both because of the quality of the art and the location at the Saatchi Gallery. While there must be a question on how many more fairs the British capital can take, all competing for collectors' attention and casual browsers, this one is attracting the curious and is spread across all three floors of the gallery."
START also received coverage during its run in The Evening Standard and on the Robert Elms show on BBC Radio London 94.9FM. London's audience responded by visiting in very high numbers, complimenting the collectors, critics and curators. The overall audience visiting START was up by 40% from the inaugural edition.
Niru Ratnam, Director of START said, "I'm delighted with the second edition of START and the response of collectors and critics. The gallerist's presentations combined with START Projects has made for a unique platform and we all look forward to taking this onto the next level for the third edition which will take place from 22 to 25 September 2016."
Please visit www.startartfair.com for the latest information on START.