“…and the wall fell away”

It is a Frieze week, so many galleries scheduled private views and exhibition openings around it. So art community is very busy going from gallery to gallery exploring new exciting artworks and artists.

Stephen Friedman Gallery opened its doors for a private view of an exhibition “…and the wall fell away” by Yinka Shonibare MBE on September 27. This display will remain until 5th November  so you can visit the gallery any time to see the works. The exhibition is split between two spaces on the same street – one with paintings and the second one with sculptures and large painting in the front of the gallery.

The display is nice and clear, minimalistic interior helps to focus on the artworks. The artist was born in London but moved to Nigeria at the early age. However, he came back to London for collage. Yinka’s art explores race, religion, inequalities and other social issues.

Shonibare reinvents classical statues giving his interpretation with bold bright colours. His screen prints on canvas test Western religious ideals and provides personal vision of identity. Raising in Nigeria reflected on Shonibare art as he developed themes of nationality and colonial history in his art.

Summer Exhibition in RA

I barely made it to Summer Exhibition in Royal Academy of Arts. It is an annual exhibition since 1769 and this year is was on since June 13th until August 21st. I visited it only yesterday a day before its closure. The exhibition features around a thousand works of contemporary artist, some of them are graduates of Royal Academy, selected by the commute from over 12,000 works. It is a multi media exhibition: you can find photographs, sketches, sculptures, oils, acrylics, watercolours, installations.. Everyone can find something to his taste.


I am not a true fan of contemporary art but I loved the exhibition! It is the essence of a current state of art. Almost all the artworks are for sale and you can find artworks of both emerging and established artists there. Prices vary from hundreds to hundred thousands pounds. Some works are also available in editions and they are less expensive than the originals. As I visited the exhibition towards the end it is difficult for me to say how fast the artworks were sold out. When I visited I was prepared to go home with a new piece of art but all the artworks I liked were sold already.. So next year I will not make the same mistake and will try to be one of the first visitors! However, visiting in the last few days also has its advantages – tickets are half prices, as well as catalogues. So if you are not planning art shopping it is more budget friendly to wait until the last day.

Now my thoughts about art, it is an art blog after all. I will repeat myself – I loved it! So many different techniques, and subject matters. Some artworks were serious and deep, some ironic and witty. It is amazing how many everyday things were turned into art – aluminium hangers were covered into a dear sculpture, metal bottle caps, toilet seat and even a bread slice!

Even thought there were many artworks that I admired, some of them were still way too “contemporary” for my taste. I did not like the room with a lot of nudity and vulgar content. From my point of view some artworks were tasteless and too primitive.

I would like to mention some works individually.

I liked a 3D wall sculpture by Cathy de Monchaux “Migration”. It is a large artwork – 70 cm high and two meters long and is made of copper wires and bandages. Ii is an extremely detailed artwork showing migrating horses in the woods. It is very deep and it “consumes” the viewer due to its depth and large scale. The price for this artwork is £35,000.

Jimmy Cauty presented a large (183cm high) installation “The Aftermath Dislocation Principle Part 3: The Bridge”. It is a shipping container with installation inside. On each sides there are many holes on different nights through which you can see the installation. I was stuck to this artwork for quite some time as I wanted to look through every hole. Each hole gives you different angle and different elements of the crash. The figures inside are very detailed and the setting seems very real. For those who are interested you can read more about this work on the artist’s website, this work is a part of a bigger artwork which shows the whole city. Here is the video of how the container was placed inside the Academy.

Anselm Kiefer, Bose Blumen, Mixed media, 280×570. (Not for sale)

This was a very powerful installation, a tiny bit creepy, but powerful. Large scale installation with 10,00 panels with changing document-style portraits by Turkish artist Kutlug Ataman.

Thousands of screws were used to create this artwork. And it looks amazing close up! It is created by David Mach and is called “Dark Matter”. Dimensions are 224 x 117 x 92 cm and price is £82,000.

And this artwork gave me a head ache… It was very disturbing walking pass this “squashed” head. John Humphreys sculpture “David Noble Tractus”, £47,500.


It looks like curator has a personal grudge against Clara Sancho-Arroyo as her artwork “Habanero” was placed in the least visible place.. You have to step way back to be able to see it. It is oil on canvas and priced at £2,100.


Some walls were a little overwhelming and it was challenging to concentrate on artworks individual because there were just so many of them! But I know that the space is limited so this density is unavoidable. All in all I enjoyed the exhibition.. My apologies that my post is published when the exhibition is over. But it is an annual thing, so bare it in mind!

French Riviera

French love their public spaces, large squares, promenades, wide streets, cities are designed for long walks and time outdoors. No matter how large or small cities are they all have stunning art decorating public spaces. Art is in form of installations, sculptures, fountains and elements of architecture. You can find both: contemporary and historic art pieces, so you can find something for every taste.

French Riviera was a popular destination for many artists in 19th and 20th centuries. Seascapes and landscapes are very inspiring and many artist captured them in their works. You can see art everywhere – in museums, in public spaces and even in hotel lobbies. Some hotels have great art collections and their lobbies look like museum halls.

South of France is different from the North, it has much more colours. Buildings are painted in warm pastel colours with contrast window-blinds. Climate is amazing and sun makes everything shine.

In this post I will share photos and thoughts on public art in different cities of French Rivera. Throughput French Riviera architecture is pretty similar and there are some similar art pieces. However each city has its own identity and style.


Nice is the biggest city in south of France, it has historic centre and modern parts, it has many parks and a promenade alongside the beach. The Massena square is famous for contemporary art pieces – seven luminous human sculptures on poles. This installation was created by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa and is called “Conversation in Nice”. Seven figures represent all the continents and how people are communicating and living with each other. Unfortunately I only have day photos but at night these sculptures light up with different bright colours. There are many opinions about these sculptures but they are so integrated in the landscape that it is impossible to imagine Nice without them!

There are many large scale sculptures in Nice, there are very conceptual and surprisingly big. There are less colourful and cutting-edge contemporary sculptures in Nice, or I just have not come across them much.

Airport Nice Cote D’Azure deserves a special mention, there are some interesting artworks inside the airport.. So that is the first thing you see when you arrive or it is the last chance to admire french art before you go.


Main promenade along the coast is a perfect place for evening walks: Ferris wheel, ice cream tracks, sweet stands and small stands with souvenirs. There is a square with plenty of improvised art booths by local artists and it looks like an open air art gallery. Diversity of style as and techniques is amazing! I am very picky about abstract art but some of the artworks really caught my eye. Even if you are not shopping for art, it very entertaining to wonder from stand to stand and admire different textures, views and styles. You can also talk to the artists because usually they are presenting everything themselves and occasionally paint or sculpt on the spot.



For those of you with sweet tooth, french artist Laurence Jenkell strewed French coast with giant candies. These sculptures are crafted in different sizes and from different materials like plexiglass and marble. Candies spread all the way from Monaco to St Tropez, you can see it out in the street or in hotel lobbies, there is one sculpture with French and EU flags as candies wrappings is displayed in Nice airport.

Public Art is not everything that south of France has to offer. French Riviera is filled with art museums. Chagall’s museum and Matisse’s villa museum in Nice, Picasso museum in Antibes, latest Renoir’s home in Cagnes-sur-Mer, national museum of Fernand Leger in Biot and many more. You can easily spend days exploring art.. Cote D’Azur is a magical place with fantastic views, so many artist are still coming there searching for inspiration.


New Tate’s Modern Switch House

Today was unofficial new wing opening at Tate Modern – Switch House. Everyone in the neighbourhood was invited to be the first visitors, which is a really nice touch, since we were experiencing the construction firsthand.

New building is in a shape of conus and 10 floors high. Only 4 floors are exhibition spaces, other floors are for entertainment – shop, restaurant, members room and events hall. Connections to the old building are on the first and forth floors.


There is a viewing level on the top floor with 360-view on London. The views are amazing, you can see London’s beautiful skyline. There is a printed guide available describing every significant building you can see from the viewing terrace.


The building itself is executed in cutting edge industrial style. Some people said that the design “captured the essence of the building”, however, for my taste it is a bit over the edge. It look like a space before renovation, there were some leakages, some lamps were not working, sign “restaurant” was missing three letters. Brick structure was a bit disturbing in some places, especially in the cafe when you have tables right across from it.

Art-wise… A lot of video installations, large scale artworks, many interactive artworks where you can go inside or walk over it. I am not the one to judge, so I’d rather not comment on the art itself. However, there was one installation that was particularly disturbing – Tropicália, Penetrables PN 2 ‘Purity is a myth’ and PN 3 ‘Imagetical’ by Hélio Oiticica. The installation is a cage with two large African parrots inside. I think that is completely inappropriate to trap wild birds in a small room with one window for three months (parrots are changed every three months). 

Overall impression from todays visit is that building still needs a lot of work. Right now it is a bit sloppy and unfinished.. It is still not THE opening, so maybe some things like lighting will be changed and signs repaired. A great three days celebration is about to begin with a lot of special events and plenty of fun! So you should join and see for yourself, the admission is free.


Yayoi Kusama

Victoria Miro Gallery at Wharf Road presents an exciting exhibition by Yayoi Kusama. The exhibition is on until July 30th, the admission is free and there is no need to book in advance. However it can be busy, especially on Saturday, it is closed on Sundays and Mondays. There is another paintings exhibition by Kusama in Mayfair in Victoria Miro Gallery, do not mix them up!

Victoria Miro is a contemporary art gallery. The space is a traditional white cube. The exhibition spreads over three floors and back garden. Yayoi Kusama is a famous Japanese born artist and she has quite a resume! She was the artist representing Japan in 45th Venice Biennial, exhibited her artworks in Tate Modern (London), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Whitney Museum (New York) and also had a collaboration with one of the most recognised high fashion brands – Louis Vuitton.

There are three mirror rooms – one is in the garden, one on the ground floor and one on the second floor. The rooms are “space within a space” with mirrors on the walls and ceilings. Visitors are queueing outside each room and assistant lets people one at a time or group at a time, for those who came together. They only let you in for a short time, it felt like 20 seconds.

The rooms are: All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, Chandelier of Grief and Where the Lights in My Heart Go. Considering amount of mirrors, you might as well call them “selfie rooms”, everyone took pictures inside (myself included).

I visited only two out of three rooms because Where the Lights in My Heart Go is outdoors and gets closed in bad weather to protect the artwork from excessive humidity.  I was told that there are some wholes in the ceiling so the daylight can get inside the room and sunbeam reflects in the mirrors. It is a shame that it was a rainy dyad we did not get the chance to go inside.

I visited All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins and Chandelier of Grief. I really enjoyed  both of them. It is a very strange feeling – being inside these mirror rooms, it felt like being in some magical space out of this world. Mirrors play with your mind and your perception of reality. Room with pumpkins was very intimate due to a very pleasant warm yellow colour of artwork pieces. Chandelier room was also very engaging, it was a bit confusing at first with all the patterns and repetitions in the mirror, but then I separated the reality from reflection.

Apart from mirror rooms there are some sculptures, paintings and a small gift shop with different books and small sculptures. It is a nice touch that all assistants are wearing T-shirts with Kusama’s signature spots pattern.

#YayoiKusama #InstaKusama

The World Through Women’s Eyes

In the very heart of Moscow one of the main boulevards – Tverskoi Boulevard is used as exhibition space. Every quarter or so the exhibition changes. This time it was an exhibition of contemporary photography – The World Through Women’s Eyes. All photographers showcased are women. It is rare, let’s be honest, considering that majority of photographers are men; but this is a step forward. 

There is a verity of themes: family, nature, architecture even cars. Each section out of ten consisted of 7 photographs by one artist. It is a shame that some descriptions were limited and did not give any background on a photographer. 

I liked some works, however, some did not look so professional to me. It looked like someone abused Instagram filters… 

The exhibition is placed in open air and absolutely free. It allows everyone who is passing by to stop for a minute and admire contemporary photographs. It is a good way to spread beauty and educate people.

Street Art in Moscow – level up

I love Street Art!

Street Art in Moscow is taken to a whole different level. It might be a debate in some countries if it is legal or not but in Moscow authorities have taken this matter in their own hands. Street Art in Moscow is created with cultural and educational purpose.

Aeroflot, the most successful Russian airline and a member of Skyteam Alliance, carried out a series of large scale artworks. Graffiti shows beautiful portraits of flight attendants with elements of famous Russian cities such as Kazan, Kaliningrad, St Petersburg and others. The images are beautiful, colourful and pleasant to look at but they also promote a number of cultures across Russia and promote tourism. Sure thing it is a marketing tool for the airline but it makes streets look better and more enjoyable place to walk.

Another thing that caught my eye was a development with tall buildings with animal paintings on the side – zebra, elephant and giraffe. Apparently it was there for 3 years already but I never saw it. It is very impressive – twenty-something-storey paintings especially when they are beautifully executed. It was idea of a construction company responsible for the project. But its not only to decorate streets but also to educate, each animal has a short description written on the eye level as well as a small map of natural habitat for these wild creatures.

There are also many ongoing competitions for best graffiti among young artists as the government is promoting culture and talents through creating a challenge for artist to create a themed graffiti, some are devoted to historic figures, some to going to space. It is lovely to see how the city is changing  and getting more and more colourful but it is also good to realise that pretty pictures have meaning. These collaboration of street artists and municipal authorities is a brilliant way to enhance creativity and decorate a city. Well done!


Way into the mountains in France

I love travelling through small towns and villages that are not out there in the open but hidden from everybody. I have recently been in a small town called Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert which is home to less than 300 people. It is not far from Lodeve and Montpellier in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southern France.

There are many shops with local handcrafted items such as staffed toys, clothes, jewellery and a lot of wine of course. One of many shops is a gallery of contemporary art with paintings by Armelle Bastide d’Izard. She is a french artist with a local media exposure and a list of exhibitions. Her exhibitions were mostly local but Armelle also exhibited in large cities such as Montpellier and art capital of France – in Paris.

Her artworks are bright and colourful, full of life. Some paintings are figurative, depicting surroundings – street views, landscapes, and some are abstract. The weather was nice during our visit and sun filled the room, which made the paint even more vibrant. The artist was there herself and I assumed that she worked on the top floor as some works were shown in the process as in the artist studio.

“Good vs Evil” by Maurizio Cattelan

This is the analysis of Maurizio Catalan artwork and its performance at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Sale 2013.

Maurizio Cattelan is an Italian artist, who was born in Padova in September 1960. He is famous mostly for his sculptures and installations, but he also works with photographs and acrylics. Maurizio uses a very wide range of materials in his work such as steel, wood, papie mache, glass, stuffed animals, taxidermized animals, skeletons and wax.

Maurizio Cattelan is a commercial artist, who does not consider himself as an artist. In his interview published in 2000[1] he said “I am not an artist. I really don’t consider myself an artist. I make art, but it’s a job.” This statement and idea of art as solely a job may be a part of marketing strategy and image creation. This self-criticism and doubt may be attractive to customers and by buying his art consumers admit the talent of Cattelan and his artistic qualities. The range of different business moves for profit support the idea of artist being commercial, the artist participated in the advertisement, for example the advertisement of Absolute vodka in 1997[2]. He also issued a magazine Together with Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Paola Manfrin called “Permanent Food” (1996 to 2007)[3]. Three years later Maurizio introduces new magazine and manages magazine “Toilet Paper”, bi-annual publication and illustration-based, since 2010[4].

Maurizio Cattelan is placed at a high end of the market and he is well known artist, with strong established reputation. He had travelled with solo exhibitions all over the world and had some works presented in the museums and galleries. The most significant and most recognizable are Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Project 65 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tate Gallery, London (1999), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2003). Maurizio Cattelan also participated in the Venice Biennale (1993, 1997, 1999, and 2002). His works are also a part of important collections throughout the world such as Rubell Family Collection, Miami; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Castello di Rivoli, Turin; the Dakis Joannou Collection, Athens and Fondation Pinault, Paris.[5] The more popular the artist is the more cultural, hence, market value is added to his works. Therefore, the long list of the galleries and museums suggests that the prices for his art are relatively high.

This overview of the artist, his background and key points of his career may help to analyze and understand his position in the market, as well as to determine where in the market fits the chessboard “Good versus Evil”. In this section I am going to outline the structure of the market for Maurizio Cattelan, determine his works’ price range and summarize key points.

The record price for Mauricio Cattlans’ work was achieved in 2010 for untitled sculpture of the man in the hole made from wax. It was sold for hammer price of $7,000,000 (4,710,000 GDP), which was strongly over the estimate of $3,000,000 – 4,000,000 (2,020,000 – 2,700,000 GDP).[6] Maurizio Cattelan has some works that are sold for millions and were underestimate, such as “Not afraid of Love” sculpture, “The Ballad of Trotsky” or “La nona ora”.

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The table above represents the price range of the average data for the hummer price from 2000 to 2012 as steps of 10%. We can see that the half of the lots was sold for less than $51,218, which is relatively low. However, if we are looking at the top end of his works, we can see that 10% of his works were sold somewhere between $550,000 and $7,000,000 which is relatively expensive.

From the chart bellow it can be seen that Maurizio Cattelan accumulates his wealth and if the outliers (such as 7 million sale in 2010) are omitted we have a decline during the economic crisis, but general trend increases overtime. This means that more works are being sold or fewer but at higher prices, and the more art works are distributed the more fame the author gains and hence, the prices may be expected to keep rising. This means that the Cattelans’ works may be considered not only as art but also as investment. The investment might not be bringing return in the very short run, because the prices rise slowly and the market is rather stable, but in 10-20 years it might bring a significant return.

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All the data provided starts from 2000, hence the analysis is limited and it can not be determined when the market started to rise or how the artist was developing his niche in the market before 21st century, in his early career.

In order to determine the main clients of the artist we should analyze the pie-chart bellow of the structure of transactions made by countries. It can be seen clearly that the most interest in Cattelan is showed by USA, where the artist has lived and worked for a long time, UK and native country – Italy. This chart shows that Maurizio Cattelan is a cross border artist, which means that he has more markets to sell his works, hence, it increases his chances to sell the work.

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Another important indicator to look at in this particular case is the proportion of sculptures, photographs and other media category. As we can see from the chart bellow, sculpture is the main media used by the artist. Hence, we can expect the prices for the sculpture to be higher, because the hand of the master is seen more explicitly rather than, for example, in furniture. This pattern can help us in analyzing the performance of the chessboard “Good versus Evil” which was categorized into Ceramic media category.

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This section is devoted to the lot itself. The subject matter is never out of fashion, which is unresolvable battle of good and evil. The fact that the chessboard has two “teams” – good and bad – and the player can choose a side to fight for might be very appealing and attract more attention and interest from bidders. There are 32 figures hand-painted and crafted by renowned Italian ceramicists Bertozzi and Casoni. Two teams have a mixture of fictional, historical and popular characters from all times. The idea behind this mix is to show good and evil forces in a very broad way and question the concept of reality. Adolf Hitler and Cruella De Vil represent black king and queen, whereas on the “good” side Martin Luther King Jr. and the Virgin Mary appear as main figures. For the white side of the chess there are firefighter, Pinocchio, Mother Teresa, Supermen, Gandhi, Che Gevara and others. For the black side of the chess set we can observe the tree from Adam and Eva’s garden they took the forbidden fruit from, Count Dracula, Rasputin, Donatella Versace and others. There are all unique figures except for Sigmund Freud, whose figure appears on the both sides of the game. The variety of characters brings together different potential byers and attracts different social groups. There are also figures of diverse level of recognition, which implies thin note of irony and humor that can be recognized by educated and intelligent people, which makes byers feel special and smart.

There is a set of seven pieces of this chessboard. This one is the 7th edition. There are only two sets that can be followed with resources available (2nd and 7th), further research will be needed to find other editions, however, it might be suggested that they are in hands of private collectors. In order to understand the estimate, that was given to this lot by experts, previous sales of the chessboards should be analyzed. Sotheby’s New York has estimated the second edition at $3500000-45000 (230000-290000 GDP) in the beginning of 2000s, unfortunately, there is no sign neither of successful nor failing. At 2009, in the very beginning of the economic crisis Christie’s New York reduced the estimate to $250000-35000 (170000-220000 GDP) and lot was sold over the high estimate at $4585000 premium (2768000 GDP). Even during the economic instability and overall decline of the market the lot was sold at unexpected rate, which should attract attention and increase interest among the series of chessboards, hence, increase its market value and price.

Another edition that can be followed is the 7th, which is the lot of my choice. The chessboard is dated by year 2003 and before it was sold at the auction for the first time, chessboard had been exhibited in RS&A LTD in London and Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York, private collection. In 2007 7th edition appears at evening sale in Christie’s London in “Post War and Contemporary art”, estimated at the $240000-320000 (150000-200000 GDP) and sold over the estimate $423000 (264000 GDP). The market was at its hot spot; hence there might be a lot of bidders who push the hummer price up. Considering constant underestimation and recovered market after the recession, the estimates might have been more aggressive at recent Sotheby’s sale in 2013. However, estimates were the same as in previous sale $240000-320000 (150000-200000 GDP). The popularity of the artist has increased recently, which has added market value. Considering all the factors it might be expected to perform better than the last sale at the auction. The fact that the estimated level had remained the same might be explained if there are issues with condition of the work. If the condition is relatively bad with some extreme damage it may bring the price down. However, after reading the condition report of the Sotheby’s electronic catalogue entry it might be concluded that it is not the case, because “This work is in very good condition. Close inspection reveals a small number of minute scratches to the surface of the wooden chess board in a few isolated places.”[7] Minor scratches unlikely to lower the estimated price.

The placement of the work on preview is also important part of marketing plan to sell the work. The chessboard was placed to the right from the main entrance, next to the star lot. It was placed on such an accessible spot to ensure that as many people as possible will see it. This place adds number of people viewing it and hence creates potential buyers.

In regards of the catalogue entry, there were two whole pages devoted to this lot, which indicates its significance and attracts attention. Since it is a day sale, most of the lots have no more than one page and not much written text about the lot. In case with “Good versus Evil” we have high-resolution picture of reasonable size as well as whole page of catalogue note.

It can be seen in the catalogue, that there is an extra payment for intellectual property rights to the artist as well as temporarily import duties. This shows that the work has been imported and the artist is popular across borders and outside EU as well.

Catalogue note is trying to attract bidders by making the work more desirable. This is achieved through different means; one of them is the language that is used in work and artist description. For example use of subjective adjectives and attaching opinions such as “beautifully executed and intricately detailed”, “[Mauricio Cattelan] one of the most eloquent voices in contemporary art”. Another method used in the catalogue note is to intrigue the readers and add more personality to the text by quoting either artist himself or famous people about the artist or his piece of art. In this particular case it is a quote of contemporary artist Diana Kamin, who says that the chessboard is “battlefield to imagine an epic confrontation between the titular forces”.[8]

In order to bring closer the work and the viewer, there is a short description of some characters from the board, written in a funny and ironic manner. Nevertheless, from my point of view, one of the most important ways to “sell” the lot is description of the exhibition of “The Art of Chess” which was devoted to the legendary and fictional or not game between Napoleon Bonaparte and General Henri-Gratien Bertrand. By making the reference to world known people from history this chess set becomes much more desirable than others. Further research may show that the exhibition was hold in RS&A LTD, London to celebrate the art of playing chess, among other famous contemporary artist such as Damien Hirst, Barbara Kruger, Yayoi Kusama, Paul McCarthy and others. This also adds to the cultural value and therefore market value.

Literature list in the catalogue is not very long and consists only from three entries. All of them are publications in the catalogues for the “Art of Chess” exhibition, catalogues are published in London, Moscow and New York. The work is date 2003, hence, the provenance will not be long, however, for a decade it is followed by clear ownership.

Overall performance at the auction was relatively good, but hummer price (140000GDP) was slightly under the estimate, but still above its reserve price. Unfortunately, the number of bidders is unknown, but final price suggests that there were not many and competition was not strong enough, otherwise hummer price would have been higher. Moreover, since it is an edition of 7 chess sets, it might be argued that the work is not unique, hence, lower the price.

There were two works presented at the auction: “Good versus evil” and “Angolo del Ricordi” installation of a glass mailbox with mail in it. The second lot was 10 lots after the chessboard and was bought in. Unsuccessful performance may be due to unappealing subject matter, unsatisfying condition or other factors that need to be researched further.

To conclude with the topic it should be said that I would have expected higher estimate of this lot and much better performance, because of its previous successful sale and high and stable artist’s position in the market. The fact that the chessboard was downgraded from evening sale in 2003 to day sale in 2013, may have affected the performance as well. It might be argued that if the chessboard were presented at evening sale instead of day may have attract more generous bidders and attention from the “higher” end. Also, this work is not typical for Maurizio Cattelan, so that may have lowered the price as well, because people pay for the brand as well as art, hence, they want it to be recognizable. From my point of view this is a good investment, because I would expect the prices on this artists’ work to increase over time. Moreover, it is a very attractive piece to possess, because not only it is art, but also a chess that has history and meaning behind it.



[1] Phaidon Press Limited, published in 2000, ISBAN 0714838667, Untitled, catalogue of Maurizio Cattalan work

[2] Internet source, Absolutad, http://www.absolutad.com/absolut_lists/ads/pictures/?id=1364&_s=ads

[3] Internet source, Cattelans’ Books, available on http://www.postmedia.net/cattelan/publisher.htm

[4] “Toilet Paper”, internet resource http://www.toiletpapermagazine.org

[5] Internet source, ArtSalrsIndex, available at http://artsalesindex.artinfo.com/asi/search/Maurizio_Cattelan/artistProfile.ai?artistID=30148

[6] Internet source ArtPrice available at http://web.artprice.com/artist/149247/maurizio-cattelan/lots/past?idcurrencyzone=2&iso3=GBP&l=en&p=1&sort=price_desc&unite_to=in

[7[ Condition report, available on http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2013/contemporary-art-day-auction-l13023/lot.320.html

[8] Sotheby’s catalogue sale, day sale of “Contemporary Art sale” , 2013

[9] Artnet and Artprice were used for indices and graphs, as well as estimates and performance of 2nd edition of the chess set.

Venice Biennale

Venice Biennale is one of the most important events for contemporary art. Art in a very wide sense – dance, art, cinema, architecture and music. Once every two years Venice provides a ground for many nations to present their art in a pavilion. Initially, this oldest biennale, took place in Giardini – beautiful garden with separate buildings-pavilions, later one venue was not enough and the Biennale extended to a second venue – Arsenale. Moreover, many pavilions are randomly appear on the streets of Venice and are hidden from the tourists. This year for the 56th biennale the title is All the Worlds Futures.

Serbian Pavilion 

It was one of the most powerful experiences at Venice Biennale. The exhibition was called “United Dead Nations”, the name is extremely powerful especially with the display. In the room on the floor there are piles of flags that once belonged to non-existing countries nowadays, countries like USSR and Yugoslavia. The music was peacefully tragic and completed the exhibition beautifully.

French Pavilion

France took the ancient trees out of the content and placed them in the pavilion, you have a giant spinning tree in the middle and sitting areas around it. The siting area, or more like lying area, looks as if it has a very hard surface, but in fact you fall gently in it.
The idea is to be closer to nature at take a close look at it. The sound is a buzzing is a very low electric sound that is created by the tree. You are invited to sit, enjoy and watch the tree. But in reality this buzzing sound is very disturbing and unpleasant.

British Pavilion

This pavilion was quite a shock, but the colour was good. British pavilion, executed by Sarah Lucas, welcomes you with a giant yellow penis and in the first room there is another one, because one is not enough. Walking through the room you can cigarette in the butt and children running around and laughing at toilet jokes. Other people are getting upset and saying that it’s not funny.

Japanese Pavilion

Japanese presented a very touching video installation about how kids come into the world. Four screens were playing different videos, one girl was saying that: “There was a red carpet and the pink carpet, I fell asleep and the next morning mommy said welcome home”. Walking upstairs you find yourself in a setting with red strings and a boat. It is believed that when a person is born he/she is already connected to your future husband/wife by a string and that’s how they find each other. The room was decorated beautifully.

Romanian Pavilion

Romania was the only country to showcase fine art by Adrian Ghenie. The exhibition “Darwin’s Room” was curated by Mihai Pop. It was interesting to see so many self-portraits and landscapes, oil on canvas is a rare at a Biennale.

Nordic Pavilion 

Surprisingly, one of my favourite pavilion was from Norway. The installation from frames with broken glass is also complimented by the sound of glass. Very light singing at the background, very calming. Trees in the middle of pavilion, birds sound and sense of presence of the nature. You just want to stay there for a while.

This is a small piece from what Biennale has to offer. As not a great fan of contemporary art I actually enjoyed being there. The experience, the atmosphere, beautiful walks, Italian spirit and diversity of pavilions make Venice Biennale worth a trip.