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The European art fairs worth visiting this summer

30 June 2017

There are a number of European fairs worth visiting this summer, not least Art Nocturne Knocke on the Belgian coast (5–15 August). Some 40 exhibitors offer a vast selection of works, from antiques to contemporary art and design – expect to see watches and photographs alongside textiles, jewellery, and Pre-Columbian art. Once again, the fair spills out on to the street with the 24th edition of Sculpture Link Knokke, a sculpture walk along the Zeedijk (boardwalk). This year, the fair’s platform for contemporary art is strengthened by a selection of works by 10 innovative Belgian artists and designers selected by Johan Valcke, curator of the Design Museum Gent. Look out for contemporary jewellery by Rembrandt Jordan and Elisabeth Leenknegt, ceramics by Johan Van Geert, and glass art by Anja Segers.

Elsewhere, the medieval town of Bamberg welcomes the 22nd Bamberg Art and Antiques Festival, which runs from 21 July–21 August. As always, there will be a fine selection of paintings, decorative art, and furniture. With an established presence in Geneva, De Jonckheere, specialists in 17th- and 18th-century Flemish painting, has just opened a new space in Monaco. Its inaugural show, ‘The Meeting of Masters’ (until 30 September), combines the gallery’s expertise in Flemish painting with its commitment to modern art, bringing together works by the Brueghel dynasty, Lucas Cranach the Younger, Frans Snyders and David Teniers, with Magritte, Calder, Fontana and Dubuffet.

The Music from the Balconies (1984) Ed Ruscha. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

The Music from the Balconies (1984) Ed Ruscha. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

In late summer, from 27 July–27 August, the Edinburgh Art Festival takes over the Scottish capital. Now in its 14th edition, the extensive programme includes more than 45 exhibitions across some 35 venues. Solo shows of leading Scottish artists, such as Douglas Gordon at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Stephen Sutcliffe at Talbot Rice Gallery, are staged alongside displays of international artists. Look out for Ed Ruscha at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and Jac Leirner at the Fruitmarket Gallery. Landscape painters Constable and William McTaggart are at the Scottish National Gallery, while ‘NOW’ – a three-year programme of six exhibitions – at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, launches with a display of work by Mona Hatoum, Rivane Neuenschwander and Nathan Coley.

In London, don’t miss Mayfair Art Weekend from 30 June–2 July, which highlights the thriving gallery scene in this historic part of the capital. The Royal Academy of Arts is the centre of proceedings – the courtyard hosts a number of temporary works by emerging artists – and more than 60 galleries and auction houses across Mayfair and St James’s are taking part. Among the exhibitions worth visiting are Per Kirkeby at Michael Werner (until 16 September), Milton Avery at Victoria Miro (until 29 July), Lee Lozano at Hauser & Wirth (until 29 July), and Victor Pasmore at Marlborough Fine Art (until 29 July).

Le Baiser (The Kiss) (conceived 1886, cast 1905–10), Auguste Rodin. Bowman Sculpture at Mayfair Art Weekend

Le Baiser (The Kiss) (conceived 1886, cast 1905–10), Auguste Rodin. Bowman Sculpture at Mayfair Art Weekend

Bowman Sculpture commemorates the centenary of Rodin’s death with an exhibition of more than 30 works from across his career (until 27 July). Early works such as Maquette for the Burghers of Calais (conceived 1884) are shown alongside later, more abstract pieces. The display also offers the rare opportunity to see Fugit Amor, conceived in 1887 and realised as part of the artist’s sculptural group, The Gates of Hell. This monumental work encompasses 180 figures, several of which, including The Kiss, were cast as independent pieces.

Elsewhere in the capital, the exhibition ‘I AM’, organised by CARAVAN and curated by Janet Rady, travels from the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts in Amman to St-Martin-in-the-Fields (2 July–20 August). Featuring 31 women artists from across the Middle East and billed as a ‘peacebuilding’ exhibition, the show celebrates the accomplishments of women in the face of repressive cultural, religious, and social forces.

Mask, n.d., Ligbi people, Ivory Coast. Mark Eglington at Tribal Art London

Mask (n.d.), Ligbi people, Ivory Coast. Mark Eglington at Tribal Art London

Signalling the start of the autumn season, Tribal Art London – the prelude to Parcours des Mondes in Paris – returns to the Mall Galleries for its 10th edition (6–9 September). Twenty-three specialists, including four newcomers, offer a range of works from Oceania, the Americas and Africa. Making his debut, Mark Eglington from New York offers a decorated Ligbi mask from the Ivory Coast and a striking Chokwe mask from Angola. The latter is an example of the Pwo genre, a type of mask that celebrates female ancestry, used during initiation ceremonies. Bryan Reeves brings a mask from the Dan tribe, well known for carving beautiful polished wooden masks as embodiments of spiritual power, also originating in the Ivory Coast. Other highlights include a Yoruba horse and rider from Nigeria at Emmanuel Ameloot; a Lobi stool with a characteristically extended leg also at the stand of Bryan Reeves; and a pair of colourful Zulu ear plugs at Sam Handbury-Madin.

From the July/August 2017 issue of Apollo. Preview and subscribe here.

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