This weekend the art world gathers in London for the annual edition of Frieze, one of the most important art fairs of the year, and with it a multitude of satellite fairs, exhibitions and events are hitting the town. One of the most interesting ones is the Sunday art fair, a Frieze satellite known for championing emerging art and taking risks. Only 25 galleries have been selected and among them there is one from Belgium: Brussels’ Levy.Delval. We’ve had a little talk with the co-founder Florent Delval about it all.
Why did you choose the Sunday Art Fair and why did you choose it over Frieze?
I would say it was the other way round: Sunday Art Fair invited us, for which we are very grateful. We visited it once before, but that was back in 2010 and in Berlin, the format was different. So we actually only discovered the fair on the very day of the build-up. But we obviously knew its reputation and that some emerging galleries and artists who took part in previous editions have since become major actors in the art scene.
What are you showing? Is it important to have a theme?
It’s important to make a booth look like an actual show, to create interactions between the works, which creates context, and thus offers a much better entry point into conversations with collectors. I wouldn’t say that our booth has a theme, but there are strong connections between the two artists we are showing: Hayal Pozanti (based in New York and born in 1983 in Istanbul) and Yannick Val Gesto (born in 1987 and based in Antwerp). They are both heavily informed by the culture and aesthetic of the internet, yet they both develop an organic style and try to avoid being too referential or nerdy. While Hayal’s work is offers geopolitical insight by dealing with global statistics or references related to global actors such as lobbies or intelligence, Yannick is more interested in the intimacy and immediacy of the spontaneous production of amateur online art and the community it creates. For example he curated a virtual group show.
What do you like most about art fairs?
As a visitor, I like to discover masterpieces of historical artists that have rarely been shown, the ones that aren’t in museum because they were kept in private collections for decades. But this relates more to fairs such as Art Basel or Frieze Masters. As a participant it’s exciting when it’s busy and meet new clients. It’s also nice when there’s a good selection of galleries that we feel connected to. In quiet moments it’s always a pleasure to chat with colleagues about new artists and projects. Plus, art fairs also mean dinners, parties, and sometimes exotic locations!
What do you dislike most about art fairs?
Well, there is a lot to say about the subject, and it’s often the main discussion point among gallerists. Currently we’re experiencing the aftermath of the art fair boom: there are more art fairs than collectors can visit. So while the blue chip galleries still manage to generate big profits, all the small or medium galleries are never guaranteed to even break even. This is not a good context for trying out new ideas or presenting emerging artists. But around the world new initiatives such as Sunday, Material in Mexico, Poppositions in Brussels or now Paris Internationale manage to keep the fees quite low while having a great selection of participants.
Which other exhibitions or places can you recommend while in London?
If I had the time, I would go see “Goya: The Portraits” at the National Gallery. I’d also be curious to see the Jon Rafman show at the Zabludowicz Collection. I will definitely stop by Arcadia Missa, a project space that has recently turned itself into a commercial gallery while managing to keep a strong curatorial and theoretical foundation. They are also editing and publishing books and are present at Frieze too. They will be our guests at the gallery in Brussels for a show featuring one of their artists, Harry Sanderson, in January.
London’s Sunday art fair runs until 18 October
Currently on show at Levy.Delval’s Brussels gallery space: Mohamed Namou and Alex Becerra