THE START ART FAIR: WHERE LONDON’S ART COLLECTORS MEET INTERNATIONAL EMERGING TALENT: INTERVIEW WITH NIRU RATNAM

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Image : NIRU RATNAM

1. Niru, how was the START ART FAIR founded and what is the ultimate goal of this fair ? 

START was founded three years ago and focuses on emerging artists and the new art scenes. It is part of a wider program of exhibitions, awards and books called the Prudential Eye Program that aims to nurture new talent and give artists an international platform for their work.

" The aim of the fair is to allow London's collectors, curators and critics to discover new artists."


Image : Dastan's Basement - Amin Montazeri Hades

2. Why have you chosen to focus on putting emerging & new talent into the spotlight at London's Saatchi Gallery ?

The Saatchi Gallery is known for supporting emerging artists from the time that it had early shows of young British artists through to its recent international program. There is a natural fit between what we do and what they do and we've worked with them on a number of projects including the fair.


Image : Mehta Bell Projects - Ya Chu Kang

3. There are many young galleries from all over the world participating at the START ART FAIR, what do the artists and galleries putting themselves forward at this year's fair reveal about the current trends in the art market and the direction it is heading ?

" The market is heading in two directions - there is the top, blue-chip end that you see breaking records at auctions and then there is the market for emerging artists.  "

Collectors are interested in finding work by artists at the beginning of their careers with hopes that these artists will grow to have major international careers.


Image : The Little Bear Who is Pouring Out All the Stars in the Sky - Lai Chiu-Chen

4. Are there any new international markets in particular that have surprised you over the years ? 

The market for Korean art seems to have really boomed with major western galleries like Emmanuel Perrotin and White Cube taking serious interest. There's also some really interesting things happening in Eastern Europe that we're just beginning to get more information on. Russia seems to be going backwards in terms of its contemporary art scene and market which is quite surprising.


Image : Land of Deities No.4 - Chiu, Kuo-Chun

5. Do you have any advice for new collectors attending the fair ? 

Don't be afraid to talk to the art dealers - that is what they are there for! Don't be afraid to follow your instincts in terms of what you like.


Image : Bosse&Baum - Caterina Silva Paolo

6. What have been some of the highlights and challenges since the first edition of the START ART FAIR ? 

The highlights are working with some really talented gallerists who are sometimes working in places that you might not associate with contemporary art so much. The challenges are logistical - we've chosen to locate the fair in a museum rather than a convention centre which is amazing in terms of results but needs really careful planning in terms of logistics.


Image : Reading the Moon - Su Yu Xin

7. What are some of the events and program highlights of this year's START ART FAIR that you are most excited about ? 

There's a symposium of the new generation of artists emerging in Taiwan that takes place in the 'Future Island' room on Thursday 15th from 4pm to 5.30pm which should be really interesting. In addition to the 'Future Island' project we have two Taiwanese galleries making their debut at the fair.


Image : The Fragrant Orchard Of My Mother - Beso Uznadze

8. What is your opinion of the current state & status of the art fair system and do you see this changing in the next 5 years? 10 years ? 

" The art world will continue to become more international in terms of artists, gallerists and collectors. The old centres of London, New York, Paris and Berlin will be joined by many new art scenes creating a polyphony of related practices. "

This will have to be reflected more by art fairs so I can see the bigger fairs eventually having a much more international array of galleries participating.


Image : Orange pearl milk tea - YU Wai-Luen

START ART FAIR
NIRU RATNAM

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