New Trends in Contemporary Art Fairs lie in Their Evolving Ability to Keep Things Real

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'Maxine' (Director of Haute Presents)
iPad painting (Skype series) by Adam James Butche
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I'll never forget the experience I had years ago when I was invited to the beautiful home of one of my collectors. The highlight of my visit was the wonderful original Miro print I experienced in the downstairs toilet. I absolutely loved the idea of finding this fine art object in such an intimate space. The art became part of the history of the house and the family that lived there. The object had a home and felt loved and my connection to it was all the more genuine. For me art is something precious that should be part of our everyday life and experience.

As an artist, I get excited by having original art that I adore in my home and why would a collector be any different. Seeing art in its context made a big impact on my own aspirations to become a collector.

That is probably one of the main reasons why I'm so thrilled to be represented by 'Haute Presents' at the spring edition of Asia Contemporary Art Show 2016 (ACAS). The Director of Haute Presents, Maxine Noth, is already well known for the immersive ways in which she curates her shows in Berlin. Her company's aim has from the outset been about revitalizing "how one goes about experiencing artworks."

It comes as no surprise then that Noth chose to be part of this year's Asia Contemporary Art Show. This new model in contemporary art fairs seems to be the growing trend. The whole three day exhibition is taking place at the Conrad Hotel in Hong kong. Four floors, that will become the exhibition, will provide a blank canvas for the imagination of both gallerists and artist.

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Image provided by ACAS

The Conrad Hotel, Hong Kong is going to be a very appropriate setting for my latest series of iPad paintings completed using video calling technology since these recent pieces deal with the theme of human connection. In particular, I'm exploring how Virtual Distance effects the intimacy experienced between the artist and the sitter.

Although I won't be at the hotel in person, the advances in new technology will mean that I will be virtually present in the exhibition room over Skype during the show and painting the people I interact with. I hope that visitors will enjoy this aspect of interaction with the artist and the idea of experiencing art in a hotel room, which feels decidedly more personal and immersive than walking into a cold and uninviting white walled gallery space.

Coincidentally, It looks like the nature of the connection between buyer and seller might be key in the evolution of this new kind of international arts gathering.

I find it amazing that so many galleries are still adopting a much dated form of curation that comes across so "disconnected from reality". Gone are the times when you could pop into a gallery and be greeted warmly as a potential artist or collector and feel an instant connection to the work on display. Don't get me wrong, I think galleries have their place, however, the changing needs of the art market may be encouraging gallerists to become more creative in their approach to receiving visitors and ultimately buyers. And this can only be a positive thing.

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Image provided by ACAS

I am a British artist currently residing in Mexico and like many others who chose to showcase their art on an international level, I always take full advantage of the latest developments in technology to promote my work. Another huge advantage of international shows like ACAS is most certainly their online presence.

For instance, galleries and artists showing during ACAS are able to set up their very own webpage in advance, showcasing the work that will be on display during the actual event. The ability to self promote and even sell through the website before and after the event has to be one of the major attractions for galleries. It's just common sense to allow the buyer to plan in advance the type of work they want to view prior to such an important event.

In a global event where so many artists showcase their work for only a few days, it saves the buyer's time and avoids a wasted visit where they regrettably miss the work they could have connected with.

It seems inevitable then that the future belongs to those forward thinking art fairs and other online platforms that have the ability to evolve and stay relevant, whilst keeping the experience real. And how is this achieved then?

Well it turns out that the answer is in the combination of the creative management of the more informal venue, coupled alongside the innovative use of an online presence, which extends the ongoing communication between gallerist, artist and collector beyond the limitations of the physical event. The importance of "intimacy and engagement" has become a key aspect in the success of selling art.

Asia Contemporary Art Show Director Mr Mark Saunderson explained his point of view to me, "Beyond arts entertainment and spectacle, the principal objective of hosting any art fair is to connect art seller and art buyer, to close sales. Many of the artist's presented at the Show have not been seen in Asia before. Comparing to the high-price of premium works of headline artists at Art Basel Hong Kong and newcomer Art Central, also at seasonal auctions, the price tags at the Asia Contemporary Art Show are accessible for the younger collector and interested buyer. Walking into the Show viewers are immediately at ease and prompted to think about how an artwork may add to the character of their home and workplace. The Show offers a refreshingly different option for art buyers and arts specialists."

After all, hasn't that been the core purpose of these types of events all along?

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