Home Magazine MeetMe#36 | Liste Basel 2020

Related articles: MeetMe#9 | LISTE Basel 2019

Dear Joanna, here we are for a second short dialogue with Kooness, after your first year of directing Liste. I would like to start by asking you how Liste 2019 went as it was your first year as Director of this special fair? Were you able to learn from it, understand the triggering aspects and focus on your concerns towards emerging artists?

My second edition is such a big exception due to Coronavirus, so many things will be different this year from what we’d planned initially. But in general, I learnt from my first year as Director that the concept of Liste works pretty well, and that it should be less about doing things differently, or inventing something new, and more about using all available resources to bring the social significance of young contemporary art into focus. I think it is more important than ever to deal with emerging artists, since through them it is possible to have new perspectives on our world and to transcend the limits of our own perception.

Therefore, even though September Liste 2020 will be a smaller edition, I am very glad that we still have 16 solo presentations this year, and a lot to discover with many artists that are only at the beginning of their careers. 

If the last edition was daring, as it represented a new adventure, the upcoming one seems even more challenging as we are now facing all the consequences of the pandemic crisis. Anyway, you were brave, and you decided to open to the public on new dates – starting from September – and in a new location. Do you think the need of physically showing what artists think and produce could be even more important today?

The time in isolation has shown us that it is very important to have access and implement digital channels to exhibit and sell art as well as to collaborate with each other. But at the same time, it has become even more apparent that the personal experience of art including face to face meeting and direct exchanges of different actors in the art field, cannot be replaced by virtual means. 

In the current situation, Liste’s responsibility is to help galleries, and their artists, to recover from this economically devastating period by providing them with the best possible platform for personal encounters. But we can't do this alone. All of us, the whole art ecosystem with the collectors, curators, critics, have to stick together now – and in the future – to support the artists and their galleries and enable them to continue working and making their living. It is a necessity to buy art, because we need art: It leads us to a richer and more diverse vision of the world. Solidarity is always about interdependence. It is about having a common goal, which should be the preservation of culture. 

Liste Art Fair 2020 is going to host new and young galleries from literally all over the world – from Lima to Teheran, from Copenhagen to Lisbon, from San Paulo to Cape Town, Belgrade, Vienna, Tbilisi … so, does the fair remain the reference point for a new and social engaged contemporary art?

Liste creates a platform for a young generation of galleries to show the latest developments in contemporary art. We are a fair for artistic discoveries and it is extremely important for the young artists that their art is seen physically. In order to do this during the time of travel restrictions, we could only include galleries able to physically be at the fair, that can travel to Switzerland or for which it is possible to meet the official quarantine regulations. However, galleries that cannot be physically present due to travel restrictions will still have the opportunity to present their artists: indeed, Liste is introducing a host/guest model wherein 34 galleries, physically at the fair, will show both works by their own artists and works from 15 galleries that are unable to travel to Basel. 

So we will have in total 49 galleries at the fair. There is a great solidarity and support among the galleries, which is great to see. Through the many zoom meetings with the galleries in the last few months, a community has been created which under “normal” circumstances can only be established during the fair. 

As a result of this new host/guest model, we will be able to present many international galleries and artists despite the limitations caused by Covid-19.



From left to right: Liste flag at Warteck Wrkraum pp, ph. Diana Pfammatter, courtesy Liste; Liste 2019, Hayden Dunham, A New Bottom, performance, Company at the Joinery, ph. Diana Pfammatter, courtesy Liste.

Cover image: Joanna Kamm, Director, 2019 Liste Art Fair Basel, ph. Diana Pfammatter, courtesy Liste.

Wrtitten by Rossella Farinotti


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