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ZContemporary is an art gallery based in Hamburg, Germany, specializing in the management and promotion of visual artists with a focus on abstract painting. They believe in the inspirational and creative power of art on all levels of society and they recently joined the Kooness tribe! 

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Dear Andreea, Kooness is excited to have you and your gallery on board! Your curatorial selection of abstract art is impressive and we would love to hear more about how you scout emerging artists and how you begin your project. Would you like to tell us a bit about it? 

Thank you very much, I am also happy about our collaboration with Kooness! ZContemporary specialises in contemporary abstract art - and that's a pretty broad field. There are so many talented artists out there - some are well-known and established, others are just starting their careers. We get a lot of submissions, but I'm also always on the lookout for new talents. Social media, local and digital exhibitions are the main sources for me to find new talents. Nevertheless, it is important for me to keep a fairly small artist roster and a focused portfolio. I also always wish to have a good and close connection with the artists I work with. The person and their story are very important. Sure, the first glance is at the artworks. But then directly to the artist statement and the biography. 

 

Marija Nikolic, January, 2020. Courtesy ZContemporary.

 

Your gallery was born in 2019, just before Covid happened... We could say that you were not  really lucky with regard to timing. However, you stayed strong and you grew out of it. What strategies did you adopt? 

Oh yes, there were indeed no easy times to start a business. The gallery was established in November 2019, followed by several local exhibitions and a strong focus on digital projects. The lastest proved to be of great importance the following year (2020) when the pandemic broke out. When the lockdowns came, not only did we have to close the physical space, but we also had to shift our focus entirely to our digital projects. We started collaborating with online platforms, organised virtual exhibitions, social media work became crucial and our "Studio Stories" project was also launched. This approach helped us to stay "alive" and continue our work of bringing new talents into the art scene. Digital work is still a very important part of what we do. 

 

Miriam Smidt, Flourish fiercely, 2021. Courtesy ZContemporary.

 

The International Art Scene is rapidly changing these days... Before being a gallerist you have longly been a painter, according to your experience, how is the European art scene changing?  Did you register any interesting trends in these last years? 

There have been many changes in the past three years. The art scene was hit much harder by the pandemic than expected, leading to massive fluctuations in both buying behaviour and artists' practices and goals. Everyone has tried to go digital - a difficult transition for many. Virtual exhibitions and art fairs instead of physical exhibitions, massive focus on social media, then the NFTs. The art scene is still changing - buying art online is more common but not yet established enough. Artists are becoming more versatile in terms of their projects. Online/offline - the boundaries seem to be slowly dissolving. In the current global situation, we all observe the general uncertainty. Nevertheless, people need art, visit exhibitions, go to art fairs, buy art (although on a small budget lately). Many visitors to our last exhibitions in Hamburg thanked us for the opportunity to "get out of their heads" - to have a change of focus, if only for an hour. Art gives hope, it transports us to a better place. And for the artists - hard times are challenging, of course, but also the most creative...

 

Lloyd Tabing, A little patch of grass, 2021. Courtesy ZContemporary.

 

What about the transaction to digital art? We would love to hear more about your ideas on this expanding media and the transaction to Web 3.0. 

The NFT market is receiving enormous attention and is expanding rapidly. What started as a "hype" for many seems to be here to stay. Sales of digital artworks are going through the roof, which is probably also due to the perfect timing offered by the pandemic circumstances.  I personally believe that both digital and physical art will co-exist and have their "followers". Many are suspicious of all the hype surrounding digital art, others are fully "on board". As an investment tool, digital art seems to be gaining more and more terrain and value in the art scene. 

Thank you very much for the pleasant interview! 

 

Courtesy ZContemporary.

 

Cover image: Gabriele Huesgen, Not able to plan, 2020. Courtesy ZContemporary.

 

Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the art world.

 

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