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In 1996, Peter Bläuer, alongside art world friends Eva Presenhuber and Peter Kilchmann, founded LISTE—Art Fair Basel. It has since become a place to discover emerging artists, known to purposefully select a small number of participants, with most of its artists under the age of 40, and galleries under the age of five. For its 2016 edition, Whitewaller spoke to Bläuer, the director of the fair.
WHITEWALLER: For LISTE’s first fair in 1996, David Zwirner and Maureen Paley were participating galleries of yours. What galleries should we keep our eyes on this year?
PETER BLÄUER: All of them, of course! But you should really pay attention to the 11 galleries making their LISTE debut. Those 11 lucky galleries were selected from 250 applicants. This year’s new galleries are from Egypt, Germany, Ecuador, England, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Portugal, Switzerland, and the U.S.
WW: LISTE is dedicated to younger galleries and emerging art. Are you ever faced with a relatively “new” artist that may not meet your age requirement, or a gallery that may not be new, but has yet to gain deserving recognition?
PB: Generally, we try to be flexible with regard to the “rules.” For example, for the last several years, artists over 40 have also been shown at the fair. Nevertheless, such cases have to remain in the minority since our main focus has been, and will continue to be, on emerging artists. With respect to “older” galleries, for instance, we’ve accepted Laveronica, a nine-year-old gallery from Modica, whose program reflects strong and proactive commitment on the part of the gallery.
WW: LISTE recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Are there any programs or events to mark this year’s fair?
PB: Last year we celebrated our 20th birthday—Now we’re 21. But this year, we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Bank E. Gutzwiller & Cie, Basel, which has been providing LISTE both financial and moral support almost since the fair´s inception. A truly wonderful and invaluable partnership!
WW: You had five galleries from Latin America showing at LISTE in 2015. Are there any new countries represented this year?
PB: Yes. This year, Egypt, Ecuador, and Kosovo will be represented at LISTE for the first time. In total, we have 79 galleries from 34 countries, thus truly international.
WW: How has technology been incorporated into LISTE over the years?
PB: Of course it’s clear that new media are gaining ground, and that more and more artists are working with new media. At the same time, we have noted that there aren’t that many collectors yet who are especially focused on new media. Institutions are more active in that respect. But we have galleries that show exclusively new media. At LISTE, you’ll see galleries such as KOW, Berlin, whose space will be populated only with video and film, or Antenna Space, Shanghai, which will present a room-sized video installation.