Visiting Volta5 in Markthalle Basel was a very nice surprise after all the other fairs. Refreshing art, proximity to the visitors and a great location made this year’s Volta a true preference.
Art Basel has been an art market for years and, of course, is meant to be. While you are in there, you see no humour, no self-irony. From the art to the visitors, everything is very serious, very businessy, very styled. For those who come to buy, this is of course a great happening, and it is meant to be that way.
LISTE, then, used to be a new and refreshing fair for some years, but it has followed the hard rules of platformism and has become a smaller version of Art Basel. Although galleries at times still seem a bit improvised and stalls obviously do not cost as much as in Art, the humour has gone as well.
When entering Volta5, everything was different. Gallery owners actually said hello, even if there was no obvious aim to buy. There were quite a number of artworks which made you smile or laugh, everywhere the self-irony of the artist was present. And if there was no humour, then it was anger, or critique, but there was always emotion. And that’s what art should be about, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, there was little communication about the fact that Volta5 took place in Markthalle and not, as name and origin suggest, in Voltahalle. And not many people knew that Volta5 was only open until Saturday while the other fairs were open until Sunday. So probably lots of people simply missed it.
Nevertheless, it was probably the most interesting, most honest and most refreshing of the art fairs in Basel. And it is definitely a great tip for next year. Just make sure you get the place and the opening hours right.