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Zilkens' News Blog

Dr. Stephan Zilkens

Stephan Zilkens

Zilkens‘ News Blog 17 2024

It's now open - the 60th Venice Biennale and Stefan Kobel doesn't have much to say about it because it's officially an art event and not an art market event. Is that why there were hardly any gallery owners travelling? Apart from the many who happened to be there? Next weekend we will know the auction result of the Klimt painting from Vienna and in Berlin we are celebrating Gallery Weekend in the hope that the auction will send encouraging signals and that the weather will be better than in Venice.

My personal impressions of the lagoon city are as follows: If you don't swim with the opening crowd that surges through the city on the first day, you hardly meet anyone you know. The current situation in Ukraine is reflected artistically in several places. In addition to the Ukrainian Pavilion in the Arsenale, the Polish Pavilion in the Giardini has an almost poetic work that gets under your skin. The Pinchuk Art Centre has put together an exhibition entitled "Dare to Dream" in the Palazzo Contarini-Polignac, at the opening of which Hanna Vasyk, who worked there before she joined the army, gave a speech that I don't want anyone to miss. Just click here! It will also be available on our homepage. The central exhibition of the Biennale is dedicated to the theme: Strangers everywhere - and as a European-educated art historian, you really do feel like a stranger. You hardly know any of the exhibited artists; almost all of them are being shown at the Biennale for the very first time. Even Farelnissa Zeid, who plays a key role in the emancipatory development of women in art in the Arab world, is only represented for the first time with one work. In general, the exhibition in the Giardini and the Arsenale shows traditional art forms such as painting and sculpture. In other words, things that can still be properly insured. Many of the national pavilions are showing videos, films, installations, acoustic works or conceptual works, the brief visualisation of which is necessary but not a prerequisite. This also applies, for example, to the winning Australian pavilion, whose visual impression is not really that great - but the feeling of being able to trace a piece of human history over 65,000 years genealogically and visually probably won over the jury. Of the national pavilions, I liked Zimbabwe's best, perhaps because a work by Moffat Takadiwa, which would also be inconceivable without El Anatsui (or perhaps it is?), impressively illustrates the thematic sequence of environment/plastic/capital/tradition. Otherwise, everyone should make their way there by July if possible. Many of the side exhibitions outside the official programme can no longer be seen from September. The owners of the exhibition spaces know how to calculate rents - and they haven't heard of a rent freeze either. Overall, insurers will have to increasingly adapt to the fact that works of art consist of all kinds of electronic devices, such as lap-tops, beamers, holograms, large screens, etc. No colour will crumble or peel off. No paint crumbles off or a crack appears in the canvas. Some things simply wear out and the actual artwork is on a stick or in the cloud. Cyber risks are also increasing in the art market, especially as the threshold for Bitcoin and the like is not particularly high.

When choosing an insurer, it is important to look at its financial strength, even if this is no guarantee that it will pay out in the event of a claim. On the other hand, our profession can help to enforce justified claims, even if it sometimes takes years. However, Donald Trump has chosen a company for his bail insurance that the Attorney General does not like because the company's financial strength does not cover the bail amount. It's a shame when the security is not there and the state realises it. Presumably it is considered smart to keep the public in the dark about your true circumstances. But that is precisely the core of the charge - someone is making himself bigger than he is - and that has already been noticed again.

A good start to the week to everyone

Stephan Zilkens and the team at Zilkens Fine Art Insurance Broker GmbH in Solothurn and Cologne

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