Big data, cloud, network neutrality, Facebook and Twitter: who would have expected that these technologies would once have such a large impact on our society? Artworks made by using new technologies are no longer only on the margins. Today, artists are constantly creating new worlds of experience and increasingly take positions that reflect the digital age.
Artists gauge technical innovations, critically assess the range of digital media and find new uses for the modern means of communication and data streams which define everyday-life. Media Art is the art of today, the art that people will remember in the future.
– Annette Doms, Director of UNPAINTED media art fair
The first ever fair in Germany for digital and new media art is held in Munich from 17-20th January 2014. UNPAINTED thematises more than 50 exhibitors of ‘the digital age’ from an artistic perspective with applications coming primarily from Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Paris, and New York. Questions raised are “How has the digitisation of the world changed art?” Here Sabrina Möller talks to Haleh Heydari of the Haleh Gallery about the program, art from Iran, the Middle East and the forces modernising art mediums today.
Please tell us more about your gallery. Which artistic positions do you represent?
The gallery’s program unites a diverse group of contemporary artists, who address in their works similar questions of identity, heritage and roots. We show the works of global artists, especially from Iran and the Middle East. Art from Iran is one of the most exciting areas of art being produced in the region and is still underrepresented on the European art market. We provide special access for a German audience to this fascinating art scene of Tehran illustrating its similarities and diversities, and our curatorial program intends to bridge the gap between the local and the global. We want to establish a dialogue between different cultures. With our exhibitions we are presenting artists from Germany and Iran and we aim to show that both cultures rely on the same contemporary visual language.
Was there a main influence on you concerning your decision to include mainly media art in your program? And when did you begin showing new media art?
A careful observer one can see that media art is a very important means of artistic expression in the contemporary art scene. The use of media art is THE connecting link for the international art scene. From New York, Tehran to Munich media art is employed almost everywhere.
Festivals like Ars Electronica and institutions like the ZKM (Zentrum für Kunst und Medien) in Karlsruhe demonstrate the importance of this new emerging art.
Could you estimate how art has changed during the last years under the force of digitisation?
I think this process has not yet been completed. There are many more changes still to come with the internet and new technology, currently as yet unknown. The force of digitisation is certainly connected to a process of democratization because this art is accessible more widely and not restricted to small circle of people. The connection between art and technology will lead to completely innovative and revolutionary artworks. So we can be optimistic for the future.
Within the art market, new media art is still regarded as having a second-rate position. How would you evaluate the actual role of new media art within the art market and which tendencies do you expect for the coming years?
If you look back to the history of art and its markets, the emerging new art had always been connected with doubts and some growing pains. For example photography wasn’t held in high esteem for a long time, yet now it is very well accepted artistic medium. I think we need to find new ways to purchase and distribute this kind of art. These kinds of challenges make media art much more interesting and exciting.
What makes new media art so interesting to you?
Media art is the artistic expression of our time. I am thrilled to witness the contemporary developments, the connection between art and technology. Technology has changed our lives so much in recent years; I believe it will also change art. In my opinion the use of new media might be as important for the arts as the invention of photography.
Which artist will you present at the UNPAINTED Fair in January?
I will present Labor45, which was founded 2007 by Barbara Herold and Kat Petroschkat.
Why did you choose to present Labor45?
Since the beginning of my time in Munich, I have been observing the art scene and following the work of Barbara Herold and Kat Petroschkat. They fit very well in our curatorial program because they address questions of identity in an intriguing manner in their artworks. At the same time we share an interest for new media art. With today’s technology Labor45 conducts artistic research on how to use new media as autonomous creative mean of expression. Their works are very inspiring, creative and innovative.
What are your expectations for the UNPAINTED and why did you choose to be part of this art fair?
So far only very few events have been entirely dedicated to new media art. So I am very proud and happy to be part of this pioneering event. UNPAINTED is an excellent opportunity to create new synergies between gallery owners, artists, curators and collectors in this new emerging art field.
What makes Munich a good spot for UNPAINTED?
Especially for new media art Munich is the perfect venue. Many developments of new technology are taking place here, since so many important companies for new technologies have chosen Munich as their headquarters. From the beginning, new media art has found a home in the city of Munich through the engagement of Sammlung Goetz as well as with the former ZKMAX (Maximiliansforum) the city of Munich dedicated a city run art offspace to new media art.
Which artists and exhibitors are you curious about?
I am curious about all the artists and exhibitors. It will be a balanced mix of well-established galleries and younger galleries offering a high potential for new synergies. And an amazing possibility to have a look at new media art!
For more information about the Haleh Gallery please visit www.haleh-gallery.com
Author/ Writer: Sabrina Möller (Publisher & Editor in Chief)
“The central event location for the fair is the historic Postpalast building in Munich. The unusually structured complex of buildings of the former parcel delivery office in Arnulfstrasse was built in 1926. Heading out from the Postpalast, a network of further offerings from the fair are covered by a walking tour within Munich’s bustling city centre.” – UNPAINTED website.