Canceled last year because of the pandemic, the Cologne art fair is now open until November 21 — despite record levels of daily new COVID-19 infections. Art fans who are tested, vaccinated or recovered can admire the offerings of the contemporary art world, like the work above by conceptual Russian American artist couple, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, "We Are Free!"
A total of 151 national and international galleries will be presenting current works of art. Among those represented is Polish artist Aneta Kajzer, whose works are particularly devoted to abstract art: this picture here depicts a blue, deformed dragon. The New York-based artist told the online magazine that when she works on her large-format paintings, it feels like a workout.
Once again, many young artists will be represented at this year's Art Cologne. One of them is 27-year-old Charles Brett Seiler, who lives and works in Cape Town. His works focus particularly on gender and sexuality, as well as intimacy and tenderness between men.
One highlight at Art Cologne will be a special exhibition by the platform Queer Budapest, titled "Resisting erasure: Queer art in Hungary." Selected works by queer Hungarian artists will be exhibited in the context of current political measures taken by the Hungarian government, such as the recent law against "homosexual propaganda," which has targeted the rights of the LGBTQ community there.
The Landesbank Baden-Württemberg's special exhibition "What – if Could – Be" features works by contemporary artists. This photograph entitled "Blow Up" is by German artist Josephine Meckseper. She lives in New York and has often drawn attention to the under-representation of women in the art scene in the past.
The works of Hans Reichel also arouse curiosity. He sent this warm, playful drawing to artist Herta Hausmann, whom he affectionately called "Hertiherz," while he was imprisoned in the French internment camp Camp de Gurs from 1941-1943. She was his confidante and companion, to whom he wrote about 200 letters between 1939 and 1964, which were later found in her estate.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on society are also depicted. In his work "Canopy," Thomas Demand shows identical white balconies in a sky-blue apartment block, one of which is covered by a yellow canopy. According to Demand, this is about an individual trying to protect himself from everyone else around him.
Moscow-born artist Andrei Roiter's "Things I don't need" (pictured above) will be exhibited courtesy of the Amsterdam gallery Akinci. The gallery, like all other exhibitors, can present itself at Art Cologne for a fair price, thanks to the German federal government's funding for the cultural sector, which makes it possible for art fairs like Art Cologne to take place at all.


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