5 must-see exhibitions during Art Cologne

Gepubliceerd op: 10 April 2019


Art Cologne, the world’s oldest art fair for modern and contemporary art, is now in its 53rd edition and is celebrating the ten-year tenure of its charismatic director Daniel Hug. In addition to international heavyweights such as David Zwirner, White Cube or Sprüth Magers, you can discover thirteen “young” galleries in the NEUMARKT section, six of which are participating in the fair for the first time. Besides galleries such as Supportico Lopez, Piktogram or Jan Kaps, Cologne-based Martinetz presents a solo by Selma Gültoprak, which is the outcome of a road trip through Texas. The Belgian exhibitors include Deweer and Super Dakota, in addition to galleries with a branch in Brussels, such as Daniel Templon, Nathalie Obadia and C L E A R I N G.


Nil Yalter has recently enjoyed renewed attention and this is fully justified. The artist, who was born in Egypt in 1938, was raised in Istanbul, then travelled to Iran and India, finally settling in Paris in 1965 – a city that was still important to artists at the time. In her work Yalter explored such themes as migration, alienation, inequality, feminism and emancipation, as you can see in the retrospective in the Ludwig Museum.

Do also visit the exhibition of the work of Jac Leirner, the Brazilian artist who won the prestigious Wolfgang Hahn Prize earlier this year. She creates work using found, everyday objects that sits at the crossroads between conceptual art, minimalism and institutional criticism. She devised an ethereal, wall-sized grid made from hundreds of cigarette papers, which gently sway in the wind, or an installation with plastic bags, which she bought in museum shops around the world.



Just like Leirner, Mark Dion also creates work by collecting, assembling and categorising items. The American artist has an obsession that borders on the scientific for the human urge to collect and categorise. His seventh exhibition at Gallery Nagel Draxler, titled ‘To Watch, To Cut, to Capture, to Kill, to Collect’, demonstrates this yet again. He refers to a collecting tradition, with sculptures and works on paper, as evidenced by the hundreds of tiny boxes, that contain all kinds of unique objects which the spectator may study.



There is no need to introduce the Belgian painter Koen van den Broek. But because we are nice people, we’ll do it again. In the early noughties he was singled out for his paintings of urban details, such as cracks in the road surface or pavement edges, which he painted, using bold, colourful planes, with which he expressed his affinity with American abstract painting. For his seventh exhibition at Philipp von Rosen, van den Broek has traded in the Californian landscape for the Flemish countryside. His work is also more figurative. We are very curious about the result.



Mélange was founded in 2015, and aims to present the work of artists who are unknown in the Rhineland. They often collaborate with international project spaces for this, such as Brussels-based Komplot.

They are currently hosting an adapted solo of an exhibition by Tim Plamper, which was previously shown at unttld contemporary in Vienna. Plamper is, amongst others, exhibiting drawings which he made in a subconscious state. You can also visit the group show ‘All Of This, Sweetie, Will One Day Be Yours’ in an old factory hall, that is just a short walk from Mélange.

This exhibition focuses on symbols, rituals and the ambivalences of culture, religion and sexuality.