5 artists under 30 – Chapter 1: Europe

[17 Jun 2014]


Potential (and already) stars of the European art market… here is our selection of the top five under-30 artists with the best auction results since January 2013. Artprice proposes a round-the-world tour of successful young artists in several chapters, starting with the five most sought-after signatures in Europe today.

Flore SIGRIST (b. 1985)
This Franco-Swiss artist is currently the most popular young artist on the European auction market. Between January 2013 and early June 2014, her auction turnover amounted to $411,000 excl. fees from just 8 works sold. A first abstract painting was submitted for auction in 2011 with an estimate already at around $30,000 … but Artcurial’s hammer did not fall until $60,000 (over $74,000 incl. fees). Flora Sigrist, a self-taught artist who suffers from a speech disorder, started painting when she was seven. Her spontaneity, her bright brushstrokes and her large formats have seduced numerous buyers, particularly Swiss and French. Meanwhile, her soaring prices have caught the attention of American buyers. On March 7, 2013 Sotheby’s sold one of her works in New York for $110,000 excl. fees ($134,500 incl. fees), the best auction result for such a young European artist since January 2013.

Hugh SCOTT-DOUGLAS (b. 1988)
This new recruit of the gallery Blum & Poe is English, but has chosen to settle in New York. He has just celebrated his 25th birthday and has already had several exhibitions in the United States, Europe (Italy, Germany, UK), and Asia (Tokyo, Hong Kong). Scott-Douglas questions the credibility of images in a society of the spectacle fueled by, among other things, cinema. To do so, he uses a technique that was a priori obsolete on the Contemporary art scene, the cyanotype (a reference to the color cyan) which give his works a blue atmosphere very much in vogue at the turn of the 20th century. Scott-Douglas is interested in the mechanics of the image, and so he quantifies the chromatic value of images and uses a digital algorithm to re-organize the visual information. The result, in short, is a computer-assisted chromatic ready-made, producing a somewhat meditative visual impact. Supported by one of the most important galleries on the international art scene, his signature did not take long to appear in the Contemporary sales of the leading auctioneers. In one year, the nine works offered in London and New York all sold at substantially high price levels, ranging from $30,000 to $65,000 (excl. fees). His record (included fees) stands at over $81,000 which was four times the work’s low estimate, for a 2011 cyanotype (Untitled 032) sold through Phillips in New York, March 7, 2014.

JR (b. 1984)
New spearhead of the French scene, JR is also based in New York and has caught the art world’s attention around the world with participative monumental works consisting of black and white portraits that he mainly installs in public places. Bringing art into the street has been his credo since his first illegal “installations” on the walls of cities in the early 2000s. His career received a major boost from two large-scale projects: the totally illegal exhibition Face2face on Israel’s Palestine separation wall, and then Women are heroes, a project that travelled to Africa, Brazil, India and Cambodia between 2007 and 2009. In 2011 he won the TED prize and joined the Emmanuel Perrotin gallery. Very much in fashion at the moment, popular with collectors and with the general public, JR’s work is coveted all over the world and sells in London, New York and Paris. For the time being, France has generated his best auction result with a large portrait on trellising that fetched the equivalent of $61,000 February 5, 2014 at Artcurial (Wrinkles of the City (Marino Saura Oton), Cartagena, Spain, €45,200 incl. fees). JR’s prices have indeed risen fast and his ambition has paid dividends: since June 4, 2014 Paris’s Panthéon has a renovation works tarpaulin draped around its dome decorated with thousands of JR’s portraits. There are more on the floor inside the famous monument.

Aslan GAISUMOV (b. 1991)
At 23 years old, the work of the Chechen Aslan Gaisumov deals with the disastrous impacts of war while eschewing all pathos via direct imaging. He takes books and historical documents that he dismembers, cuts into, drills, shoots, inflicting irreparable damage. The resulting object visually describes the cruelty of the events he relates. From the age of three, Aslan Gaisumov witnessed the Chechen war as unspeakable and indescribable-with-words experience which he has conceptually translated into artworks. His war series, presented at the 5th Contemporary Art Biennial in Moscow (September 20 – October 20, 2013), was substantially reported in the media and was immediately tested on the auction market. Between October 2013 and March 2014, Vladey, a Moscow auctioneer, included four of his works in its catalogs. All four sold at prices between $6,000 and $10,000 on average. Having graduated from Moscow’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in 2012, the young artist of 23 already has fifteen exhibitions to his credit since 2011. Russia, Germany and the Netherlands are the first countries to support this promising career start. For the time being Aslan Gaisumov has not yet penetrated the international market auction.

Cracking art group
The Cracking Art group brings together seven artists since 1993 around an End of the millennium Manifesto. The members are the Italians Omar RONDA, Renzo NUCARA, Marco VERONESE, and KICCO the Belgians Carlo RIZZETTI and William SWEETLOVE and the French artist Alex ANGI. The group focuses on contemporary issues, particularly ecological and scientific issues that could have an impact on the future of the planet. It is interested in the dialectic between natural and artificial and has chosen plastic as its favorite material. Cracking is also a reference to the industrial process that converts oil (organic matter) into plastics (synthetic material). The group’s awareness raising strategy involves lots of humor and irony, garish colors, kitsch iconography, and monumental “cloned” sculptures that invade urban spaces. Their operations have included an invasion of plastic turtles during the 49th Venice Biennale (2001, S.O.S World) and in 2010, giant snails in Paris. These “visual invasions” have not gone unnoticed and today their perennial animals (often produced in editions of 200) change hands for between $300 and $800 on average for a snail (available in multiple colors), and between $2,000 and $4,000 for a penguin. An affordable market that mixes fun and politics.