Tondo Artis: the (un)fair ground of contemporary art – a text by Frédéric de Goldschmidt
It all started with the Ladybug, a camera with an enigmatic and sensual name that allows filming in 360 degrees – and seeing as a fly does. Artist Marin Kasimir had assembled a group of 15 friends from the Brussels art world to help him acquire it. As a member of this XV Club, I thought to myself that our Ladybug could capture in a particularly striking way the Rundhof, the inner circular courtyard of the Basel Convention Center, which annually attracts the crème de la crème of the contemporary art world on the occasion of the preview of Art Basel.
Back in 2012, I could never imagine that this very simple idea of wanting to make a return on an investment in equipment –which came to me from my practical experience as an audiovisual producer–, would still preoccupy me eight years later.
At the time, I did not know Marin Kasimir very well, and I wasn’t aware of the fact that he would not be satisfied with one or two of those panoramic images that had made his reputation. From day one, some of the stolen sights and sounds did indeed titillate his curiosity and critical sense.
Art fairs are fly-catchers for collectors, journalists, curators and artists alike. They can’t help but wanting to go, no matter the risk of getting stuck to the sticky ribbon.
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is most intense at fairs. Gallery owners want to offer their best pieces, while visitors are afraid of missing the most beautiful party.
Never discouraged, and undoubtedly attracted as much by the quality of the works on display as by the superficiality of some visitors, Marin Kasimir did not stop visiting fairs and filming them. He returned to Basel twice, crossed the Atlantic two more times to attend the American edition in Miami –not to mention the multiple visits to the neighborly Art Brussels.
He explored art fairs during several springs, autumns and winters. Each trip featured the recording of fragments of conversations on the relationship between art and alcohol, art and sex, art and sport and, above all, art and money. During the summer break, he would ride the roller coaster of the Foire du Midi with his two boys, the funfair in the popular district of Brussels.
Tondo Artis: Fair or Unfair? brings together 18 minutes of the artist’s adventures in these high masses: as close as possible to the works, collectors and food plates. The video reproduces the artist’s vision on this great traveling party – one that is both caustic and fascinated.
Tondo Artis is a circular film not only in its format but also in its substance, having been Marin constantly looking for ways to refine the subject. His creative process seemed endless. Since I had agreed to participate in this adventure from the start, he regularly asked me for advice and support, either moral or financial.
A few months after the last contemporary art fair was held, the editing was finally over and I wondered if the film was the testimony of an era and of a phenomenon definitely bygone. Would FOMO have given way to JOMO (Joy of Missing Out)? Fair or Unfair? Now it’s up to the spectators to give their answer.