The fair that just keeps on growing – SP-Arte, is one of the leading art fairs in São Paulo with over 150 international galleries and 2 000 artists from Brazil and abroad.
As the eleventh edition of SP-Arte draws to a close, we speak with fair director, Fernanda Feitosa, about what inspired her to start Brazil’s biggest fair, where her passion for art came from and about her own private collection of Brazilian contemporary art.
Over the past eleven years, SP-Arte has made a name for itself as one of the most established art fairs in Latin America – but is there a difference between this and the leading European art fairs such as Frieze and Art Basel?FERNANDA FEITOSA
As the leading international art fair in Latin America we present quality works from abroad alongside the best of local art, so although SP-Arte has a strong international presence it is still Brazilian in nature, which makes it a great place to discover and find great works represented by local galleries. SP-Arte’s geographic location is very important – and the fair aims to involve the city as much as possible with its parallel events, helping to promote the local art scene and institutions. At the same time the fair also promotes international trends and innovations through its curated sections and projects, high-lighting different art forms and artists while at the same time growing its network and global connections. SP-Arte brings together local and international art-world players to explore more of what Brazil has to offer on that front.
What was on the agenda when you started SP-Arte in 2005? How has the Brazilian art scene changed since when you first started the fair?FERNANDA FEITOSA
I started the fair because of my love and interest in Brazilian art. I wanted to help promote Brazilian artists, locally, and further Brazil’s place in the global art market map. I realized there was no fair doing such a thing at that time in São Paulo, so I took the initiative and started SP-Arte. The response for the fair has been great so far, with a lot of galleries participating. This year more than 15% are new galleries, including national and international young ones – like Mamute, Sé, BFA (Boatos Fine Arts), Richard Saltoun, espaivisor, Wagner + Partner, which makes us proud to have these international names, which also proves the quality and global interest for the fair. In terms of partners, we work with internationally recognized curators, such as Luiza Texeira de Freitas and Jacopo Crivelli Visconti – curating Solo and Open Plan sectors respectively –, while we also launch a brand new section dedicated to design, presenting top Brazilian Designers.
What type of collector does SP-Arte attractFERNANDA FEITOSA
SP-Arte attracts collectors from all over Brazil, Latin America, United States, and Europe. This year we even had collectors from Australia! We receive art lovers from all over the world, due to the unique content of the fair and the diversity in the galleries. Collectors and visitors can also enjoy a special program of events highlighting the city’s cultural spaces, while giving opportunities for networking and meeting with local artists and professionals.
It is important to mention that the State of São Paulo has also ratified the tax exemption during SP-Arte/2016, which has been in place during the fair since 2012 and represents important stability within the legal and commercial framework of the fair and the country. The tax exemption benefits sales of foreign galleries to residents of the State of São Paulo, which accounts for the vast majority of collectors in Brazil, and it also applies to local Sao Paulo based galleries participating in SP-Arte. This definitely is an adding point to the reasons why SP-Arte is attractive to the collectors.
When did your passion for art begin?FERNANDA FEITOSA
I was always interested in art and the richness of Brazilian culture. I grew up in Rio de Janeiro being exposed to a thriving cultural scene, watching my uncles who were artists, paint. After I married, I started visiting art galleries on the weekends and cultivating my greater understanding and appreciation
You and your husband are collectors of Brazilian contemporary art – can you tell us more about your collection and how you became interested in collecting?FERNANDA FEITOSA
Working in the arts and having this chance to see so many works and meet great artists, gave us a lot of inspiration and has inspired us to work on our own collection. We used to have a wish list for all works we liked and we wanted to buy, examining the value of each investment, which is also a way to explore and expand our personal taste. We mainly have a Latin American collection of post war era but our interest in art is very broad and we have many artists we love.
Where do you see the future taking the Brazilian art market?FERNANDA FEITOSA
Brazilian art market has very strong artists and galleries, always developing and growing. It is important for Brazilian artists to have a voice and presence in the global art market, that is why I think the fair gives a valuable opportunity to build good relations in between galleries, artists and collectors expanding from São Paulo to the world and keep the debate going while growing the community. Of course the art market is not immune of the current economic ups and downs, however, it has two phenomenal attributes: tremendous ability to preserve value and a unique capacity to create passions. Given that the market for art will always be there while is still a very young market comparing to the American or the European and is definitely adjusting due to the current situation in the country.
What are your tips for collectors attending SP-Arte?FERNANDA FEITOSA
We organize a great VIP agenda of events for collectors visiting SP-Arte, so I recommend starting there! The program works with galleries, cultural institutions, and independent spaces to provide guided tours, visits to private collections, talks and Gallery Nights among others. The program contextualizes current artistic practices, the Brazilian art scene and the international art market. This year, the panel discussions are once again organized in collaboration with the Brazilian art magazine ARTE!Brasileiros, featuring prominent artists, critics, curators, and collectors. The program also includes book releases and meet and greet with authors and artists during the fair week, definitely not to be missed!