Ewald Karl Schrade, gallery owner and curator, in an interview about art KARLSRUHE
Question: In 2004, when the first art KARLSRUHE took place, could you have guessed that this fair in the southwest of Germany could once be so successful that it will bring so many visitors to Baden-Württemberg with over 200 renowned exhibitors, including several from abroad, whether from Barcelona, Istanbul, London, Milan or Paris?
Ewald Karl Schrade: Of course, I couldn’t know it back then. But I had already hoped. Because Karlsruhe, now also in conversation as a UNESCO city of media art worldwide, but already characterized by outstanding museums, galleries, two art colleges and in particular the ZKM, has ideal conditions for serving art as a trade fair city.
Question: As the founding father of art KARLSRUHE, you have developed a marketplace with Messe Karlsruhe, which is characterized by a special character. Can you describe him?
Ewald Karl Schrade: It was by no means self-evident to show classical modernism and contemporary art together. But in dialogue, over the decades and styles, I thought, a symbiosis arises that must be profitable for everyone. After all, the new is unimaginable without the old and the proven, and hardly to be appreciated. And in the dialectical approach, the complete art KARLSRUHE is also designed, as the program presentations of the exhibitors also show in play with the one-artist shows they also offer. Or: Where painting hangs, there is also sculpture. One and the other find each other equally.
Question: The question arises as to how exhibitors and collectors come together, how is it that art KARLSRUHE, issue by issue, is apparently also a success for business?
Ewald Karl Schrade: The fact that many of my colleagues, experienced gallery owners, repeatedly travel to the trade fair in Karlsruhe can also be explained thanks to the fact of good sales. But they don’t happen by themselves. We strive for the visitors, for each individual, perceive the art KARLSRUHE mentally also from a collector’s perspective, in order to offer a lot for everyone – on the basis of a clear, clear structure through reasonable planning and optimal stand design.
Question: The numerous awards and special exhibitions, which attract great attention beyond the mercantiline, also seem attractive? No coincidence, right?
Ewald Karl Schrade: Of course not. But over the course of the almost twenty years of art KARLSRUHE, some awards have been added, whether it is the Loth Sculpture Prize – or the Platschek Prize for Art and Writing, which this time is awarded to the Chemnitz artist Osmar Osten, selected by the President of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar, Ulrike Lorenz. Thus, art and art are viewed from a broader perspective.
Question: This time, the collection of the legal couple Klöcker will be presented in Hall 3 as part of the large special exhibitions. These are exclusively women’s representations. What is basically behind these presentations of private collections at the fair?
Ewald Karl Schrade: From the beginning, I refrained from presenting institutional collections. It was important to me to convey very vividly how great collections can be created out of private passion and partly with modest means in the start-up phase. Maria Lucia and Ingo Klöcker have found their motif and thus collected an unmistakable collection of pictures and sculptures. An excellent example of how something wonderful can be created; exemplary.
Question: Next year, as it has been planned for a long time, you will bear the curatorial responsibility for art KARLSRUHE one last time, then allegedly withdraw. Is that really the case?
Ewald Karl Schrade: Don’t worry. I will remain at art KARLSRUHE – as an exhibitor. I’m looking forward to it. Because then I can finally take care of my own stand from the first to the last day of the fair, talk about artists and art that are personally close to my heart.