Brenda Valansi is the director and one the founders of Brazil’s premier art fair – ArtRio. I interviewed her on the genesis of the project, her path leading to developping the fair and raising awareness on the growing and established art and design scenes in Brasil. The country is getting increasing attention and recognition both winning share of voices in the art agenda and attracting more and more collectors whom values the specificity of the offer and feel that it really worth travelling over there in addition to making the journey to other international fairs mainly in the US, Europe and Asia. Galleries are responding as well amongst which regional and international players alike including big names as Gallery Gagosian. I really am a fan of the energy and strategy needed to launch a new fair – through Business Madame I had the honnor of discussing key assets for sucess (and flaws) of fairs business with Ambra Medda when she started Design Miami or 1.618‘s visionary founder Barbara Coignet. More recently with René-Jacques Meyer, President of Designers Days, much more of a festival better than an actual fair. Here I discusses with Brenda Valansi as she is getting ready for the 4th edition of ArtRio which is to open its doors in ten days.
Business Madame : Being in its fourth edition how do you review the 3 first years and what is new?
Brenda Valansi : We are going to the 4th edition more mature. Year by year we are experimenting also a more mature public and more and more collector are coming from all over. Different then any other fair ArtRio is also a strong platform of art content spread mostly by our website.
BM : Art Rio places itself just a bit before Frieze London, FIAC in Paris and 3 months before Art Miami … How important is the art agenda? Both in your strategy of attaining a critical audience and visitorship and engaging with the most sought after galleries?
BV : The agenda is one of the most important things for the success of a fair. We decided our dates to be close to the SP biennale and Mercosul Bienal. Since Brasil is a very far away country we have to give the foreign visitors a lot to do. So this year we have São Paulo Bienal, so we arrange a program that Prole would go to ArtRio, the Bienal and also Inhotim that is place that must be visited. Off course not everybody are happy with the dates, but putting the good and odds I thing we did a great choice with the agenda.
BM : How open is the fair to design ?
BV : ArtRio always had design in the circulation and VIP area. But this year we are opening a new fair, right beside ArtRio, called IDA- Design Fair of Rio de Janeiro. Only for editions, unique or modern pieces. Brasil is really strong in design so now we found was time to do a major event with this theme.
BM : What would you call a balanced representation between foreign and local galleries? Foreign and Brazilian artists?
BV : We have 60% Brazilians and 40% foreigns. That’s a number I want to maintain. We are a Brazilian fair with a lot of international galleries. I would say we have the same proposition in artists. I want brasilians to come to ArtRio and buy from foreigner and foreigner to buy from brasilian galleries, so the fair will always be an opportunity. that’s what I work hard and focus on.
“ArtRio always had design in the circulation and VIP area. But this year we are opening a new fair, right beside ArtRio, called IDA- Design Fair of Rio de Janeiro. Only for editions, unique or modern pieces. Brasil is really strong in design so now we found was time to do a major event with this theme.” Brenda Valansi
BM : What is the best compliment you have received from a gallerist, from a collector?
BV : That ArtRio is the most beautiful fair in the world, our venue is difficult to compete. And also that is a very good place to buy and see art, since we are configured with 5 warehouse that you have to leave one and obligatory see the see to go to the other. Also gallerist do a lot of compliment on the cariocas, about their niceness and sophistication.
BM : What was your motivation when you founded the fair? How have you succeeded so far?
BV : The thought was, how come Rio doesn’t have an art fair? Since is the cultural heart of Brasil, most of the well know brasilian artists live here and we have one of the best touristic spot on earth. We started the fair thing really big, but didn’t imagine we would succeed so well in such short period.
BM : What prepared you for the job and who (partners etc.) is supporting you in this business venture?
BV : I was an art student to be an artist, so I use a lot of the creative process in the fair. I have 2 more partners Elisangela Valadares, that started everything with me and Luiz Calainho a top business man in the entertainment sector.
11-14th, sept, 2009 – ArtRio. Discover the fair here : artrio.art.br