Quark is Art

When in Switzerland, you have gots to do the arty stuff! How convenient that we tracked down beautiful art curator Elisa. She is 30 years old, French and has been living in Switzerland since 2010. She went to art history school Ecole du Louvre in Paris and became a „gallerista“ shortly after. Now she is the director of a little but funky art space in Geneva called Quark. Elisa invited us over for a lovely afternoon at her gallery. We almost felt fancy!

Elisa, what are you doing here at Quark?

I am a curator and I am here to showcase artists in Geneva. Quark is a young project space that started one year ago. The purpose is to promote young Swiss and international artists. We display works for artists that are not affiliated to any gallery. We help them with money to put together an exhibition. We are located in the art district Quartier des Bains. It is a great location for newcomer artists. Almost 20 years ago the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art opened here and then all the art galleries settled in this area. It is the very place where you can check out what’s going on.

Each year the Quark award is given to three artists. This award allows them to elaborate their own solo show at Quark. In addition to that, they also receive a money gift which enables them to produce a limited edition of their work.

I book the agenda with regular exhibitions, too. In this case you can see around us an exhibition of Frederic Gabioud, a swiss artist who finished his studies two years ago. He is a very promising artist, playing with a traditional Swiss abstraction, American monochromes and a great sense of humour which provide a real freshness. This exhibition belongs to the annual schedule and is not related to the award.

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How did you get into art? 

I’ve always been into art. I love art, I love eating, I love music, and actually I guess that I love all pleasant things of the world. But who doesn’t…? I studied art history in Paris at the Ecole du Louvre. It’s an art history school. The study program begins with archaeology to the art of the twentieth century. Then you have to choose a speciality and I chose contemporary art.

I think that contemporary art makes people deal with all topics of modern society. News, politics, social issues, humour, to me art is definitely able to reflect the mood of a generation. Consequently it is a quite fascinating revelator. 

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How is dating going for arty people in Geneva?

You know, people meet in their work fields, it’s convenient. I actually came here because my boyfriend was Swiss. I guess there is nothing very original. He is an artist. We basically are the silly art couple. (We are all laughing very hard.)

How is the pressure to sell art at Quark?

The structure lives exclusively of sponsoring. 
The main sponsor is the Sesam Foundation and the others are private donators. 
The foundation wanted to help young creation. That’s why Quark doesn’t take any commission when there is a sale. The amount is entirely for the artist. Switzerland is a very supporting country, creative and productive. The art schools are insane as well. They have great teachers with incredible dynamism.

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How do you select the artists you will show at the gallery?

I try to visit a maximum of studios and artist run spaces. Then it’s quite natural, you meet an artist, he talks about you to another and so on. Artists also spontaneously come to me with their books. There are no rules.

What is to come for the future of Quark?

The art field is constantly evolving and harsh. We’ll focus all our efforts to adapt to the artists needs, to offer them a structure which will give them freedom and visibility. I am trying to comunicate the project further, and develop Quark as an international platform to show foreign artists as well. I would like the young artists to consider Quark as a tool and use it. I hope that the artists we show will go on and have an amazing carreer!

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