Fruits, Flowers and Clouds ventures into the »Next Generation« of art fair. The team behind the international art magazine spike challenges art industry conven-tions. 26 galleries with 27 artists will be showing solo presentations in the framework of a group exhibition. In the evening, performances and parties are planned in the fair bar. From May 12th to 14th in Vienna's Museum of Applied Arts (MAK).

»A painter can say all he wants to with fruit, flowers or even clouds.« Edouard Manet's famous quotation was a plea for still life painting, which he used to rebuff the overcharged and ostentatiously heroic history paintings of his time. The initiators of the new Vienna Fair for Contemporary Art have taken these words, which Manet used to promote the freedom of artistic means, as the title of their fair, and they want them to be understood as a call to concentrate on what matters: the artwork as a direct means of artistic expression.

For Fruits, Flowers, and Clouds this can only mean a radical re-interpretation of current ideas about the format of an art fair. It is not a matter of adding yet another forum to an increasingly diffuse global art market. The initiators of Fruits, Flowers, and Clouds claim to play their own part as a new generation in the development of contemporary and durable ideas for promoting art and culture. In doing so they are taking the initiative to liberate themselves from the straitjacket of meaningless standards.

Presented as a fair, Fruits, Flowers, and Clouds can nevertheless be treated by the viewer as an expansive group exhibition. Art is uncompromisingly placed in the foreground. The curators have selected artists rarely or never seen in Austria and are inviting their dealers to take part in the fair with them. There will be a unique presentation on display in the lower exhibition hall of MAK: a concentrated fair, which also succeeds in being an annual overview with carefully orchestrated projects by 27 artists and their associated galleries.

Rather than filling long corridors and labyrinthine glacial fair-booth caves, the works of art will be shown in an open-plan, flowing architectural setting, opening up many surprising associations between the individual artistic posi-tions. Anything that seems unnecessary will simply be excluded. Fruits, Flowers, and Clouds is trim, managing to do without the ritualistic add-ons of conven-tional fairs, which often give the impression that they want to legitimise some-thing: trivial panel discussions between people randomly thrown together, end-less series of lectures on arbitrary topics, inconsequential but voluminous catalogues or VIP receptions sorted into absurd hierarchies. Instead of all this, there will be performances, concerts and parties in the art-fair bar Belle Hélène, which is open until 2 a.m.

Fruits, Flowers, and Clouds is trying out its own approach to the commercial as-pect of art. It will bring together people from all over the world who share a passion for the latest in art, and will create, if only for a short time, an ex-citing, informal but real site for direct interaction. (Andreas Schlaegel, Berlin 2011)

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