Four Emerging Artists Whose Work You Should Know Now

People think of Sight Unseen mostly as a design blog, and mostly, design is what we know and do best. But even when we founded the site 10 years ago, the lines between design and art were already becoming extremely blurry, and it felt difficult to have a comprehensive conversation about one without maintaining an awareness of the other. And so we make an effort to attend art fairs, visit and follow galleries, and read our faithful Daily Art Fair and Cargo Collective newsletters whenever we have a chance — partly so we can understand how certain influences and ideas are crossing genre boundaries, and partly just to keep an eye out for new talents that appeal to our aesthetic sensibilities. In the first half of 2019, we bookmarked four up-and-coming artists in particular that we knew we wanted to share with you, and we’re excited to introduce their work in the post below.

First, there’s Ahram Kwon, whom we discovered on Cargo, in the process of researching this post. She’s a Korean artist who studied at the Slade in London and who for the past two years has been creating mixed-media installations that combine mirrors, color fields, and screens displaying images of the surfaces of various materials.

Next up is Andy Boot, an Australian artist based in Vienna whose work has some of our favorite elements: modernist organic sculpture, incredible abstract shapes, and rough natural materials (concrete) juxtaposed with sleek and colorful ones (mesh and black pedestals).

French artist Valentin Abad was already familiar to us by way of the creative studio Akatre, which he shares with Julien Dhivert and Sébastien Riveron. But we only recently became aware of his personal art practice, which focuses on playing with materials to evoke what curator Fiona Vilmer refers to as “the (re)construction of the lost imagination of childhood.”

Finally, there’s Paris-based Kapwani Kiwanga, a trained anthropologist turned artist (!) who we discovered at last summer’s Art Berlin fair, in the booth of Galerie Tanja Wagner. We appreciated her first for her spliced photographs of rocks, and then for her installations, which focus on obscure historical references culled from her research, as well as storytelling around marginalized cultures.

Get to know them all below!

Ahram Kwon

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Andy Boot

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Valentin Abad

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Kapwani Kiwanga

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