Why pay for Munich Jewellery Week?

Picture: There is never enough exposure! Credit: Christoph Ziegler
A jewellery artist from a non EU country asked me why should she/he pay to participate in our show “The Sacred & The Profane” at Galerie Weltraum during Munich Jewellery Week 2019.
The artist stated that her/his name was already very well known in his/her country and she/he is always invited to participate in jewellery art exhibitions for free. So way pay for something he/she considers a license to exhibit in every part of the world?
I copy/paste my answer, because I think it may interest artists from non EU countries reading this blog:
In Europe, unless a show is EU or state funded – which means that it is usually non commercial: you do not sell during the show – the cost has to be funded by a sponsor/sponsors or the participants.
A gallery may become your sponsor, but in this case the gallery will impose its prices on your work and ask at least 40% +VAT provision for allowing you to participate in the show. Your work will not be returned to you (if not sold) immediately after the show, because a gallery knows that it takes time (from six months to 2 or 3 years) till a customer shows up willing to buy your work.
The storing of the works waiting to be sold is called “deposit”. The risk is higher for the gallery (paying rental and employing staff), if you have no network with buying potential in the country you exhibit (you a foreign artist, do you remember?) and if the gallery has to build your profile to attract local customers and convince its own clentel of your merit. Taste often differs from country to country, from continent to continent – it reflects culture and values. I ommit details relating to fiscal matters that a gallery has to do for you, for this is only a brief note.
EU/state funded shows have to folow certain aesthetical rules, are often limited to only EU participants and get funding only when they deal with EU-related themes of major political and cultural interest, such as migration and refugee crisis, environmental issues, integration of minorities or social groups suffering from bias or discrimination.
In order to be eligible for such a show, the artist has to “be around”, if not live in the country in question. This is why fairs and shows and jewellery weeks work well for people who would like to make their work known in a country other than home.
We – ZLR Betriebsimperium (Christoph Ziegler + Loukia Richards) – make a combination of being sponsored by private enterprises and of asking participants to cover part of the cost and offer services that you do not get if you have a state/EU funded show such as extensive communication+targeted advertisement/PR, sale representation and individual mentoring – not to mention the highly specialized workshops.
There are a lot of shows in Munich Jewelelry Week every year – for all sorts of terms and conditions. Our show record is: hundreds of visitors, media exposure, a theme oriented and curated group show and most importantly: visitors from the Munich art scene with buying potential (next to the international art jewellery fans). All our shows are documented and leave a digital trace: an exclusive website for each show with participants’ mails and details without “blocking filter”. Customers can find you, even if they have not visited the show, but heard or read good reviews on it and your work. We work on this: for the shows to get good reviews, to attract gallerists, curators, award committee members and market professionals; and to stay unforgettable.
Since I have spent the biggest part of my life living in countries other than home (Greece), I have learned that one may be in a very elaborate phase of one’s career at home or even famous and at the same time be completely unknown in a different country/market. I have made his experience when – while having been established in Greece in the 2000s – I undertook a research and promotion of my work in Washington DC (thank to a Fubright Foundation grant) where I had to start from number 0.
This experience – ten years ago – taught me to think globally.
If one is happy and satisfied with one’s own fame and revenues at home, then one should not change strategy. If not, then one should take a closer look at what applies in the market one is interested in entering.
For our Munich Jewellery Week 2019 Open Call, go to:
Apply by 30 November.
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