PBT got a chance to sit down with Aqua’s director, Katelijne de Backer. This was Our conversation:

PBT: Hi Katelijne, tell us a little about your fair, tell us about Aqua.

Katelijne: Aqua is the best fair in Miami because it’s a small fair, it’s intimate. It’s in a the beautiful Aqua Hotel and it’s enjoyable.

PBT: How long have you been with the fair?

Katelijne: This is my second year, and what’s special about this year’s fair is that I’ve decided to allow some of the rooms to be taken over by individual artists. Usually in a fair, it’s a gallery that presents a number of artists or maybe does a one artist show, but I had some artists approach me and they said they loved the fair, but they weren’t represented by a gallery.

I love one artist rooms, because you can get a feel of what they want to do. The artist is there, you can have a conversation with them, it’s much more intimate.

PBT: Yes, the layout of the hotel is a good conduit for those intimate interactions. Let me ask you, do you have a favorite in this year’s fair? Can you have a favorite?

Katelijne: Yes, I can, but I’m not telling you. It’s like if I had five children and I told you one was my favorite child, you don’t do that. What I do like is that we did these special projects, which are specific works that we have that we’ve put in the public space to give them a little more attention.

PBT: Anything about this year’s edition you would like to share with the public?

Katelijne: In general, I think with so many art fairs going on, specially so many big art fairs, they can become a little exhausting. The thing with Aqua is that it’s like an oasis. It’s like you’re in the desert and you see this place and you think there we can relax and have a good time. That’s not saying the other art fairs aren’t good. I mean, Art Miami, you see so many famous artists, real Boteros and Jeff Koons, and that’s amazing too. Here is more relaxed. You can meet artists from smaller galleries.

Sometimes when I go to Art Basel at the convention center you have these huge galleries and it’s like: do you dare go inside? It’s for the big collectors and I’m not allowed. Here, forget all that, walk in, see the art from close up, meet the artists, have fun, go for a glass of wine, and enjoy the music.

PBT: Thank you for taking the time with us Katelijne

Katelijne: Thank you guys.

Read more about our coverage of Aqua 2016 here.

David Collante – david@porkbellytimes.com

Steven D Morse – steven@porkbellytimes.com