Art 98: The next sensation?

A must for budding collectors of contemporary art, especially the hesitant - a selling exhibition of over 80 artists, some of them recent art school graduates, none of whom are represented by dealers. Titled ARTfutures, it is at the Contemporary Art Society's stand in ART98, the London Contemporary Art Fair sponsored by The Independent at the Business Design Centre in Islington, opening tomorrow and running until Sunday.

The Contemporary Art Society's role is to present new artworks to public galleries and museums. It was founded in 1910 as a response to the Tate Gallery's stuffy acquisitions policy. CAS representatives spend nine months of the year scouring artists' studios for fresh talent. Some of their purchases are sold to finance the Society.

According to CAS director Gill Hedley, every artwork in ARTfutures has the Society's seal of approval. Collectors also have the assurance that other works by artists they buy from will become part of public collections - one of the first stages in the art market's reputation-making process. Prices are mostly between pounds 100 and pounds 2,000: the CAS is able to buy cheaply because budding artists understand that they are being offered an audience - and that both public galleries and private buyers will be put in touch with their studios so that they can buy more.

This is the Society's first art market since its show at the Royal Festival Hall foyer two years ago - when the art walked off the walls. Since then, a bumper stock of purchases has built up. As soon as one is sold, it will be replaced by another and the stock will be rotated throughout the Fair. The sheer number and variety of works on offer means that you are unlikely to come away from it still unsure of what you like.

ART98 is open Wednesday-Thursday (10am-6pm), Friday-Saturday (10am-7pm) and Sunday (10am-4.30pm). Entry pounds 10, pounds 7.50 in advance. Concessions (on the door) pounds 5,

Here is the work of ARTfutures artists, selected by Ms Hedley:

1 Sharon Kivland: La Femme Barree (photograph, glass, red rope). Unmistakably anatomical, but puzzling. It's actually taken from a 19th-century French archive photograph of a welt artificially produced by doctors with pins on the back of a woman admitted to a mental institution with hysteria. They have written "Demence praecoce" (dementia praecox) across it. In the course of treatment, the patient would have been asked to describe what was on her back. However, amid her suffering, she is lifting her hair - "invitingly", according to Kivland, a 42-year-old lecturer in art and psychoanalysis at Sheffield Hallam University. CAS director Gill Hedley finds the photograph "gently erotic - and very covetable". Kivland's work is seen mainly in Canada, France and Switzerland. Price pounds 1,120, or as a multiple in an edition of 50, pounds 15.

2 Daniel Preece: Letter to America (oil on paper). References to the controversial American flag artist Jasper Johns, and to Alastair Cooke's long-running Radio 4 broadcasts. Preece, 27, graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in 1993 and spent nine months, 1995-6, in the United States on a work-and-travel scholarship. He says the rectangles are little bits of America that you might send home like letters or postcards. Price pounds 340. His urban landscapes will also be on sale.

3 Hans Stofer: Honey (milk jug, silicon, bee). The silicon glues the real bee to the real Dutch milk jug. Since finding the dead, dessicated bee in the bowl of a glass Arts and Crafts ceiling lampshade, 40-year- old Swiss-born Stofer, an established jeweller, has spent the past two years emptying other people's lampshades of dead bees, wasps, flies and spiders, to immortalise in his artworks. His friends send him dead insects - the latest was a grasshopper. They feature in a series of postcards titled "Milk". Price pounds 400.

4 Permindar Kaur: Untitled - Orange Dress With Figures (polar fleece and copper). One of a growing number of makers of conceptual clothing, 32-year-old Kaur has also made ceiling-high beds on tall, spindly legs. You might be tempted to wear the dress, but Kaur warns that the couple's copper shoes clank. A Glasgow School of Art graduate, and one of the Hayward Gallery's Young Contemporaries, she has shown overseas and at the Whitechapel Gallery, and had a solo show at the Icon Gallery in 1996. Price pounds 1,200.

5 David Lilley: Architectural Fantasies (balsa wood). Ms Hedley discovered his intricate models, which play with gravity and perspective, in the cellars of the Mall Galleries. Lilley, 35, who graduated from the Royal Academy Schools four years ago, says: "They may look cute, but they are also vaguely threatening. If you inhabited one, you would find it strange and disturbing". He has exhibited in Barcelona. Ms Hedley says: "His work deserves to be better known here." Prices pounds 300-pounds 600.

6 Ana de Castro: High Heels (copper). Never mind the shoe fetishism, De Castro describes her shoes, sculpted from a single strand of copper wire, in the words of Paul Klee: "taking a line for a walk". She explains: "It's to do with drawing in space." Portuguese-born De Castro, 31, is on a post-graduate sculpture course at the Byam Shaw School of Art. She collects shoes. "I like the form, the way different shoes suggest different eras." Ms Hedley says: "The appeal of shoes is difficult to resist and we have a range for sale from children's sandals to stilettos." Price pounds 380.

7 Ania Grzesik: Jacques' Shiny Helmet (oil on canvas). Why Villeneuve? Grzesik, 24, who graduated first class from Chelsea College of Art and Design and is now studying for her masters in painting at the Slade School of Fine Art, has produced a series of iconic paintings dedicated to the Formula One driver. She says: "I started watching Formula One a couple of years ago. I was taken with Villeneuve as a character - he's so amazing- looking and he's his own trademark. It's an interesting piece of marketing." Price pounds 300.

8 Joanna Moss: Canonbury Square, Islington (acrylic on canvas). This painting of a fireplace is a realistic visual pun that has the feel of a 17th- century Old Master. One of Moss's fireplace paintings was hung in last year's John Moores paintings exhibition. Price pounds 2,000, bigger commissioned versions pounds 4,000.

9 Marty St James: Face: Metamorphosis (laser print on paper). St James's video portraits look like pictures in a gallery, but startle by springing to life, moving and talking. A graduate of three art schools, St James, who is in his forties, has made video portraits of Julie Walters, Sally Burgess, the mezzo-soprano, and Duncan Goodhew. Tokyo's Metropolitan Museum is showing 10 of his pieces and both the National Portrait Gallery and the Ferens Gallery in Hull have acquired his work. His laser prints, says Ms Hedley, "combine portraiture with the art of the patisseur". Price pounds 250.

10 Sarah Howard: Secret (oil on canvas). A wistful self-portrait paying homage to the style of Gerhard Richter. "I like this," says Howard, 22, who graduated in fine art from the University of Northumbria last year, "because it conveys the personality by mannerisms, without showing the face. That's why it's called "Secret" - it's half revealing." Price pounds 700.

Readers' Offer

Present this copy of The Independent at the ticket desk to gain entry to ART98 for only pounds 7.50

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