The capital’s galleries are showing their best at art berlin. What’s new and who’s showing who? Julia Knolle has the overview
Originally founded in 2005 by a group of Berlin gallerists, abc (art berlin contemporary) is now becoming art berlin after a merger with Art Cologne. From the 14th until the 17th of September, 112 national and international galleries from 16 countries will be exhibiting, and further developing the fundamental concept of the original fair in the process. In order to strengthen the art industry over the long-term and keep it commercially stable, it’s breaking away from the original idea of showing only one artist and eschewing classic stand architecture and falling back on the tried-and-true. The capital now has its own art fair.
During the press conference, the two driving forces behind the initiative, Maike Cruse, director of the former abc and of Gallery Weekend, and Daniel Hug, director of Art Cologne, assured attendees that the merger would bring the best of two worlds together. With its economic stability, the Rheinland is a suitable counterpart to experimental Berlin, which has the highest density of galleries in Europe.
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However, the never-ending stream of news stories regarding closings that are forcing the industry to re-think its approach shows that it’s becoming harder every year for small and mid-sized galleries to remain in business. And so you’ll find good and, above all, contemporary positions in the halls here, ones that completely take the wind out the sails of the quota debate that sometimes comes up: internet phenomenon Amalia Ullmann at Deborah Schamoni, the New York Times-dubbed “Not It Girl” Emily Sundblad at Galerie Neu, and celebrated American portrait painter Alice Neel at Aurel Scheibler. A delightful new addition: Gillmeier Rech, a gallery that’s been proving its staying-power since 2013 and is showing artist Max Schmidtlein (*1984, Bogen), among others.
The participants were impressively motivated on the morning of the preview. Outset Germany Switzerland’s engagement was praised: They are making a museum purchase possible for the second time this year, a work by Julien Charriere and Julius von Bismarck from Galerie Sies & Höke to the Sprengel Museum in Hannover. Additional highlights also await guests far away from the halls of Gleisdreieck over the next few days: A top-notch program is being offered in collaboration with Niche Berlin that includes gallery visits to artists including Thomás Saraceno, Karin Sander, and Gregor Hildebrandt, performances, and panel discussions. Numerous galleries will be opening all over town on Friday evening. Ones worth seeing include Sprüth Magers with Barbara Kruger, Llyn Foulkes, and Jon Rafman, Galerie Barbara Weiss with Harun Farocki, Helga Maria Klosterfelde Edition with Fiete Stolte, and Galerie Konrad Fischer, which will be celebrating its 50-year anniversary.
Translation: Melissa Frost
Julia co-founded one of the first fashion blogs in Germany in 2007 and became a freelance consultant for digital strategies after publishing her first book in 2010. After an eventful four years with Condé Nast working mainly in the digital department of Vogue Germany, she decided to launch her own online magazine with her dream partner, Veronika Heilbrunner. She is based in Berlin and loves to read books.