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All’s fair in art

Artforum might be no more than a memory, but starting this week, on Sep 18, three Berlin art fairs will carry the torch as the official kick-off to the second annual BERLIN ART WEEK (Sep 17-22). Fridey Mickel has the lowdown.

Image for All's fair in art
Photo courtesy of Galerie Bart, Amsterdam, part of Preview 2013

Fridey Mickel gives you the lowdown on the three major art fairs popping up during Berlin Art Week (Sep 17-22).

Since the epic demise of Artforum – Berlin’s answer to Art Cologne – three years ago, the Berlin art world has been busy finding new ground, with remaining ‘satellite’ fairs Preview, ABC and Berliner Liste doing their best to carry on in an uncertain climate. Last year saw the inaugural Berlin Art Week, a six-day art frenzy led by Preview and ABC. This year the event returns, with countless exhibitions, openings and parties to look forward to – and three fairs to lead the show.


Where Opernwerkstätten, Zinnowitzer Straße 9, Mitte, U-Bhf Naturkundemuseum

When Sep 19, 18:00-22:00; Sep 20-22, 13:00-20:00

How much €10 (€6 reduced), opening reception €5

The numbers 77 exhibitions from 17 countries, over 2300sqm

Nutshell A hip, mid-sized event showcasing emerging artists.

What to expect Preview started in 2005 with a focus on emerging Berlin artists and galleries. Today, the art fair further hones this tradition. “One of the primary approaches is to continue to introduce emerging artists to the international art scene at an early stage,” says co-founder Kristian Jarmuschek. What ’s new this year After five years at Tempelhof, Preview moves to a new location: Opernwerkstätten Berlin, a former opera set production facility whose huge halls (with steel/glass roof structures), offer a unique atmosphere. Its location in the city centre supports Preview’s intent to connect the various art events in Berlin and bring them together. This year also sees special developments such as new ‘solo walls’ focussing on solo artistic positions, and a larger variety of exhibitors from 17 different countries (and including, for the first time, China). The Focus Academy section, introduced last  year, showcases graduates from six different art academies including the HfBK Dresden and the University of Ljubljana.

Editor’s note Though it’s still a hip staple, Preview has become the traditional art fair standard. Although the other fairs aim to dazzle the public with sideshow attractions, Preview stays true to its calling, giving galleries the leeway to speak for themselves.


Where Station Berlin, Luckenwalder Straße 4-6, Mitte, U-Bhf Gleisdreieck

When Sep 19, 16:00-21:00; Sep 20-22, 12:00- 19:00

How much €10 (€8 reduced), opening €18

The numbers 133 exhibitions from 21 countries over 7000sqm Nutshell A large, serious art fair with the feeling of an exhibition.

What to expect Established in 2008, ABC’s focus has constantly reinvented itself to feature individual artists, rather than overviews of gallery programs. Every area and corner in the fair’s Gleisdreieck space is different. It isn’t a classical exhibition space, which is a plus for the participating artists (who can select where they exhibit). In its sixth year, ABC offers around 120 single projects, including new and site-specific works, time-based projects, artist talks, performances and music presentations.

What’s new this year Shanaynay, from Paris, will curate “Upcoming Exhibitions”, in which several international project spaces each receive a two-hour slot to exhibit a show in the entrance area. Also, a large-scale installation by Christoph Schlingensief’s Operndorf, a choreographic piece by Alexandra Bachzetzis, a sound work by Florian Hecker, opening and closing performances by Michele di Menna and a photographic pavilion by Susanne Kriemann.

Editor’s note The commercial fair has successfully reinvented itself with a young spirit. ABC’s new initiatives, such as Shanaynay’s art space programme, breathe new life into the endeavour.


Where Kraftwerk Berlin, Köpenicker Str. 70, S+U-Bhf Jannowitzbrücke

When Sep 18, 18:00; Sep 19-22, 13:00-19:00

How much €13 (€5 reduced)

The numbers 130 exhibitions from 30 countries over 2500sqm Nutshell Berlin’s fringe commercial fair.

What to expect Berliner Liste was launched 10 years ago as a satellite fair for artists and galleries that were too unknown to show at ArtForum. It’s a place where collectors and art lovers can discover young artists…

What ’s new this year Liste is building on this tradition, focusing on internationalisation – 26 of the 53 galleries on show are foreign – largely thanks to Spanish blogger Maria Muñoz, known for her strong connections to southern European art scenes. Curator Stephan Koehler’s photography section, focusing on current themes and questions of contemporary photography, will take a fantastical, full-spectrum look at where the field stands today, including a preview of Carsten Sander’s exhibition Germany – your faces. Also not to be missed: Galerie Egbert Baque’s presentation of the meteorite artist Franziska Strauss.

Editor’s note Although not officially involved in Berlin Art Week, Liste remains an integral event. Koehler’s curation of the fair’s new photography section is a must-see – maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Originally published in Issue #119, September 2013.