ARTFORUM BERLIN CELEBRATES 10TH ANNIVERSARY
Now celebrating its 10th birthday, Art Forum Berlin, Sept. 29-Oct. 3, 2005, is the Oktoberfest of the global art world, with almost 130 contemporary art galleries from 25 countries on four continents converging on the German capital. In honor of its decade-long history, the fair was given the rueful slogan, "Things Can Easily Be Difficult," a sentiment whose origins can be heard in cabaret and the blues. The artistic director of the fair is Sabrina van der Ley, who has held the post since 2000.
With its cosmopolitanism (and low rents), Berlin is a magnet for artists from all over. And with the special focus of Art Forum Berlin, collectors, curators and museum people are coming to the city, too. They should be, anyway -- the fair administration has invited 100 collectors from around the world, and expects 40 museum delegations as well.The Main Hall
Art Forum Berlin arrays its gallery booths in alphabetical order -- a scheme that is unique to the fair -- in three high-ceilinged halls at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds. Participants range from major international galleries like Helga de Alvear (Madrid), Haunch of Venison (London), Heinz Holtmann (Cologne), Georg Kargl (Vienna) and Thaddaeus Ropac (Salzburg/Paris) to cutting-edge dealers like Kavi Gupta (Chicago), Peres Projects (Los Angeles), Roebling Hall (New York) and Vilma Gold (London).
And of course the fair features a strong Berlin contingent, including Mehdi Chouakri, Contemporary Fine Arts, Volker Diehl, Eigen + Art, Klosterfelde, Neu, Giti Nourbakhsch, Barbara Thumm, Barbara Weiss, Wohnmaschine and many others."Freestyle Stands"
One special attraction of Art Forum Berlin is the "Freestyle Stands," the 25-square-meter spaces devoted to special installations sponsored by newer galleries. This year, 17 Freestyle Stands are displayed among the regular stands, while another 17 first-time Freestyle participants are in their own separate hall.
MC, the new Los Angeles gallery formed by New York dealers Michele Maccarone and Christian Haye, is presenting an installation by Los Angeles artist Andy Alexander. Cologne’s Mirko Mayer/m-projects is presenting Lampcluster, a room-filling construction by the London-based sculptor Bettina Buck that resembles a floating lampshade. And Johnen from Berlin is turning its space over to British artist Martin Boyce, who will curate a special show in the space.
The galleries participating for the first time in "Freestyle" are Artfinder (Hamburg), Dina4 Projekte (Munich), Dvir Gallery (Tel Aviv), Frehrking Wiesehoefer (Cologne), Kai Hilgemann (Berlin), Kuttner Siebert (Berlin), Christine Mayer (Munich), MC (Los Angeles), The leisure club Mogadishni (Valby), Ouellette (Montreal), Perugi (Padua), Jette Rudolph (Berlin), Spielhaus Morrison (Berlin), Ursula Walbröl (Düsseldorf), Stephanie Bender – wandergalerie (Munich), Jan Winkelmann (Berlin) and Jocelyn Wolff (Paris)."Temporary Import"
Last year, Art Forum Berlin showcased local talent with a special survey show titled "Made In Berlin." This year, the special exhibition emphasizes Berlin’s status as an art center that draws visitors from around the globe. Organized by Susanne Titz, director of the Museum Abteiberg Moenchengladbach, "Temporary Import: DAAD, Bethanien et al." features artists who lived and worked in Berlin under the auspices of art fellowships. The exhibition design is conceived by Danish artist Simon Sybbrow Møller.
Artists in the show are Nader Ahriman, William Anastasi, Akos Birkas, Ronald de Bloeme, Martin Boyce, Matthew Brannon, Filipa César, David Claerbout, Clegg & Guttmann, Pascal Danz, Jimmie Durham, Andreas Golder, Alexander Gutke, Ab van Hanegem, Thomas Hirschhorn, Anne-Mie van Kerckhoven, Erwin Kneihsl, Takehito Koganezawa, Germaine Koh, Sigalit Landau, Lucas Lenglet, Erik van Lieshout, Katarina Lofström, Robert Lucander, Rita McBride, Jan Mancuska, Mathieu Mercier, Joel Morrison, Jean-Luc Moulène, Christian-Philipp Mueller, Josephine Pryde, Pavel Pepperstein, Glen Rubsamen, Vittorio Santoro, Yehudit Sasportas, Markus Schinwald, Ann-Sofi Sidén, Nedko Solakov, Catherine Sullivan, Vincent Tavenne, Mathilde Ter Heijne, Mette Tronvoll, Stephen Waddell, Xu Tan, Paola Yacoub & Michel Lassere, Qin Yufen, and Dolores Zinny & Juan Maidagan.And More…
Art Forum Berlin includes a series of talks and panels, and one highlight in this regard is certain to be the roundtable on biennials led by 2007 Venice Biennale artistic director Robert Storr.
Fair visitors who stray out to Berlin museums can visit "Goya -- Prophet of Modernity" at the Alte Nationalgalerie, see an installation of Minimalist works from the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection at the Hamburger Bahnhof and take in exhibitions of work by Jörg Immendorff and Pablo Picasso at the Neue Nationalgalerie.
And last but not least, there’s the online "virtual fair," an innovation hosted on Artnet.com and spearheaded by Artnet Magazin editor Thomas Eller. The Virtual Fair presents all of Art Forum Berlin in cyberspace. For those who plan to visit the fair, as well as for those of us not lucky enough to make the pilgrimage to Berlin, the Artnet Virtual Fair makes Art Forum Berlin truly universal in scope.