Exposition au Salon de 1787, eau-forte de Pietro Antonio Martini (1738–1797) - Paris

Exposition au Salon de 1787, eau-forte de Pietro Antonio Martini (1738–1797) – Paris

The champagne is already cooled and now it is only till tomorrow that the city will be full of highheels under makeuped faces and men in suits standing in white cubes, listening to gallerists and assistants who will counsel them on what they see. Yes my friends, the Gallery Weekend is nearly upon us and it is gigantic as usual: 51 Galleries, 51 Openings, three times good old Hans-Peter Feldmann (even for him this is a lot). So far the official programm – on which we will comment the latter days again. But besides of this „exclusive“ circle (exclusive is a relative term, concerning the numbers), all and everyone from institutions like KW (Kunstwerke) to Haus der Kulturen der Welt to small galleries to off spaces is involving themselves in the big event. Really: the circus has come to town and the professionals on the production and sales side are getting their clown costumes out of the attic. After all it is business – and business is more than selling. Attention, in my opinion, is for artists as welll as gallerists the first (and in the beginning probably most important) currency. To be noticed – by curators, collectors, journalists – really means to exist, before being noticed, you simply do not exist. So we will see panicked gallerists trying to sell there showroom standing half on the street as if they were selling fish on a market. You will also see artists wandering through the halls of galleries they would like to work with, visiting exhibitions of admired colleagues, trampling down the paths of hope as so many before and after them will do. As in real estate, location is everything. If you happen to be with your space near the gallery clusters and the big shots who participate in the gallery weekend you might end up lucky – curiosity exists after all in every single one of us., if you are located in (regardind the art world) more remote corners of the city, you stay out of it, or you have to get smart. A goof example is the „Kolonie Wedding“, a loose commune of galleries and projects based around Soldiner Straße in berlin Wedding. They do their own „Kolonie Wochenende“ (Weekend) with seven openings and guided tours. A valuable approach, because the off-scene in berlin has as such a good reputation, but on the other hand you do not know the city well enough to find the places, if you just fly over for the weekend. So this kind of „guided“ event is probably an attractive one for those who want to discover young talents and get involved in the special Berlin scene besides the big galleries that are – after all – only a small part of it. After last countings there do exist between 500 and 600 galleries, project spaces and off locations for art in the city. Their range in quality and conceptual idea is as wide as one can imagine. It reaches from basic democratic approaches like „Kreuzberg Pavillon„, who managed to show 500 exhibitions over the last three or so years with the intent of not „judging“ the art they show, to producer\aritst run spaces like „Lage Egal„, situated in Prenzauer Berg, which will move temporarily into a loft near Potsdamer Straße for the Gallery Weekend to have a better possibility of getting attention, to nearly institutionalised locations like NGBK (New Society for Visual Arts). One sometimes do wonder, if there actually is someone in town, who does know really all (or most) of them. When the dust settles after three days, everyone will be happy and announce that this was the best Gallery Weekend yet, more visitors, more collectors, more VIPs, more whatsoever. There might also be someone who talks from the art-capital Berlin again. In the shadows, beyond the bright lights of media attention, importance and business, most of the actors in this little drama will commence as usual: struggeling with the difficulties of the cultural sector, their work, money, attention. And wait for the fall, when the art-fairs open their doors and the circus does return.


Über philippkoch

author and curator, specializing in literature and writing on visual arts
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