First thing I did on the fair was a step back, fretting from the crazy whip lady, one of the many shows/actions to be set up and taken down in the course of 2 hours in the Upcoming Exhibitions section right by the entrance.
Is she performing a Julius von Bismarck?
What I thought was as incidental as unfortunate, actually gave the tone for the whole abc experience. More of a festival then a fair maybe, this year’s abc is definitely an experience, and this in the most literal sense of the word. +20 for the creative presentations of the galleries. They really spared no trouble! Walking with me Anna Russ from Berlinartlink seems to be on some kind of art high. And it is true.
You almost walk on a hand searching for its lost keys, you lean over to help out, it just throws them back out. Elsewhere a gallery has burned down half of the (rather expensive) white booth walls. They even wear matching (burnt) shirts. Guido Baudach is joyfully documenting a skype connection with Burkina Faso at Christoph Schlingensief´s Operndorf (a project by Galerie Hauser & Wirth/ Andy Hope 1930, Anri Sala, Aino Laberenz). Alex Duve is serving danish hot dogs , at Crone they sell a very tasty Pizza edition for 50 Euro complete with instructions on how to build the oven they just made it in and three recipes. Even Alex Forbes running around with stacks of the Blouinartinfo newspaper feels like a performance.
On different kinds of grids, impromptu wall constructions, hanging from or reaching to the ceiling, or even just on the floor gallerists lay out their merchandise, smile, talk and gesticulate explaining the works. In this overwhelmingly active presentation mode, gallerists who chose the more traditional booth-big paintings format, look like the Amish kids in Kindergarten.
Abc has always been cool. This year it also feels good, if not a bit crazed out. There is a Gong ringing, signaling not sure what, there is a performance somewhere every half an hour, I keep getting caught up in something else on the way to something else and it smells amazing all the time. Distractions everywhere. During Alexandra Bachzetsis "A piece danced alone" I cannot stop looking at the male toilet sign.
Things I enjoyed. The architectural design (if not always the programm) at the upcoming exhibitions section booth was flawless, great placement for most of the galleries, friendly staff, good atmosphere. A vintage Peres with two amazing booths, wonderful new work from Kristine Roepstoff, a magical installation by Luca Trevisani @Mehdi Chouakri, equally amazing the Figge von Rosen booth with Diana Sirianni, the fact that we got to see a few more rooms of this amazing space and... to be honest almost everything. Nele from Niche snorts her drink when I say so later.
Siliest rumors. CFA joined the parallel fair Preview this year (some intern messing up the submission forms), a Jedda gallery asked for their stand to be moved, as they landed next to a full frontal full wall, making any press photos for back home impossible. Daniel Richter is leaving CFA. Maybe that is even true.
"Anybody important we should concentrate on tonight?" asked a friend later in Packed Pauly (Saal).
No, it is just us!
an ongoing source of amusement