For the final day of abc Art Berlin Contemporary 2012, I decided to have a look around one more time, even though the whole weekend consisted largely of endless amounts of looking, talking and looking some more whilst returning to specific pieces (I probably visited Timm Ulrichs at Wentrup a dozen times).
 
As I walked around the fair on the final day, I began to wonder what everyone else’s experience of abc was and what their impressions of everything they had seen at the fair. I had the opportunity to speak to both participants and visitors in a ‘Vox pop’ manner to summarise events over the weekend. By speaking to a cross-section of people, I was offered anecdotes and insightful comments.
Here is a summary of what a few of them had to say about abc’s fourth edition:
 
Daniella Rose King
Curator and Writer
London, UK

Daniella Rose King @ abc



What are your thoughts on abc Art Berlin Contemporary 2012?
DRK: abc appears to be a welcome addition to the contemporary art scene in Berlin, which has grown over the years since its inception, providing a platform to introduce international galleries and artists to this location, while also expanding its remit through an emphasis on art publications and public programming.
 
Do you think it embodies the Berlin art scene or is too focused on Berlin galleries or well balanced?
DRK: The representation of international galleries seems quite balanced, while still reflecting the home turf of Berlin-based galleries and spaces.
 
What have you seen that has been outstanding?
DRK: The individual presentations were in the whole quite interesting, and in particular the Miss Read section of artistic publications and the talks programme by Artists Space, NYC.
 

Do you think this one artist presentation is effective?
DRK: The one artist presentation is an interesting choice for an art fair, and contributes to the feeling of being in an exhibition, rather than a trade fair, whilst also not overwhelming the viewer with visual stimulus. The impression of the fair is thus more considered and manageable, whilst giving each artwork/artist more space for contemplation.
 
Sarah Rahbar
Artist
New York, USA


Sara Rahbar looking through Mona Hatoum’s Bourj II by NIMAR



What are your thoughts on the fair so far as a visitor and participating artist?
SR: It’s a wonderful fair! I especially love the presentation and the display of the works as well as overall relaxed and laid back feel of the fair!
 
What have you seen that has been outstanding?
SR: Mona Hatoum’s piece at Max Hetzler
 
Do you think this one artist presentation is and effective model?
SR: Yes! Definitely. 
 
James Webb
Artist
Cape town, South Africa

James Webb, portrait by Adrienne van Eeden-Wharton



What are your thoughts on abc art fair over its duration?

JW: I was encouraged to see a variety of spaces and approaches, and especially pleased that blank projects were there to share our ideas within this scenario.

 
Do you think it embodies the Berlin art scene or is too focused on Berlin
galleries or well balanced?

JW: So many international artists live in Berlin that it’s tough to work out what is not part of the Berlin art scene.


 
What have you seen that has been outstanding?

JW: I admire the work of Timur Si-Qin and Jason Dodge, and had always
wanted to see Shimabuku’s video.


 
What has been outlandish or unimpressive?

JW: The thing about unimpressive pieces is that they don’t stick in the mind long enough for me to remember them for questions like this.


 
Do you think this one artist presentation is effective?

JW: It can be as it allows an audience to get a clearer idea of the dynamics and relationships within that artist’s practice. That said, it’s always interesting to see a gallery’s collection of artists and to explore the relationships within that.
 
Tina Wentrup
Wentrup Galley
Berlin, Germany

 
How has the fair gone for you so far? The Timm Ulrichs installation is one of the best here this year. Has there been a good response to the work?
TW: I liked abc a lot this year. A lot of my colleagues profited from the perfect location and the possibility to show outstanding projects. Of course it is an economic risk to present only one artist but I think for the visitors, its very interesting to see a fair concept which differs from the others and to have the possibility to discover an artist in depth.
 
Our installation by Timm Ulrichs got a lot of interest and we immediately sold three paintings by Florian Meisenberg on the first day. So even in terms of sales the fair is worth to be continued!

Bird’s eye view of abc


In conclusion my A-Z of abc 2012:
 
A – Architecture of the fair developed by Manuel Raeder
B – Birdsong (did you hear the sound work There’s No Place Called Home by James Webb which inserted the sporadic calls of a Cape Rock Thrush to the fair’s soundscape)
C – Club Mate (to get you through the fair, parties and accompanying events for Berlin Art Week)
D – Dapper looking fair goers
E – Eyeout: The mobile art guide
F – Claire Fontaine’s ‘Capitalism Kills Love’ neon
G – Gupta pots
H – Hatoum’s Bourj II
I – Interventions (Mexicali Rose and Metahaven)
J – Jahnke’s vintage dress collection
K – King Size for Artist Night
L – Lenticular Prints by Ayman Yossri at Athr Gallery
M – Mousse Publishing abc Reader
N – Networking (fairs are all about this)
O – One hundred and eighty nine participating galleries: 6 galleries from Berlin, 8 from Vienna, 6 from London, each 4 from Dubai, New York, Zurich, 3 in Munich, each 2 from Brussels, Frankfurt, Cape Town, Leipzig, Malmö, Milan, Paris and Rome, and 1 each from Antwerp, Catania, Dresden, Jeddah, Dusseldorf, Glasgow, Hamburg, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Innsbruck, Istanbul, Karlsruhe, Cologne, Copenhagen, Naples, Beijing, Prague and Seoul.
P – Painting domination
Q – Queuing was at a minimum
R – Miss Read
S – abc Shop for alphabet tees
T – Times Bar for one-week only
U – Timm Ulrichs installation
V – Vidokle and Verwoert talks at Artists Space
W – Wikileaks fundraiser
X – Qiu Xiaofei at Boers-Li Gallery
Y – Yearly (see you next year)
Z – Zak Branicka’s interactive installation by Szymom Kobylarz

Visitors looking at Gerold Miller @ Mehdi Choukari


photos and text BY JAREH DAS, EDITOR FOR EYEOUT