Berlin, 18 September 2012. Art Media Agency (AMA).
Astrid Mania, Berliner art critic, recalls the 29th edition of the ABC Fair (Art Berlin Contemporary), held in the capital of Germany from 13 to 16 September. 129 galleries from 18 countries had been invited.
According to her, the opening conference of this year instisted on ABC’s originality and innovation, seen as a “new format” and a “private initiative”. More than a simple fair, ABC is an attitude. It is a way of thinking, or rather the evocation of a particular spirit, the Berlin one: casual, cool, chaotic, international. Different. Astrid Mania questions, in this context, its very viability.
For her, being different is ABC’s key notion. Not only as a distinct, organized structure, but as well for its appearance and concept. Founded by nine Berliner galleries as an alternative to Art Forum (Berlin contemporary art fair that closed its doors last year, after fifteen years of existence), ABC appeared as a thematic show and is now leading the artistic scene as Germany’s key commercial event of kind.
One of ABC’s main strengths is the focus on various artistic presentations, sometimes very close to condensed solo exhibitions, as Marcel Frey’s, for instance. Furthermore, among 129 participant galleries, half of them comes from abroad. The organization committee grants invitations on this one criteria : “quality”. There were, notably, many Viennese, even with Viennafair beginning next week, as well as participants from Hong Kong and Cape Town, four New York galleries, and Dubai.
However, for the critic, ABC will have to become more transparent when it comes to its admission policy, its answer to economical expectations, and possibly its adaptation to “real art fairs” functionalities. Astrid Mania indicates the leaders of ABC seem to have already chosen that path by nominating Cruse Maike as the director, in order to make of ABC not only a very special place, but a place that is viable for arts and for its supporters.