For me, the art fair is about creating spectacle. It has to be. While clustering together into a fair attracts a bigger audience – a record number apparently - galleries then have to compete with each other to be seen. The abc fair, in which participating galleries were required to show the work of a single artist, did it incredibly slickly. Without the opportunity to stack a range of artists’ work into a booth, the stands were really varied, giving each gallery a distinct identity. At the more traditionally presented Preview fair, the winner for me was the building, the painting halls in a former and somewhat dilapidated workshop for the opera (I'm rather amazed there was once this huge opera workshop).
The KW Institute for Contemporary Art held an evening of exhibiting artists talking about why they paint, as part of Painting Forever!, the four-institution collaboration, and its show Keilrahmen (stretchers). One of the artists, Thomas Schoeren, was retrieved from the bar as the last speaker and proceeded to rant about over production of art (at least, that’s what I understood his speech to be about). With 7 billion people living in the world, of which something like 4 million claim ourselves to be visual artists (over half a million of whom are professionals), the world, the market, is flooded with art.
I’m not quite sure where this leaves me. Definitely wanting to make the best work that I can – the most articulate representation of my ideas, well thought through and intelligible – and to fight the compulsion to make a lots, to be seen to be making to be able to call myself an artist. But, standing on the fringe, I need to find an outlet to present my work as well. My cousin has suggested, several times, that I set myself on Etsy or something similar, which I have been reluctant to do. I feel it is somehow more suitable for products and I definitely don’t want to be a maker of an art-product. What excites me at the moment, though I think it is a pretty crazy idea, is setting up my own space. In Berlin I have stumbled across two book exchange projects which I have really liked – one with covered shelves set in hollowed tree trunks, the other in a telephone box (see below). I like the generosity and unexpectedness of these spaces. Perhaps it is time for me to try the art world out from a different angle, to try to elbow my way to being more of an insider, though I don't imagine for a second it would be simple setting such a space up and running it.