art forum berlin & abc art berlin contemporary: "light camera action"
              Kirsty Bell
              Strolling through the landscaped gardens—past elegant fountains and late blooming roses—that connect the light drenched 1930s halls staging Berlin’s art forum art fair and the abc art berlin contemporary exhibition in the 1950 Marshall Haus pavilion, it was easy to forget the gallery politics that have until this year separated the two. abc was founded in 2008 by the founders of Berlin’s popular “Gallery Weekend” event as a concurrent rival to the art fair, challenging the need for such a conventional sales platform in a city which may be the European capital of art production, but is definitively not a center of art collection. The alternative they came up with—a baggy exhibition of art works selected by individual galleries according to a chosen theme and installed in a large hall—was riddled with awkward ambiguities. Though insisting on its status as an independent exhibition, it was in effect an art fair without the booth walls, with gallerists hovering uncertainly near the large-scale works they had paid to have installed there. In its third incarnation, abc’s rather disingenuous self-promotion as an experimental “free” exhibition format seems even more strained, despite the smartly chosen theme of the influence of film on contemporary art …
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