donderdag 14 augustus 2014

Festival fever @ the Project Space festival 2014

Why the Project Space Festival Berlin is so much better than the festival around Dutch art fair Art Rotterdam
In Berlin, there currently is a lovely festival going on titled the Project Space Festival. It features one project space each day, every day in august. The space in question organises an event or an exhibition, often accompanied by a performance, food and music. The press couldn't be more positive about this initiative, asking itself why there wasn't a festival like this before.

In Holland, the most interesting festival about contemporary art is the circus that arises in february around Art Rotterdam. It’s main event is the art fair Art Rotterdam, where one can find the best galleries from the Netherlands and a critical selection of international spaces. Berlin is featured there with seven galleries, among which Klemm’s, Future Gallery and Grimmuseum. And yes, you read this correctly; The most interesting festival is not in Amsterdam. 

Art Rotterdam 2014 @ the Van Nelle Fabriek
Rotterdam is definitely the place to be in february. Art Rotterdam itself lasts four days and there is a whole week planned around it. The city buzzes of events. In fact, there are so many of them, it is impossible to visit them all. In 2012 there were five (FIVE!) parallel art fairs. Some a bit alternative, like Re-Rotterdam, but still. In 2013, same situation. At that time the main event, the art fair, still took place in the departure hall of the Holland America Line, which has been described as rather cosy for an art fair. That being said, it could easily fill your day art-watching. This year Art Rotterdam moved to an even bigger location at the Van Nelle Factory.

Already in 2012, I started to get annoyed with the overflow of side events. “What do they want from me?’, I thought in the train home, with a huge headache from too much art. “I’m an experienced art watcher, not some art fair-virgin”, my thoughts continued, trying to soothe me. As an art historian-writer-critic-whatever, I wanted to take it all in. I tried and desperately failed, ending up with an art-hangover from trying to fit too much art into one day.

Project Space Festival @ Insitu

Project Space Festival @ Kleine Humboldt Galerie
It seems like such a waste. Spread all these nice events over the whole year and I think you make a lot of art enthusiasts happy. Let alone that you have something to see all year round. Of course, you probably won't get as many new visitors as you would from the flow that visits Art Rotterdam. Ergo less money. But they sure would pay more attention to what they saw. So what is more important in the long run?

Of course, Art Rotterdam can’t be compared with the Project Space Festival. They are apples and pears, rabbits and bears. One is an art fair with side effects, the other a festival. A very good designed festival, I might aid.

Luckily for me, here in Berlin I CAN take it all in. That’s why you can put me in line with the other lovers of the Project Space Festival. Simple, clear, diverse and above all, do-able.

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