Paris-Berlin Gallery Exchange Opens in Summer, With Half the Galleries


For the fourth edition of the Berlin-Paris gallery exchange [June 29–July 7], seven galleries from each city temporarily traded stables. “The main aim is to create a dialogue between gallerists, curators and critics from the two European cities and relationships that continue also after the event,” says Cathy Larqué of the French Institute in Berlin, who organized this year’s edition.

Usually held in January, this year’s exchange was postponed for warmer weather. It might not have been the best timing, since many major galleries recently concluded a travel marathon that began with Frieze New York and ended in Basel (and included stops as far as Hong Kong). Twenty-eight galleries—twice as many—participated last year.

Sarah Miltenberger of Berlin’s carlier|gebauer said the exchange was up against some obstacles: “School is on holiday, and the opening reception at the French Embassy in Berlin was the same day as the Euro Cup semi-final between Italy and Germany,” she said. Her gallery hosted French gallery Marcelle Alix, which imported an installation and video by French artist Aurélien Froment [through Sept. 8]. In Paris carlier|gebauer showed Self-Portrait Against Nature, a 2001 video by Belgian artist Michel François, and 9493 (2011), an 11-minute film from the “VideoRhizome” series by Berlin-based Brazilian artist Marcellvs L. [through Jul. 28].

Some established galleries decided not to participate this year, including Esther Schipper who cited “an inconvenient time of year.” This gave the exchange a younger flavor. Participating for the first time was Paris’s Emmanuel Hervé, which opened less than a year ago. Berlin gallery Campagne Première showed Parque do Flamengo (2012), which records the life of this 7-kilometer long Rio de Janeiro park. The video, by Brussels-based artist Sophie Nys, will also be on view as part of the Venice Architecture Biennale, directed by David Chipperfield [opens Aug. 29].

For the first time this year, non-profits are participating, including the Office (Berlin), Le Bureau (Paris) and cneai= (Chatou, a Parisian suburb). The latter art center, run by Sylvie Boulanger, has a vast collection of contemporary artists’ books and prints. Cneai=’s show opens Sept. 29 in a building that was once housed the studios of Fauve artists André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck and has recently been given minimal white-wall galleries by the architecture firm Bona-Lemercier.

Berlin dealer Mehdi Chouakri, a four-time participant, traded spaces with Galerie 1900–2000. There she presented Sylvie Fleury’s “Nailed” [through July 26], an exhibition inspired by the fascinating dandy Arthur Cravan, a writer, painter and amateur boxer who disappeared at sea in the 1930s. Much of the show was created by Cravan, and not for sale. “We participate more for the visibility,” explains Chouakri.

During the Exchange “sales depend on the gallery, and whether it has pre-existing contacts with local collectors,” said Michael Zink, whose Galerie Zink occupied Almine Rech in Paris with small paintings and painted wood sculptures by Romanian artist Veron Urdarianu, priced $6,000–$22,000.

Sales were generally quite slow, but there were exceptions: galerie ulrich fiedler, who had set up shop in Paris’s Jousse Entreprise, reported selling three works of design, including a 1927 stool by Mies van der Rohe, on opening day. Prices started from $18,000.

Installation view, Aurélien Froment, Landschaft aus Holz, Sprache aus Ahorn. Courtesy Marcelle Alix and carlier gebauer.