artKARLSRUHE 2017 – a review

Soooo, artKARLSRUHE – my local artfair – is over. I promised to tell you all about it. But well. There is not so much to tell.

I loved it and I am disappointed at the same time. Mostly I loved it because I had the opportunity to see a lot of contemporary art within short time. There were stunning artworks and I could talk to many people like artists or gallerist. At the same time there was only one piece of art where I really considered buying it (A mobile by Monika Schmid). Ok, to be honest, I would have bought a lot if I had a) more money and b) no kids who destroy everything withing reach. (The mobile could be placed out of reach…) Oh I talked to a nice woman of a company that offers art insurances (Mannheimer Versicherungen). She was optimistic that my kids would do no harm to any bought artworks. Hahaha. My 4yr old accidently produced a hole in the wall this morning with the help of Lego. He can destroy anything. And I’m sure he would MEAN no harm… 😉

And why am I disappointed?

First of all, I had the impression that there were not so many new things so see, be it artist or artwork. There were several artworks where I am pretty sure that the respective gallery showed the exact same piece last year. Of course, galleries don’t change the artists they represent every now and then, so it’s kinda logic that I saw artworks of most artists before. The sad thing is, that there were only few artists where I could see some kind of progress to the artworks of last years exhibition. Also, it’s february and many pieces were dated 2017. I know, this really IS contemporary, but it makes me think that the artists just painted or built some stuff to have something new to show and sell for the quick money, but without all the hard work and progress of thinking that makes a good work an excellent one.

Then I think the fair itself is beyond its peak. There were fewer visitors than last year (at least that’s my impression for the days I was there) and even fewer galleries. The overall space was the same as last year I think, but the galleries had bigger booths, so there were less galleries. That’s speculation, I’m too lazy to fact-check this right now.

Aaaaand… a couple of years ago they changed the caterer and I’m still missing the smoked salmon bagels…

What about the cool stuff I saw? You can have a look at my instagram to see some of them. This is the next disappointment. I expexcted the galleries and artists to be kind of reluctant to have their artworks shown and shared at Instagram, but I was kinda shocked of how many gallerists didn’t even know what Instagram is. Instagram or Blogs are such a fantastic medium to show an artists work and increase awareness for him. It’s perfect for PR and this is a main task of a professional gallery imho, so I really don’t understand why they don’t use it. Especially the small ones (big galleries or galleries with really expensive artists usually have professionals for their social media) who often don’t know if they’ll make it over the next year. Also there was one gallery, they didn’t want me to publish the pictures of the (amazing!) artworks because they feared they might lose some kind of exclusive status. Well they showed the pieces at an art fair – what did they expect? Of course I respected their wish and didn’t publish it, though it was one of my favourites. Maybe that’s the point where I should mention that I asked ALL galleries or artists (if available) for their permission to publish the pictures you can see on my instagram.


But I have to mention that there were also great reactions like Mrs. Cerny of Galerie Cerny und Partner who spontaneously decided to reactivate her instagram account or Jo Kley who posed for a picture with two of his sculptures. Or that guy from Galerie Laurence Esnol who even recognized my pictures from instagram! All those great people made it worthwhile, so once again I’ll have to say – I won’t miss artKARLSRUHE 2018.

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