There is only one week before the opening of the art fair “Signs of Dexterity” in a place that used to be a 8 plants office building in the south of the famous Tempelhof Park, at the berliner neighbourhood of Neukölln. In the upper part of this building, with awesomes views of the city, the event is taking place the weekend from 3rd to 5th of october.
Berlin has a huge number of art fairs, for example just a few days ago we could enjoy the Berlin Art Week that included three simultaneous art fairs.
But Signs of Dexerity wants to distinguish itself from the rest of this kind of events, so in addition to exhibit and sell art from more than 73 artists of 23 countries. They are filling the space with music, lectures and screenings. We talked with Simon, one of the organizers, who explained to us many of the insights of the fair.
Could you tell us when and how did you get the idea of the art fair? Why in Berlin?
The idea was born in March and was set up mid May with an open call. I am renting a studio in an atelier house (Greenhouse Berlin) in Tempelhof with about 70 other artists. After participating in several art fairs as an exhibitor and visitor, I started talking to other artists at the Greenhouse and we had the idea of organising something ourselves. In addition there was a huge available space on the top two floors of the building which we really wanted to use for a big art event. I am used to organise events, though of much smaller size than this art fair. So for me it was a natural evolution.It was something I wanted to try.
Berlin is a vibrant artistic hub and offers uniques opportunities for spaces. It is also home of many artists but too many do no find the exposure they are looking for and struggle to find their break. We would like to assist and bring art enthusiasts and artists together.
What´s the difference between yours and other art fairs?
Well, the concept of an art fair is in some ways a little restrictive in that it is a market place where art is sold, so we are not re-inventing the wheel. But, we have of course a unique selection of artists from various disciplines and they will be given the opportunity to use the space their own way and create something special with a lot of freedom.
Since one of our main goals is to help artists getting exposure we have built a strong website to promote every participant with a personal page. So I guess it is also a difference to other art fairs in Berlin.
How do you think art influences society and people?
Difficult question. Art can make people think in that it can address contemporary issues. I think a good example is street art, mainly because it is seen by so many people. So to me this is one of the most obvious examples. If people change their behaviour in the end is something completely different. At the same time, there is still plenty of art that is more decorative which of course also has a place in the art world and thus society.
Recently, new events and fairs where art is more accessible to the public have emerged. Is the collector profile changing?
It is true those new art fairs are really different which reflects also the way artists work nowadays. Since many of them are notrepresented by a gallery, they do most of their promotion and merchandise themselves. Because it is them who are present at the fair, they are closer to the attending public. In a way it is really great to get more direct feedback from people who are not your friends or other artists. You can see what effect your work has on people. And yes, the collector profile is definitely changing. It is more accessible to start a collection that can take value and we would like to encourage this new audience to buy more affordable art.
The fair is very focused on illustration. What´s the place it occupies in the art world?
Although the call was open to various type of art, the reason why we focused on it is because it usually requires skills and dexterity. Illustrations are by definition, mechanically reproduced material depicting stories (although this also changed a lot lately, i think you can picture it simply as a very nice drawing) Illustration actually has a good place between the various purposes of art: a visually attractive experience (whatever that means for an individual) and a meaningful message that makes people think.
I cannot say what place it occupies in the world since it depends a lot on where you are. In Belgium, where I am from, it´s called the 9th Art. There, as well as in the US, Japan, France and Italy there is definitely what you can call “a scene” with its institutions, a lot of collectors and fans.
How many artists /galleries are participating in this edition?
There are exactly 73 artists originating from 23 countries participating, including 4 galleries.
What are your prospects regarding sells and public attendance?
It seems difficult to make this kind of predictions due to the daily amount of cultural events in Berlin (officialy more than 2000). We are simply doing our best to propose a quality event that will attract hundreds of people!
What kind of visitor profile do you seek?
Anyone is welcome to come to the art fair. A lot of our promotion is happening online, so of course the message will reach mostly people connected through online art networks. In addition we are personally inviting galleries and art collectors.
What is your opinion about the relation between art and internet, social network, blogs etc… Are they valid agents for promoting art?
Totally! Our website is a pillar of the event, and we are doing most of the promotion online. But we also depend on other websites to link andrelate to us in order to be more visible. We are also very active on facebook and twitter where we keep everyone informed about the latest developments, for example we present one or two artists every day on there. The validity for promoting art depends on whether it works or not. But social networking is for sure a necessary part. If thousands of people attend our fair thanks to facebook then I would say it is a valid agent. Nonetheless we also try to promote the event through other media but it is hard to reach the press with a budget as small as ours.
And now tell us 5 reasons for convincing us to visit the fair
#1 There will be more than 70 artists presenting their work. More than 30 of them are coming from abroad only for this show!
#2 Signs of dexterity is affordable! (We only ask for a donation at the door)
#3 The location is definitely worth the visit! It´s on the 8th Floor of a huge building and has an amazing panoramic view to the city. There are rotundas and balconies.v
#4 There will be screenings, live drawings, concerts and lectures.
#5 There will be an exhibition that opens with a vernissage on Friday October 3rd at 17h and lasts all weekend.
From 3rd to 5th October 2014
Friday 3rd October
17:00 → 22:00
Saturday 4th October
11:00 → 22:00
Sunday 5th October
11:00 → 22:00
Greenhouse Berlin/Plateau Gallery
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