Happening to be in London and Berlin on successive weekends, I was able to compare the second edition of the annual EC1-WC1 ‘London Gallery Day’ (25-26 April, galleries open late both nights) with the tenth Berlin Gallery Weekend. They are of a different nature, the former designed to highlight 24 mostly small galleries which aren’t easily defined as west end or east end, but somewhere in between. That means they’re not covered by the East End’s first Thursday or Fitzrovia’s last Thursday or, indeed, South London’s last Friday monthly events. Berlin’s event (1-3 May) featured the coordinated opening of sixty shows citywide by fifty leading galleries on Friday night, followed by full day openings on Saturday and Sunday. Berlin doesn’t have a conventional art fair, so this became in effect its ‘Frieze Week without Frieze’, with private collections, public institutions and the many other galleries upping their game in parallel. There would certainly be a case for expanding London’s version into a parallel version. But, either way, both events had plenty to enjoy. It certainly helped that Gagosian joined in with the London day, for which Giuseppe Penone provided the stand-out show, including the biggest leather-as-bark wall work I’ve seen. Berlin has no Gagosian and had no Penone show, but there was something of the same spirit at the Buchmann Gallery, where Wolfgang Laib had built one of his Wax Rooms: a concealed space lined with 5 cm thick slabs of fragrant yellow beeswax to sensuously enveloping effect.
Most days art Critic Paul Carey-Kent spends hours on the train, traveling between his home in Southampton and his day job in Surrey. Could he, we asked, jot down whatever came into his head?