After Preview Berlin Art Fair: The Postpartum

From penis-nosed artists to decapitated chickens, Preview Berlin Art Fair was quite a spectacle. But what exactly happens after? What if you were an artist showing your work at such an event and basking in the glory of your accomplishment, is there an “after” for this happily every after/post-art-fair-extravaganza? We talked with one such artist, Johanna Silbermann about her work and what Preview Berlin Art Fair has meant for her artistic career and the importance of staying connected in the Berlin art scene. For Johanna, the ability to exhibit to a larger audience, while also being a “guest” yourself at the art fair, constantly discovering new things, is invaluable.

BAPS: What is the main inspiration for your work? 

JS: I would say the main inspiration for my work is the town where I live and also the experiences I have had with music, film, literature etc… I cycle a lot and I grew up here, so I like to discover hidden places and new experiences. I’m also sensitive to any changes here. I think we are all influenced by advertisements, graffiti slogans, or how people behave in public places. The seasons of the year, for example, influence the color I use. Light can change how the whole body works. 

BAPS: Have any of your past life experiences come out in your paintings?

JS: Its funny that you ask me if past life experiences come out in my paintings. In the beginning of the year when I started the painting “Koko” with the budgies, suddenly I remembered that we had a big cage full of them in the first year of my basic school. I totally forgot this.

BAPS: Why did you choose paint as your medium? Do you ever work with anything else like prints or sculpture?

JS: My Father is a house painter. So I grew up in an apartment full of work equipment; that’s why I fell in love quite early with paint. When I do research for my work, I take a lot of photographs, but I never started to work seriously with this medium.


BAPS: What was your own personal experience like as an artist participating in Preview Berlin Art Fair?

JS: My experience was not that different than if I was a guest; I was walking around with my friends and we explored the artworks. Also, it takes time to see the results from the show.

BAPS: What was the most beneficial aspect of Preview for you?

JS: I think the most beneficial aspect of Preview was to meet all that people at the opening. Sometimes it is useful if you lost a contact to be back in touch again and also that the work is shown to such a big audience.

BAPS: What influence do you think Preview has for the artist community in Berlin? How does it compare with other art fairs?

JS: I can’t speak for the artist community of Berlin, I just can speak for myself. For me it is almost a “close-up” of new trends in the art scene and art market. You can go there and find out what you like and what you don’t like. You can make new contacts or use it as a stage to show the art world you are still there. These art fairs can be kind of a platform for exchange. Also among each other – I think this is really important because without any exchange the art scene can’t develop.