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While the advance word on this year’s edition of the Berlin Artforum was that it would be big step down from previous rounds - numerous local galleries having passed it over for the Freize fair in London and the Cologne fair later this month - the actual event turned out to be more pleasant for its reduced size. Shifted into a smaller set of halls at the Berlin Messe, the show appeared to have a more even quality than in the past and the usual social frenzy was a bit more manageable as well (an average of about 3 must-see events each evening rather than six or seven).

Healthy representations from Australia and Canada also made for an interesting twist this year, with the http://www.hamburgerbahnhof.de">Hamburger Bahnhof hosting “Face Up,” a survey of contemporary Australian art. Despite the reduced space for the show owing to a fire at the museum in July the presentation was good, and Susan Norrie’s “Undertow” looks better than it did earlier this year in twice the space at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. One wonders what the locals will make of Patrica Piccinini’s contribution, however. Her mutating hotrod is far more sunny and weird than anything I have seen here in ages, and looks as wonderful as it is out of place here.

- Ed Osborn [Wednesday, October 8th, 2003]

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