Front Row by CFA Berlin

The Berlin-based Contemporary Fine Arts gallery recently opened a great pop-up shop named Front Row on the ground floor of its David Chipperfield-designed space on Museum Island. Open until the 26th of April, the store sells: artists’ books, catalogues, DVDs, vinyl, paintings, woodcuts, sculptures, and paraphernalia associated with the gallery for a large range of prices. The basic idea behind Front Row was to create a traditional analog exhibition. Nowadays speed has become a major factor in the work of the gallery, but in the early days of the 20-year-history of the gallery everything was thought out to the last detail; from exhibitions to books, to editions. Over the years these objects moved further and further away, partially because of the dominance of the internet, with them eventually ending up in storage. The idea of CFA-founder Bruno Brunnet was to put these beautiful elements produced by his gallery on display again next to work of his liking of a broad spectrum of artists.

The offering in the shop is extremely diverse, object and price-wise. With T-shirts and the very affordable selection of art-books on the one hand. But at the same time there’s a Thomas Houseago sculpture in the shop, with a price-tag of 300.000 euro. The curation for the store started with a selection of extraordinary Juergen Teller posters done for the Berlin-based theather Schaubühne. They were the first things that were put up in the store, hung 2 meters high in one long line. Everything else was installed around these posters, with spontaneity as the key-element. And even during its run Brunnet gives himself the freedom to change elements in the store. Some things go out, other things come in, making the store as dynamic as possible.

This dynamic is to observe in every aspect of Front Row, as the selection goes beyond just CFA artists. In an interesting conversation with 032c Brunnet states:

I’m tired of it always being about the high-end stuff. This is a mixture of possibilities you can’t normally do when you’re just selling art.

“We invited our old neighbor Thomas Wild, who deals Moroccan carpets, to participate. These carpets became very popular in the 1960s, especially for their association with modern architecture. Corbusier used them in his spaces. But some of these weren’t even meant to appeal to buyers. They were made with recycled scraps of burlap or materials given by the Red Cross, for the carpet makers’ private homes. But the creative freedom of these non-commercial pieces eventually started to appeal to Western tastes. Thomas will give a lecture in the space at the end of the month, focusing on carpets and art.”

We love the highly inspiring approach in curation of Bruno Brunnet and hope to visit Front Row before it closes!

Images courtesy of Contemporary Fine Arts – CFA, Berlin.

Front Row is open to the public Tuesday until Saturday from 10:00 to 18:00 and will close its doors on the 26th of April. For more information see here.