Gallery Weekend Berlin 2014 Preview

Gallery Weekend just turned ten! I won't hide the excitement and enormous expectations I had at the yesterday's press converence and the gallery tour. The organisation (this year with Maike Cruse in charge) made it more fancy and intimate, inviting relevant press to Pauly Saal. No lunchboxes, no firecrackers; Gallery Weekend has matured!

Even for somebody who exercises gallery-hopping on a weekly basis (every weekend is a gallery weekend for bpigs!), this once-a-year celebration officially called the "Gallery Weekend" is inevitably something extraordinary. It could be Easter, or May 1st, or my birthday, the Berlin spring still revolves around this insane marathon of openings and events with 50 galleries participating. Yes it still is only an art fair of some sort, minus the feeling of visiting a shopping mall that is. A brief discussion with the press group at the first gallery we visited had us all nodding our heads: despite the huge commercial aspect of the event, it is still a culturally amazing thing, the gallery space can in no way be compared to the soulless art fair booths, everybody feels at home, at ease, and there is a lot more space for fun.

The first one to be mentioned - Aurel Scheibler Galerie - is showing (mostly) late works by Philip Guston. Fans of Baselitz and Kippenberger: without further explanation – go see it; everyone else: I wouldn't prioritize to go check this one out, with so many exciting shows by the artists who you can actually meet at the opening. I prefer to stay away from the painting exhibitions where the canvases don't reek of fresh paint.

A show that has a fair amount of that fresh-from-the-oven feel is "Latent" by the young (27 years old!) artist Achraf Touloub at the gallery Plan B. The title is pefectly chosen for the series of works that hide more that they expose. Mysterious, elegant, and beautifully done. 

For something completely different, go see Georges Adeagbo's show at Wien Lukatsch, which merges art with writing with etnographic collection, in elaborate association chains. And try not to confuse it with a fleamarket; it may look like one, but it is all very much unaffordable museum material.  Also, ask the friendly gallerists to tell you the story of how Georges Adeagbo got famous and won prestigious awards. The moral of this interesting  story is: always chat with the bigmouth taxidrivers!

For something predictably great, go to Blain Southern to see the beastlike sculptures by Lynn Chadwick, an oldscool genius. Masterful and impressive, especially in a gallery like this, where space allows the pieces to shine in all their glory.

One of the favorite shows of the tour was "Klotz" by Andreas Eriksson at the gallery Sommer & Kohl. Next to his paintings with aggressive dimensions up to 4x4 meters one could easily feel attacked and devoured, but instead they bring peace and comfort and hug you softly with their earthy, woody, and airy hues. The artist perfectly mimicked the nature while escaping the figurativism trap. 

Another favorite - precisely THE favorite - is Wu Tsang, who is exhibiting and currently still working on one of his pieces at Isabella Bortolozzi Galerie. I sort of feel obliged to tell you that this is the best thing currently in Berlin, although I wish I could convince everyone otherwise and have a decent chance in getting a spot at his performance with Boychild on Friday at 20h.

At the Sassa Trülzsch gallery, which presents works by Klaus vom Bruch and Ingo Günther, we had the privilege to meet the all-around funny guy Klaus (who, by the way, went to college with Baldessari, and is the alleged pioneer of German video art; but you probably knew that – I didn't), sporting a beautiful tuna-patterned shirt from Hawaii, and serving drinks in a way a motivated beach-bar waiter would (I guess he either needs a vacation, or just returned from one). One of his "provocative" writings saying: "In the future painting will be a lower class phenomenon", already collected a team of haters which only makes it even more spot-on. Two thumbs up for this show - one for Klaus, and the other for Ingo who we didn't meet, but were still impressed by his beautiful lampshade-looking pieces carrying heavy geopolitical connotations.

And now some statistics. 14 out of 14 galleries included in the tour I took showed male artists.

Any comments?

Love, hate, debate,

and have a merry Gallery Weekend!

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