“Painting Forever!” Discussion panel with the curators and Michael Kunze – What about that?!

Text and pictures by Joanna Papazoglou

For the most of us Berlin Art Week may be an euphoric art experience somewhere back in September.

Yes, we all went to the ABC art fair to catch up with the galleries’ freshest, attended openings – the more the merrier – and got silly drunk at Augustraße street festival. Pivotal figures in this happy cultural occasion have of course been four major institutions: Berlinische Galerie, Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, KW Institute for Contemporary Art and Nationalgalerie -Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. And it may be over for us but apparently these people who marked Berlin ArtWeek with their collaborative show “Painting Forever!” still have something to discuss... So how did it go, guys?

Udo Kittelman (Director, Nationalgallerie) Thomas Köhler (Director, Berlinische Gallerie), Ellen Blumenstein (Head Curator, KunstWerke,) and Eva Scharrer (Appointed Curator, Deutsche Bank KunstHalle) along with prominent artist Michel Kunze, all sat down together invited by the Tagespiegel Verlag to discuss “on the role of painting” in todays rapid, image-driven culture. Thank god the didn’t.

Nothing really was said on the role of painting, absolutely no conclusion was drawn that night. In reality what the meeting was about is impressions, positioning, gossip and soup.

Thus spoke Berlin’s G4 summit:

“The cash the Senate brought to us made such a difference. The Franz Ackermann exhibition would absolutely be a no-go without that ” Thomas Köhler –- on funding. (yes we can imagine) Also “ It was lovely to see new visitors caming to our show who woudn’t do normally.” So, extra plus points on cooperation and exchange.

I wanted to show femine art ” Eva Scharrer –- on her curatorial choice to go for four female artists at the Deutsche Bank Kunstahalle.

At least we got a woman in our exhibition title! ” Udo Kittelman –- playfully outbalancing his all male dominated ‚Bube Dame König Ass’ show under the Mies an der Rohe roof of the Neue Nationalgallerie.

The directive frame from the Senate along with the budget came as following: It can be anything, it just needs to be somehow about Berlin. – so we did it! "  –- Ellen Blumenstein on her decision to curate a show with Berlin’s best of younger painting generation (circa 73 artists in a single house!) If those 73 artists brought each a couple of friends at the opening, that explains why the entrance at the KW that night was sooo stuck. We mean like no way in, no way out. 

After that quasi ‘Speed Dating’-experience I had at the Augustrasse ArtWeek street event I really felt like some distance from my audience ” Michael Kunze –- on his agoraphobic experience.

So we got the amount 350.000 € from the Senate to make this cooperative exhibition, which got split in according shares… [ counting.. ] oh wait! Where did those rest 40.000 € go? ” Ellen Blumenstein –- on budget allocation – the right answer is at running literature projects.

We live in deeply conservative times in terms of art production. Just think of what Actionism was presenting back in the 60’s.. Those things today would be totally unacceptable. ” Udo Kittelman –- on today's conservatism.

Let me also mention the specially curated catering for that special night. Three variation of soups in bright green (peas), orange (pumpkin) and deep red (beetroot) accompanied with crème fraiche, croutons, and a bunch of different spices and toppings with missing labels that made everybody confused on what should go with what.

“ Yes. Finally. Coconut on peas. Oh-ma-gawd. That’s SO not conservative! “ Thomas Köhler –- on combos and radicalism. 


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