Last week Berlin had a hot&cold thing going on. Besides the standard combo (hot people + cold drinks), it went a bit crazy with fireballs in the freezing Berlin night and snowmen in the melting African sun.
Jutta Koether @ Praxes
First and foremost, last Thursday’s opening at Praxes featured a built in sobriety test (not pictured): to enter the gallery, one had to climb over the steepest staircase I’ve ever been subjected to. Too drunk? Turn back around and head home! They should probably patent this set-up before the Kreuzberg clubs follow suit…
The third part of three, Jutta Koether’s final installment brought in cheerful and chipper attendees. +8 for the atmosphere—the stair-situation turned away any undesireables, and the two-tiered gallery was left filled with a comfortably calm and calmly comfortable crowd. (N)
Maix Mayer - African Tales @ Galerie EIGEN + ART Berlin
Needless to say, it was pinching cold outside; the video room was a good place to start the exhibition tour with and wait for the stiff fingers to defrost and be able to hold a glass of wine, or spritzer, or both. The warm African climate pictured in the video probably helped to recall the feeling of warmth and to reconnect with our own body parts. It was actually a video of an African man dubbing a German children’s film “Ein Schneemann für Afrika" (a snowman for Africa), which brought us back again to early Berlin winter time. Wine was fine, but spirits were needed to heat up the atmosphere.
Snowman was a leitmotif that occured in the pictures and a video in various unsuitably warm settings. Wrongly interpreted: it was a cruel joke on us snowmen and snowwomen.
+20 for the snowman totem. I'm considering him to be my spirit animal that would assist me through the hard winter times; I'm ready to reach for any autosuggestive method while having to stay outside for more than two minutes. (A)
Katja Strunz / Dana Schutz @ CFA
A ladies week, as far as art events were concerned for me. Starting with the ff Forma @KW and the two double shows - Katja Strunz/Dana Schutz @cfa and Michaela Meise/Katharina Grosse @König. Starting with the works I was more excited to see, Schutz show was...wet. "There is good wet and bad wet". "Dana does not have so much time these days". "Where did she make them, on the way over from Tegel?" Word on the streets can be cruel, but mostly accurate. - 5 as many as the big format paintings that were too flat not to brush through. +1,5 as many as the ones that were actually cool and had some kind of relevance to the title. Visitor who rocked the most art - related look? That lady over here. (D)
Michaela Meise / Katharina Grosse @ Johann König, Berlin
If you would assume that hosting two shows at the Dessauer space, Grosse would be the one occupying the main space- you would be wrong. König is not some small town highschool principle afraid of his own shadow. The fifth show of Michaela Meise -and the better in my oppinion show of the night- took main stage. Literally : a ceramic portrait-circle (of friends, other artists) on the walls and a circle red structure in the middle of the room were people could hang out, leave their beers, sit down. A bit reminiscent of Gaillard's beer pyramide, less pretentious though. The gallery way packed, I can imagine a fifth show is kind of a family afair. +5 People were ts ts-ing a bit, but I think this is a show worth seeing. (D)
Not so Grosse - bpigs editor for scale. These, around dozen, drawings were just about it, hang evenly in the back room of König. Not sure how the show was called, I named it the rents for October, November, December etc (D)
picture from the ff Forma @KW on Thursday.
Liberation can happen as often as it sells. I think we all agree on that. (D)
Oliver Möst and Anthony Werner @ Galerie Axel Obiger
It’s always interesting to watch a crowd divide itself. At Galerie Axel Obiger, the crowd (unsurprisingly) gravitated toward the bar, leaving half the floor empty as people crowded themselves like sardines into the further end of the gallery.
Obligingly, the crowd parted as we went in for closer inspection of the art. Small on the wall, and hung at various heights, the unusual photographs, paintings, and other pieces warranted closer inspection, as my feeble attempt to translate the German artist texts proved worthless. +3 for the plentiful artist statements, gallery maps, books, and other background information—maybe one day, I’ll be able to put them to use. (N)
Smachine Art Nights @ Urban Spree
Leaving the Sbahn at Warschauerstraße, you could not miss seeing the pyro-technics blasting fireballs into the air, a telling beacon of what to expect. After fighting through the usual tourists and party people of Friedrichshain, I managed to squeeze my way into a packed gallery. I walked into a scene from Mad Max. Multiple large mechanized robots were grinding about, and Butthole Surfers played from the speakers.
A performance began with homemade instruments including an electric harp and a few found-object percussion kits. Burning sage permeated the room as the crowd began to drown in a steam punk trance. The whole scene felt industrial, and the mixed skid punk/art hipster crowd made it like a bizarre pizza dream. I don’t know what was better, the kinetic sculptures (one which you can control with a joy stick), the performance, or the massive fireballs exploding outside. +27 for all three of those things. (C)