In case you are new here, let us keep you updated on the changes that have been made to our WDIM series. Now instead of only showing you pictures of the Berlin events we visited this last week, we are providing you with commentary too. The commentary is not intended to be a review of the show (since it is likely you will have a few more weeks to check things out) but rather a review of the event, the atmosphere, the crowd, etc. Points are awarded for things we like (therefore what you “missed” by not being there) and points are subtracted for unpleasantness (you lucked out by just reading about it and not having to be there). This week love was in the air (or sometimes not…) and timing was everything. So let’s see where these events fall on our Miss/Diss scale…
David Shrigley lecture @ Roter Salon
part of Marcus Steinweg’s Überstürztes Denken series
When speaking about his career path, Shrigley said he had wanted to be a dentist, but since he didn’t have the marks for it, he became an artist and teeth appear in his work.
This is what he thinks about public art.
+6 for being in the right place at the right time…I was rewarded for arriving absurdly early by a 70 year old man offering me his “invited person” ticket. So it was an early Valentine’s for me, well not really a date but a random act of kindness.
+25 for managing to make the crowd laugh for 45 minutes straight…Was his talk really about “interesting things” as advertised? Well to be honest not really; if you only had his text to read, nothing substantial was actually said. Most of his comments about his life as an artist were pretty banal (for example, “artists like to make a mess”) BUT the way he presented these statements along with images of his goofy drawings was pretty hilarious and definitely “interesting”.
+8 for preparing a Q&A session beforehand…In order to avoid the “very awkward” potential situation of no one having anything to ask during the Q&A, Shrigley asked himself a couple of questions that he felt like answering. If you are wondering what he does with the heads of the headless taxidermy animals he shows, he has them in a cardboard box in his studio labeled “animal heads”.
+8 for the awkward Q&A when it did open up to the audience…The first question asked by the audience was an annoying one: “What is the worst question someone could ask you?” but it led to something amusingly uncomfortable. Shrigley answered that the worst question someone could ask is, “What is the worst thing you have done?” After the response a man raised his hand and admitted that he had seen Shrigley speak in London and he had in fact asked him, “What is the worst thing you have done?” So after hitting his forehead against the microphone a few times, Shrigley told the story of how he killed a large toad (who was much beloved by many) and hid it after a fight with his then-girlfriend.
Waves vs. Particles @ Krematorium Wedding
part of the Berlinale’s Forum Expanded
I’m not sure if I should have been wandering around back here, but what a delightfully creepy place!
And why did they bother putting a poster here; I thought they wanted the Berlinale to feel glamorous not pathetic.
+15 for the perfect venue…This crematorium is a gothic paradise. Some of the video installations used the space to their advantage. Unfortunately it was pretty impossible to photograph some of the best parts, like the projections Spirits Still by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel in the niches that I assume normally house urns.
+3 for you if you realized that this was the perfect spot for a slightly morbid Valentine’s date…
+25 for the video works being of d(13) caliber…I don’t usually like video exhibitions, but this was one of the best I have seen, so if you missed it, very sad. The highlight was The Life of Particles by Angela Melitopoulous and Maurizio Lazzarato dealing with how the Fukushima disaster has effected Japan physically and mentally by the relationship between humans and nature and the history of this relationship in different cities. I didn’t have much time on Friday so I went back Sunday, when unfortunately a bit of the magic was lost because of the crowds and the children.
Zeichnung ohne Zeichnung @ Galerie Christian Ehrentraut
work by Klaus Jörres, David Murphy, Viktor Timofeev, Michael Bevilacqua
Our next printed guide features a work by Viktor Timofeev, so you should make sure to have it in your collection because we promise it’s a good one.
+8 for Klaus Jörres’ new raincoat going nicely with his paintings…Artists should always try to either look like their work or look good with it.
+8 for getting there before it was too crowded…Christian pointed out the best view of the exhibition and said it was good I was there early so I could have an unobstructed view. The works are placed strategically (especially in the first room), and the pieces by the different artists work well together, so don’t just look at pictures online, go see it.
+3 for Michael Stipe’s celebrity appearance…I unfortunately was en route to see Boris Groys (see below) so I missed this and have to take people’s word for it that he was there. Also, you know that if someone famous, who probably has a lot of invitations of a Friday evening, bothered to come out and see a show, it’s a sign.
Boris Groys @ ICI
Negative Totality lecture
-25 for the totally negative experience!...I had this lecture on my calendar for ages. I love Boris. I arrived 10 minutes early, which is very early for Berlin, and there was already a printed (! not handwritten!) note saying that there was no more room. A group of us managed to get in the front door as someone was leaving, and we were congregated on the landing, waiting for an opportunity to get past the second “room full” sign, but as Boris and his wife were being ushered from one room to the lecture room, the woman forbade our entry. So we only got a quick glimpse of Boris’ handsome, pitying face, sigh what a tease. If people choose to go listen to a theoretical lecture on a Friday night, it just seems wrong to turn so many away. It’s one thing to be turned away from a party for having too many enemies or from a restaurant for not wearing a tie/sports coat, but a lecture, please. Of course everyone wants to see Boris; that is obvious, so get a bigger room!
Eric Bell & Kristoffer Frick @ Cinzia Friedlaender
-3 for not having anything at all to say about this exhibition…That’s a bad thing, right?
So all things considered, despite being turned away by my Valentine, Boris, it was a pretty overwhelmingly positive week thanks to the morbid Forum Expanded, David Shrigley’s dry British humor, and the always friendly atmosphere at Christian Ehrentraut’s!