What Did I (Not) Miss: Berlin Art Week, Part 1

Marisa Favretto / Yudi Noor - Recognize Set In Free Edge @ Galerie Christian Ehrentraut 

After the main opening on Auguststrasse, I got the impression that I will have to queue to see any show during BAW. Fortunately, people are more into the word 'opening' when it's coupled with the word 'party', so there wasn't really a competition for every centimeter of space like the day before. I also arrived quite early - while you could still recognize the artists and their family members, and hear them introducing to Mr Ehrentraut. 

The show has a mystery going on, you walk around it and examine from every angle hoping to figure it out. Regular and irregular things organized neatly, as if the artists went to tidy up their room after taking a magical pill. 

I forgot to take a picture of my favorite painting there, but maybe better that way - let's keep it mysterious. (A)

 

Slug Bait - Bel Etage @ Rosa Luxemburg Platz

Last time I was at this corner it was a construction work site. I was expecting to see a new vegan cafe or another Vietnamese imbiss, but apparently the place is still waiting for its Nachmieter. Currently it's occupied by artists searching for the fine line between public and private space. That sort of topic is interesting for me even without the context of this temporary gallery space; and the fact that Despina shows her work here. 

Go see it. In fact, take a nice little tour through the galleries around Rosa Luxemburg Platz. BQ and Nagel Draxler are across the street and SMAC is just around the corner. All four totally worth visiting. (A)

 

David Shrigley - Big Shoes / Valise @ BQ & Pavillon der Volksbühne

"Your artwork is terrible and you are an imbecile, they said", "We are all prostitutes", "You make me salivate", ...etc. Shrigley is more less selfexplanatory, and besides, already talked about this week. But...

...the new thing at BQ is Valise - a group exhibition curated by Glaswegain galleries David Dale Gallery, The Dutchy and by Sarah Lowndes. Wonderful things to see there; I kept staring at Rob Churm's drawings and the delicate works displayed in Pavillon der Volksbuhne. 

A very promising warm-up for the Glasgow Weekend of art, design and music - starting on Saturday - highly recommended. (A)

 

Michael Beutler @ Galerie Nagel Draxler 

I was searching for this kind of Teppich for some time now... I guess this one is a bit too expensive. 

Don't forget to wear the shoecaps! Safety first. (A)

 

Martin Eder, Michael Kunze, Anselm Reyle, & Thomas Scheibitz – BubeDameKöningAss @ Neue Nationalgalerie

The four artists exhibited in BubeDameKöningAss represent four very different approaches to painting by four Berlin-based artists of the same generation. The pieces work in harmony, allowing for strange coincidences and relationships to emerge through their sharing of the space. 

The first relationship I noticed was the all four painters liked their artwork to be as big as possible. The paintings tower above the audience on expansive white walls, forcing the viewer to take a few steps back. 

The paintings vary from abstract to naturalistic, from sculptural to flat, and from vibrant to dreary. The overall effect successfully brings into question the idea of homogeneity in painting, and pushes the viewer to consider the contradictions and comparisons presented by the four different approaches. (N)

 

Suspension @ Artistdock

This was the second group exhibition from Artistdock, currently located in former Sparkasse building. The theme was born from curator Arianna Plevisani’s obsession with the idea of suspension—the space between the formulation of an idea and the manifestation of an art product.

The idea of suspension was both literal and figurative. Pablo Mercado contributed “Tea and Madeleine, Tribute to Marcel Proust”, which represented the act of reconstructing a memory by suspending the crumbling fragments of a tea set mid-air with fishing wire. Max Strasser worked instead with the suspension of disbelief, using oil paint on wood to recreate the famous “proof” of Sasquatch, the Loch Ness monster, and other phenomena that ask us to suspend our concepts of reality to believe in the mythic.

The atmosphere was exciting and lively: dozens of people crowded the old bank. Artistdock seemed to have altered the space’s preexisting fixtures, choosing to mount images on former safe-keeping boxes, and projecting a video in the office that houses bank tellers. There’s even a piece hidden downstairs in the former high-security safe as well—I would have missed it if Arianna hadn’t advised me otherwise, and it’s definitely worth checking out. (N)

 

Third Lover @ Altes Finanzamt 

"Why almost every exhibition here is so minimal?" "Because there are too many artists in the city so they get only limited space.." But my friend was right. It takes time to get somewhere in Berlin and then you get to the place where there is only one tiny room, the first thought is: "That can not be all..." And... in this case - it wasn't. Another room - bigger and darker one - was huddled behind thick curtains and hid an interesting installation where sound and light are playing the main part. And inflatable balloons. They are all over the room and make you think of running in between them, scatter them around and watch them cavort around. So if you decide to go to Altes Finanzamt don't forget your friends to go to this playground with! (E)

 

Tötet die "Geistig-Politische Wende", wo Ihr sie trefft! @ Gitte Bohr

"The place itself looks like unfinished bathroom or an old spa."
The truth is that this kind of look gives the space an atmosphere which is maybe not needed for German speaking visitors, but definitely need for me - because it made me feel like an activist heading towards to a protest for human rights. Or change in German politics. Just to take one of the slogan boards and with no idea what it says join the crowd... (E)

 

Gelatin @ Schinkel Pavillon

Paint, garbage, costumes, masks, birds, balloons, beers. Lots of noise and mess. My impressions, more less. Oh yeah, and queer looking men in underwear. If somebody would want to make cliche portrait of Art, it would look pretty much like Schinkel Pavillon yesterday. You can hate it, or think it's maybe kind of cool but in fact be bored to death, but you HAVE to see it. Each day a different team of artists performs, so if you like it, don't hesitate to come again - it will be a completely different thing. 

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