Ruin Value: Sammlung Boros in Berlin
Stephanie Cristello considers the poetic weight of a WWII bunker that was designed to be a ruin and became an art gallery: the site of the Boros Collection.
What if ruins were not a remnant of civilization, but the very purpose of it?
It is through this very unnatural state that Albert Speer, Hitler’s chief architect and Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich, conceived the concept of "ruin value." His... [more]
“Time turns metaphors into things” – Robert Smithson
Ruins are often untouchable spaces. The ruin embodies architecture as memory; the site is a host to ghosts, standing half-formed and half-alive as specters from the past, "unregulated" and with "no present function,"—an artifact, as some would say, that transforms the symbolic into the concrete. The influence of the past invades potential futures of the space, so much so that the ruin is trapped in time, a cycle th... [more]
“Our sky was destroyed during World War II,” creaks a white-bearded eighty-six-year-old Otto Piene from in front of the lens of a video created on the occasion of his Berlin multi-sited exhibition More Sky. He explains his lasting impression with the light phenomena that would permeate his art practice for upwards of six decades, his desire to establish a new launching point for his practice, for the role of art to act as rebuilder.
In conjunction, the Neue Nationalgalerie and the De... [more]
At Aanant & Zoo you can currently visit How to Disappear, a selection of works by Lynn Hershman Leeson created over the past forty years. It's a compact little exhibition featuring some twenty-seven works of various media including video and photography. It cuts out a great overview of an amazing career on the cutting edge while offering a taster of the planned retrospective at the ZKM, Karlsruhe, this coming December.
Some of the earliest works are the Suicide Pieces (1963-1968), photographic prints... [more]
In October 2013, Joanna Kamm hosted the Karl Larsson exhibition Twelve Hours at her Berlin-Mitte gallery, Galerie Kamm. In 2014, a metaphorical twelve months later, the title has appeared in the gallery once again, playing host to a familiar roster of works save for select new additions. One such alteration is a shallow scratch in the plaster wall at the gallery’s entrance. The gash, Form Was Not Born From An Idea, It Was An Idea Vanishing, sets the tone for this re-visitation.
The exhibi... [more]
When I think of Midnight Movies I timeslip to the early 90s and all-nighters at the Scala in London's Kings Cross. The imagery is that of The Trip, Eraserhead, Vanishing Point, and Blue Sunshine. The aroma is of popcorn and hashish, the taste—cheap stimulants and vodka. I think of a motley crew of film geeks and freaks who have stumbled out of the pub at closing, dashed to the off license, and now gather inside the crumbling flea pit for an all night fix of kitsch, action, and high weirdn... [more]
The Neue Nationalgalerie’s Marsden Hartley, the German Paintings 1913-1915 provides an unprecedented opportunity to see thirty stunning oil paintings from the American Modernist’s Berlin years. These works have not been displayed together in a focused exhibition since the artist exhibited them himself in 1915. Commendably, the Neue Nationalgalerie recognized the need for an exhibition that brings together paintings from a period representing the pinnacle of Hartley’s abstractions and... [more]
Lost in the Berlin Biennale: A First Look
Sonja Hornung and Richard Pettifer offer their first impressions of the exhibition.
Fifty artists is not so many for a biennial, and we were certainly looking forward to a concentrated and focused set of exhibitions. Spread across three venues, this Biennale sprawls, conceptually and physically.
Sonja Hornung: We caught the train out to Dahlem, west of Berlin, and got rained on. Once we made it into the exhibition you seemed totally uneasy, Richard—why was that?
Lost in the Berlin Biennale: A First Look by Sonja Hornung and Richard Pettifer Zarouhie Abdalian, Bani Abidi, Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc, Saadane Afif, David Chalmers Alesworth, Carlos Amorales, Andreas Angelidakis, Leonor Antunes, Julieta Aranda, Tarek Atoui, Nairy Baghramian, Bianca Baldi, Patrick Alan Banfield, Alberto Baraya, Rosa Barba, Gordon Bennett, Zachary Cahill, Mariana Castillo Deball, Carolina Caycedo, Tacita Dean, Mario García Torres, Beatriz González, Agatha Gothe-Snape, Shilpa Gupta, Cynthia Gutiérrez, Ganesh Haloi, Carsten Höller, Iman Issa, Irene Kopelman, Kemang Wa Lehulere, Matts Leiderstam, Glenn Ligon, Goshka Macuga, Santu Mofokeng, Shahryar Nashat, Olaf Nicolai, Otobong Nkanga, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Judy Radul, Center for Historical Reenactments, Jimmy Robert, Anri Sala, Michael Stevenson, Mariam Suhail, Vivan Sundaram, Gaganendranath Tagore, Slavs and Tatars, Wolfgang Tillmans, Tonel, Li Xiaofei, Danh Vo & Xiu Xiu, David Zink Yi, Carla Zaccagnini at Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art
May 29th - August 3rd
Fifty artists is not so many for a biennial, and we were certainly looking forward to a concentrated and focussed set of exhibitions. Spread across three venues, this Biennale sprawls, conceptually and physically.
Sonja Hornung: We caught the train out to Dahlem, west of Berlin, and got rained on. Once we made it into the exhibition you seemed totally uneasy, Richard – why was that?
Richard Pettifer: I couldn’t work out what was from the Biennale and what were pre-existing from the Et... [more]
Having read about the historical themes and ideas that curator Juan A. Gaitán chewed over while planning the 8th Berlin Biennale, I wondered if I was supposed to feel like some colonial explorer as I journeyed southwest towards Dahlem and into a Berlin kiez less travelled (by a peripheral fellow traveller of the Berlin art crowd, at least). Someone like Alexander von Humbolt, who undertook the first scientific exploration of South America and whose name is to appear on the controversial Humbolt... [more]
Evidence, Ai Weiwei’s largest retrospective to date, opened on April 3rd and that is no coincidence. It was exactly three years ago that day that the most influential artist of China (some argue: of the world) was arrested at the Beijing Capital International Airport and jailed on charges of “economic crimes.” He was released after eighty-one days but has since been forbidden to leave Beijing. For every step outside his own courtyard he has to ask the police for permission, effec... [more]
Themes & Variations: A Gallery Weekend Primer
Get your Weekend started with a trio of shows whose themes echo throughout the city's exhibition programs. Guy Parker is on the scene.
Gallery Weekend Berlin is back for its tenth anniversary with fifty galleries showing over sixty artists. Including the talks, peripheral events, and shows there’s a veritable tidal wave of art crashing over the Hauptstadt this weekend. Getting a piece of the action should be no problem, right? All that's req... [more]
Gallery Weekend offers an impressive lineup of some of the most successful and provocative artists represented by Berlin galleries. The exhibitions effectively target the international audience of curators and collectors who descend on the city for the three-day event. But the vibrancy of Berlin’s contemporary art scene is not concentrated solely in the Gallery Weekend’s official program. More than a commercial center for contemporary art, Berlin is also a vital site for its creation... [more]
Gallery Weekend Berlin is back for its tenth anniversary with fifty galleries showing over sixty artists. Including the talks, peripheral events, and shows there’s a veritable tidal wave of art crashing over the Hauptstadt this weekend. Getting a piece of the action should be no problem, right? All that's required in way of preparation is a good breakfast and a pair of overpriced sneakers for all that perambulation flitting between venues, soaking up as much culcha as you can manage. But... [more]
“Why hang things on a wall when the wall itself is so much more a challenging medium?” —Gordon Matta-Clark
With the term conceptual art so much a part of our everyday language these days it’s sometimes possible to forget what motivated the early conceptual artists to adopt it.
One of the key objectives of conceptual art was to subvert the artwork as a singular unique object, a fetishized commodity suited to ownership and trade. A painted image can be owned, assigned val... [more]
On Friday, April 4th, a conversation about Art in the Public Sphere was held at HAU, Berlin, between Alice Creischer, Oliver Marchart, Simon Sheikh, Sarah Vanhee, and Joanna Warsza, moderated by Helmut Draxler. The evening was a part of HAU's Phantasm and Politics series, and discussion revolved around the upcoming Manifesta in St Petersburg.
Afterwards, we had our own conversation.
RICHARD PETTIFER: Having to pay €8 for a discussion about public space is the perfect ironic summary of what was discussed on stage. Increasingly, what is “public&... [more]