Atypically for an art fair, Art Berlin Contemporary (abc) selects works from participating galleries and organizes them as a curated exhibit. This year's theme is “About Painting.” Key word here: “about.” While paintings themselves are sure to play a role, many works will be rather meditations—or critical commentary—on painting by artists that normally work in other media.
Some Berlin galleries to consider at Art Berlin Contemporary:
(Image: Katharina Marszewski, Daddy, I'm into installation now, 2011, Mixed media. Courtesy the artist and Exile Gallery)
Exile Gallery, featuring Katharina Marszewski
The gallery, until this September tucked unassumingly into a Berlin back-patio, has effected a specie of “exile” on itself that was rather self-imposed—and perhaps a bit tongue-in-cheek. With cutting-edge programs and revivals of forgotten or under-celebrated artists, Exile has always taken the road less-traveled. That road now leads to a new spot on Skalitzerstrasse in the Kreuzberg neighborhood.
At abc this year they will present the Polish-born, German-educated artist Katharina Marszewski with Daddy, I'm into installation now. Mostly working with found objects, symbols and plays on words, Marszewski twists them into new arrangements by using a variety of printed mediums and mixed media. The means are central to her end; the work is about the process.
(Image: VALIE EXPORT, Farb -Licht Installation blau rot / colour light installation blue red, 2011. Courtesy the artist and Charim Ungar Galerie)
Charim Ungar Galerie, featuring VALIE EXPORT
Mystery and hearsay surround the work of Austrian artist VALIE EXPORT, who takes her artist name from a brand of cigarettes. Influenced perhaps by the Actionists, accused of being a feminist, VALIE EXPORT may or may not have brandished a machine gun while exposing herself with crotchless pants in a Munich cinema for a 1968 performance piece entitled Aktionshose:Genitalpanik (Action Pants/Genital Panic).
In any case, VALIE EXPORT is always working at the crossroads of the public and the private. Voyeurism, spectacle, sexuality and the role of women in cinema and visual life are central themes in her work. It will be interesting to see the works chosen for abc; Charim Ungar reports that she will show three “consequent” paintings of different colors and two projections, the content of which remain a mystery.
(Image: Michael E. Smith, Untitled, 2008. Courtesy of Michael E. Smith and KOW BERLIN)
KOW, featuring Michael E. Smith
The minimal, evocative work of Michael E. Smith is often prepared on the spot. Smith works with found or specifically-created objects, and “portrays America's distressed soul at the beginning of the 21st century.” Michael E. Smith was born in 1977 in Detroit, MI, USA. He studied at the College for Creative Studies (CCS) in Detroit from 2004 until 2006. In 2008 he graduated from Jessica Stockholder's class at the Department for Sculpture at Yale University, New Haven. Smith returned to Detroit, where he currently lives and works. Since 2008 he has taught at the CCS. Concerned with the body as a disaster zone—especially when coupled with the toxic substances contained in fast foods and everyday chemicals consumed by those on the lower rungs of America's class ladder—Smith's “interventions” are a quiet commentary on the damage Americans unwittingly inflict upon themselves and one another.
KOW will present Smith's 2008 work Untitled, the working materials of which appear to consist of algae-covered socks in water assisted by a grow-lamp.