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Special Edition: Gallery Weekend Berlin
by ArtSlant Team



Katharina Grosse, One floor up more highly, 2010, installation view MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA, © Katharina Grosse & VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, photo by Art Evans.


Home Turf: Berlin Gallery Weekend Picks with Nicole Rodriguez

An abundance of international art in Berlin nowadays is a given. Rivaling London and New York’s expat allure, international creatives are flocking to Berlin more than ever before—filling studio spaces and getting imported for major gallery shows. This year’s Gallery Weekend boasts some of these major international headliners like Jenny Holzer at Sprüth Magers, Douglas Gordon at Niels Borch Jensen and Diane Arbus at Kicken, but also features many home-grown talents. With a total of 51 galleries opening special exhibitions, Nicole Rodriguez highlights some of the German artists, both on and off the official roster.

This week Johann König is bringing out the big guns — literally — with his solo-show of internationally exhibited Katharina Grosse. Wielding an industrial spray gun and a predilection for otherworldly, near-psychedelic landscapes, Grosse’s first exhibition at the Berlin-based gallery, titled They Had Taken Things Along To Eat Together, includes a new series of paintings as well as a site-specific installation. A typical exhibition by the Freiburg-born artist goes a little something like this: massive polystyrene objects or cavernous white spaces are covered with graffiti-inspired spray-paint, towering above viewers, enveloping them in a juxtaposition of blending color, inorganic shapes and often mounds of piled dirt on the floor. This fusion of sculpture, architecture and painting produce a visceral play of light and shadow, color and texture. Highly aesthetically driven, the massive constructions and unabashedly grand gestures suggest we’ve missed a fantastical performance by mere seconds.

XOOOOX, Hamburg, stencil, courtesy of Circleculture Gallery.

Berlin streets are of course covered themselves with spray-paint. The ubiquity of graffiti has made Berlin a destination for urban art, and amongst the most noted locally is XOOOOX. If you have ever walked through Berlin Mitte, you are probably already familiar with his work — sharp stencil portraits featuring sartorial nods and the artist’s signature x’s and o’s. Utilizing ephemeral canvases like exposed building facades, decaying wood and rusting metals both inside and out of the gallery, the undercover artist appropriates the language of high fashion to pay homage to couture and beauty, and to simultaneously critique consumer-driven hype. Coinciding with Gallery Weekend and a group exhibition, Circleculture Gallery is launching the artist’s first monograph recently published by Gestalten Verlag. This first book documents XOOOOX’s work on the streets, from the studio, and selected exhibitions.

Thomas Zipp, Blue Flowers in a Pot, 2012, acrylic and oil on canvas, 110 x 80cm, courtesy Galerie Guido W. Baudach, Berlin. Photo by Roman März.

Another large-scale installation is Thomas Zipp’s multi-gallery Blackout Chambers, L'Arc de Cercle and Dissociative Amnesia at Galerie Guido W. Baudach in Wedding and Charlottenburg. Born in Heppenheim and trained as a painter, Zipp brings together media from across the board — paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings and installations — to create a dual-gallery concept that strives to integrate the spaces of the tandem exhibition venues, leaving the viewer slightly disassociated. Self-reflection and the rupture in the unity of consciousness and environment are crucial to Zipp, and force the viewers into moments of self-confrontation...
...Click here for more Berliner highlights from Nicole...


See you in Berlin!

–the ArtSlant Team


ARTIST WATCH - Angela Liosi

Angela Liosi, Photo by Maxime Ballesteros.

Ana Finel Honigman recently chatted with the Berlin-based Greek artist Angela Liosi about her sculptures and drawings, mysterious rocks, and the effect Berlin has had on her work. Read more about Liosi in this week's Rackroom interview:

...AFH: How has living in Berlin affected your practice and the issues you address in your work?

AL: ...The architecture and the structure of the city have been a great influence...The fact that houses here have no shutters excited me. I could peep into people‘s homes. Watching a family having dinner, I would think of how easily an extreme moment of rage can destroy what appears to be calm and perfect...


EDITOR'S CHOICE - Gallery Weekend Picks

Alfredo Jaar, Kultur=Kapital, 2012, Neon lights, 800 x 100 cm. Courtesy of Galerie Thomas Schulte.

Berlin editor Andrea Alessi gives us her list of must-see openings for Gallery Weekend: Alfredo Jaar and Victor Burgin at Galerie Thomas Schulte, Roman Ondák at Deutsche Guggenheim, Robert Longo at Capitain Petzel, Dave McDermott at DUVE, Marjatta Oja at Galerie Suvi Lehtinen, Robert Elfgen at Sprüth Magers, Alexander Ross at Nolan Judin, Leo Gabin at Peres Projects, and Alejandro Cesarco at Tanya Leighton. That should keep you busy!

For more information keep your eye on the editor's choice listings here. Updated every day for Gallery Weekend!


TALK OF THE TOWN - 100% Berlin by Erik Wenzel


Berlin, Potzdamer Platz, October 22, 2011. Photo by Erik Wenzel.

Recently lots of rumors have surrounded the inner workings of the Berlin art world. Articles have been written about the rumored “art cartel” that holds a chokehold on which galleries make it into Art Basel. Ousted gallerists have made public accusations. The best anecdote so far came in Kai Müller’s piece in Der Tagespiegel last September about a dealer speaking under the condition of anonymity drawing a diagram mapping out the major players in the city and then promptly tearing it up into little pieces and shoving them in his pocket. We can only assume the mysterious dealer, already excluded from the inner circle and fearing further retribution, then disposed of this incriminating evidence by dousing it in kerosene and setting it alight it in some secluded part of Görlitzer Park at 3 o’clock in the morning. But let’s face it: every day in the art world is a slow news day. Most of the time stories like this seem like an attempt to maintain interest and entertain people in an industry that is kind of boring.

I bring this up, because if you’re going to talk about the upcoming Gallery Weekend, you have to mention this cloud that somewhat looms over the affair. The galleries in question that control the Basel selection committee and run the abc (art berlin contemporary) art fair are also the ones who founded the Gallery Weekend. OK maybe Deepthroat has a point. But no one ever said one of the least regulated industries in the world wasn’t cliquish...

Read  more of Erik's thoughts on Gallery Weekend and the Berlin Biennale here...

BERLIN WATCH - The Return of Anthony McCall, by Joel Kuennen

Opening April 20th, a large exhibition of Anthony McCall's new works, both horizontal and vertical projections, entitled Five Minutes of Pure Sculpture will open in Berlin at the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart. Joel Kuennen discusses McCall's work and history:

Anthony McCall, Installation view at Hangar Bicocca Milan, 2009. Photo: Giulio Buono.

...People crowded into the space defined by the beams of light, inching forward to the source of projection, mesmerized by the play of form and formlessness like a swarm of Icaruses. Film theorist, Tom Gunning, was present and the smile on his face was of a child as he walked down the tunnel towards the light, experiencing for the first time what he had devoted his life to studying. This experience of Line 2.0 was much less about the solitary contemplation as was my first encounter with the work—the sounds of my murmuring mind becoming the soundtrack; this screening was celebratory...

...Read more in this week's GEOslant blog...

Thank you to Gallery Weekend Berlin and all of the galleries, organizations, institutions, curators and artists who bring us this Berlin extravaganza.


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Posted by ArtSlant Team on 4/30/12

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