Launched in the early Spring of 2011 the young Berlin-based auction house DeJoode & Kamutzki set out to lay a foundation for bourgeoning art collectors and play host to a series of younger emerging artists by striving to increase the accessibility of contemporary art on the whole. Less a “house” and more a nomadic performative purchasing experience, the founding duo artist/curator Rachel DeJoode and artist/auctioneer Maria Kamutzki branded themselves as abolishers of the idea of art as luxury with the punchy, matter-of-fact slogan: “Art is essential.”
They first made their debut in March 2011 at Hackescher Markt 4 in Mitte to a full house of young art enthusiasts decked out for the night, gripping at this month’s paychecks as they lined up for a numbered paper paddle and registration. In cramped quarters lightly buzzing with excitement and "first-day jitters", bidders took their seats on fold out benches and listened attentively to the twenty-odd lots.
(left) Iris Touliatou, 00 (zero zero) MR.MR -chiaroscuro- (2012), collage on paper, 20 x 30 cm; (right) Sinta Werner – Abschattungen VI, folded paper, 30x21cm; Courtesy of Pampero Colectivo & Berlin Art Link.
The auction’s third and latest edition, co-sponsored by Pampero Colectivo and Berlin Art Link, took place on January 27th at the former Karl-Marx-Buchhandlung. Conceived as a two-part transatlantic auction experience between New York City and Berlin, the event was hosted by Maria Kamutzki in Berlin in tandem with New York’s Stadium via Skype. With De Joode coordinating lot purchases, the forty-two-lot event showcased a few new faces and reacquainted us with others. Berlin-based artists such as Cécile B. Evans and Nicky Broekhuysen have been, and remain, a staple of the Berliner auctions while new crowd-pleasers like Conor Clarke’s 2012 photograph In Pursuit of the Object, at a Proper Distance, Ruth van Beek’s untitled collage cutout, Greek artist Iris Touliatou’s 00 (zero zero) MR.MR. -chiaroscuro-, and Tilman Hornig’s aluminum sculpture kindled a few short, but illuminating, bidding wars.
Auction Catalog; Photo: Chloé Richard / Courtesy of Pampero Colectivo & Berlin Art Link.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of the works went to Berlin collectors, with a few (but not many) exceptions. Perhaps a shaky Internet connection, and the lack of pre-calculated Euro to USD pricing was to blame, as Stadium’s host scrambled to calculate exchange rates on the spot for bidders. And while auctioneer Kamutzki insisted throughout the evening that she “would not talk CVs”, perhaps some information would have stimulated purchases from abroad and punctuated the auction’s mission of making the work accessible not only through generous pricing, but via educated dialogue. Technical difficulties aside, the premise of market accessibility works. Not only are young collectors’ ears pricked but artists seem equally enticed. The duo’s investigation seems clear; “It’s for fun, but [they] are serious about it.”
(Image on top: Auctioneer Maria Kamutzki; Photo: Chloé Richard /Courtesy of Pampero Colectivo & Berlin Art Link.)