Springtime feeling is rife in Berlin, and it seems the art world has caught on to the general mood of merriment that has stricken the city’s sun-deprived locals. With emails overfilling inboxes, reading material hitting the presses, and champagne stocks emerging from the deep freezes, the 2013 edition of Gallery Weekend promises to be a veritable free-for-all of art, artists, and, if all goes to plan, articulations of some truly noteworthy ideas.
This year’s line-up offers an impressive array of solo shows that fall both on and off the official roster. And while this weekend is about the galleries, it is, first and foremost, a weekend, and should be treated as such. Our tips for making the most of it? Don’t overcrowd your schedule so much as to miss the nuances of Berlin in its trans-seasonal glory. Visit the galleries, see the art, and remember to seat yourself at a local cafe with a ludicrously inexpensive bottle of beer.
“Feel Invited” happens to be one of the slogans brandished about by this year’s event organizers, and with that in mind, it’s time to fill up your calendars! Let’s dive into some favorites that will win the hearts, minds, and potentially, Euros of this weekend’s gallery-goers.
Studio view of: Alex Israel, Self Portrait, 2013, Acrylic and bondo on fiberglass, 175.3 x 152.4 x 7.6 cm.; Courtesy of Peres Projects, Berlin.
Following on from a string of exhibitions with a focus on pop culture, Berlin staple Peres Projects plays host to Los Angeleno artist Alex Israel. In Self Portraits, Israel’s meditations on his city and himself are formed in variations of fiberglass and fluorescence – and also make pointed reference to a certain subject du jour, Alfred Hitchcock. Hollywood movie magic may stand in opposition to everything Berlin holds dear, but when you throw an opening like Peres Projects do, facts like that have a way of fading into obscurity.
From new LA to old Europe – Avery Singer takes constructionist forms to art history heavyweights in her exhibit at Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler. For those unfamiliar with Berlin, the gallery space in itself is a must-see. Housed within the Brutalist monolith that is Mitte’s Berliner Zeitung building, Kraupa-Tusky Zeidler lurks within the fourth floor of what would appear to be a run-of-the-mill office building. Find your way through the rabbit warren and you’ll be rewarded with Singer’s monochrome canvas works that poke fun at tawdry mythologies and tropes of art historical discourse.
While you’re in the area, make sure to see Carsten Nicolai’s magnetic machine in full swing at Galerie Eigen + Art. Although crtmgn has already been on show for a few weeks, Auguststraße gallery-goers will surely be flocking to witness this video installation loop ad infinitum this weekend. Utilizing magnetized pendulums to distort television frequencies, Nicolai’s work is a redux of a piece that originally showed at a 2007 exhibition honoring the late Nam June Paik.
Thomas Feuerstein, PANCREAS (AllesFleisch), 2009-2012, Installation: steel, glass, diverse technical devices, glial cells, bacteria, 230 x 800 x 200 cm.; Courtesy of 401contemporary, Berlin.
To deviate from the official program, head to 401contemporary for another highly anticipated solo exhibition from Austrian artist Thomas Feuerstein. Those with a penchant for science in all its weird and wonderful forms will feel at home in the artist’s self-concocted CANDYLAB. Part laboratory and part library, CANDYLAB invokes a poetic treatise on transformative energy in works such as PANCREAS (AllesFleisch) – a functioning digestive machine that converts paper to glucose.
Rounding out our Gallery Weekend wrap-up, Galerie Rolando Anselmi and Neue Berliner Räume join forces to present the first solo exhibition in Berlin by British artist Jodie Carey. Subtlety reigns supreme in Immemorial; cloths are hand-woven, threads hand-dyed, and rare glass plates reprised for a black and white photographic series. Carey is also creating new installations for an off-site tenet of the exhibition, the location of which is slated for reveal at Galerie Rolando Anselmi’s official opening on Friday.
With such an inundation of exhibitions, we can’t help but heed the weekend’s publicity catchcry of “Feel Invited”. In keeping with the wishes of the Gallery Weekend organizers, and a city in raptures about the start of sunnier climes, Berlin thoroughly urges you to outstay your welcome.
—Melissa Louise King
(Image on top: Avery Singer, The Studio Visit, 2013, Airbrush on canvas, 244 x 183 cm.; Courtesy Kraupa-TuskanyZeidler, Berlin.)