What does it mean to speak of "the persistence of painting"? In Berlin today, this expression represents a remarkable diversity of practices ranging from abstraction and realism to highly expressive, narrative, and post-narrative painting. These distinct painterly positions, which are represented by the 18 artists featured in this exhibitions, all involve a self-reflexive investigation of the painterly process and of the nature of contemporary painting.
Painting today is no longer (if it ever was) in a state of reactive apology to the art-critical forces that once sought to extinguish it. At the same time, the hybrid context of international contemporary art production and growing prevalence of mediated information technologies have exploded many ideas related to a fixed definition of a national artistic identity, while the idea of national schools of painting has become largely outmoded. Building on this new reality, "I Am a Berliner" focuses on a single city – Berlin – rather than on issues of national or regional identity, and includes works by a heterogeneous group of artists who are not all German nationals. At the same time, the exhibition seeks to counter the international tendency to see contemporary Berlin as clichéd revival of the Weimar-era city, as well as the assumption that the art produced in Berlin is inevitably shaped by an underlying political motivation. At present, the city of Berlin is being shaped by a whole new series of historical and material realities. Like the individual practices examined in the context of this exhibition, it remains a work in progress, while celebrating a plurality of creative voices.