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Keep an EyeOut: Silicon Allee and Gallery Weekend Berlin
by Bryndís Björnsdóttir

So there is this app. The EyeOut app is the official application of Gallery Weekend Berlin 2013. It makes sure you won’t miss a thing. It helps you plan your art weekend in advance, but also allows room for chance and instinct – you can just enter your location on your phone and see which galleries are nearby. A scroll, a link, and a touch round up the fifty-one galleries having concurrent openings this weekend. In an attempt to verify that I am human, I’d like to add some additional un-applied options to your weekend’s event calendar.

The app comes from Silicon Allee, Berlin’s very own version of Silicon Valley. In recent years, innovative entrepreneurs of the Internet start-up scene have flocked to the city, shifting the DNA make-up of the creative class of Berlin. Silicon Allee is in a close radius to Auguststraße where many of Berlin’s galleries reside, along with Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art. After a near four-month break, KW will open its doors once again during Gallery Weekend with the exhibition Relaunch, Ellen Blumenstein’s first project as chief curator. With the exhibition, Blumenstein aims to “show KW as it longs to be, as it could be, and – possibly – as it will become,” taking into consideration the potential of the art institution as a vital social place. The exhibition has participants, although the space itself will be “empty” in that no traditional art exhibition will be shown and yet, as stated in the press release, it will be overflowing, as KW’s “future uses will already be marked.”

Öyvind Fahlström, Section of World Map - a Puzzle, 1973; copyright the Öyvind Fahlström Foundation/VG Bildkunst; courtesy Aurel Scheibler, Berlin; Photo: Simon Vogel.


Before her appointment as chief curator of KW, Blumenstein vigorously expressed her concerns with the future of the arts in Berlin, in particular the need for increased support for independent cultural production. Last weekend, Blumenstein, among numerous other artists, cultural producers, and agents, signed an open letter to the mayor demanding “a new, qualified and sustainable cultural policy which recognizes the reality and social relevance of a self-organized artistic practice,” noting that the activities of cultural workers in the city are celebrated as “assets and investments in the future of the post-industrial city.” In recent years, however, it seems as if post-industrial Berlin has shifted its creative emphasis onto the asphalt of Silicon Allee, with 500 new startups last year.

The exhibition opening in Haus der Kulturen der Welt during the weekend will give grounds for further speculation on this issue. Titled The Whole Earth. California and the Disappearance of the Outside, the exhibition considers the unique California countercultural movements – environmental and technological alike – that eventually saw the rise of Silicon Valley. Curated by Diedrich Diederichsen and Anselm Franke, it will show work of numerous artists, among them Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson, Öyvind Fahlström, Adrian Piper, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Serra, The Otolith Group, and Andy Warhol.

Joseph Kosuth, Self-Defined Object [GREEN], 1966  Green Neon Mounted Directly On The Wall,  10 X 172,5 cm; courtesy of the artist and SPRÜTH MAGERS BERLIN.



The discussion of Berlin’s creative industry knocks a little differently on the doors of the market orientated galleries. At Sprüth Magers, a parallel dialogue emerges in Joseph Kosuth’s Insomnia: Assorted, Illuminated, Fixed, the artist’s first Berlin solo show in twenty years. The work – spanning a period from 1965 until today – touches on the shift from the art object to artistic practice. This shift eventually opened the platform for artists to extort their creativity in various forms in the post-Fordist age, as the signifier found a gateway from the signified. Another pioneer of conceptual art, Hans-Peter Feldmann, will be exhibiting in two galleries during the weekend, Galerie Mehdi Chouakri and Johnen Galerie. Monica Bonvicini, another undersigner of the recent open letter to the mayor, will be exhibiting Disegni at Johann König with a body of work spanning the last thirteen years in which she deploys drawing as a conceptual medium. At ŻAK | BRANICKA the exhibition Images of Contingence will feature VALIE EXPORT’s expression of physical contact and its implications in various mediums, thus portraying a divergence from the direct bodily contact in her earlier works, such as Tap and Touch Cinema (1968). An immaterial presence resonates in the Gallery Weekend Berlin as the eroticization of “feel me up” will be left in your hands, literally in the gestures and keystrokes of your touch while you keep an EyeOut for what’s happening.


Bryndís Björnsdóttir 


(Image on top: VALIE EXPORT, Fragmente der Bilder einer Berührung, 1994, installation installation view, Belvedere Vienna, 2010 | © VALIE EXPORT, photo: Markus Krottendorfer, courtesy Charim Galerie Wien, Galerie ŻAK | BRANICKA, Berlin.)

Posted by Bryndís Björnsdóttir on 4/24/13

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