Is there cool art to be found around the tourist trap Checkpoint Charlie? Hell yeah! In January we explored the galleries in this gallery cluster.
Painting will never die! We started at Galerie Barbara Thumm, were we dove into new work by Valérie Favre, Professor of painting at the Universität der Künste Berlin.
Our next stop is the group exhibition Memento Mori at Daniel Marzona. Curated by Burkhard Brunn, it focuses on art that doesn’t have a permanent shape, is (or seems to be) on the move or in a proces of constant change.
For example the beautiful work Square Tubes Series 2018 bij Charlotte Posenenske (1930-1985), which consists of standardised shapes that can be arranged in a number of formations by the so called ‘consumer’ (in this case the curator). Posenenske didn’t believe in art in a permanent form and for just one person, she made her work accessible to all. Although during her career she got disillusioned in the social function of art and stopped making and exhibiting entirely, her Manifesto, written in 1968 shortly before turning her back to the art world, is still pretty accurate and almost visionary.
At KM Galerie we visited another group exhibition called Hand seiner Zeit, with new work by Nadira Husain, Atalya Laufer, Michaela Meise and Técha Noble. Like Memento Mori, this exhibition had also something to say about our present moment in time and place, but then in connection with or in contrast to their childhoods.
For example Nadira Husain, who described growing up in Paris to Indian parents, as living in this Indian bubble at home (with Indian music, food and decorations). This in contrast to the outside city live. In her work you can see how she mixes her acces to all these different pictorial traditions into a new narrative.
Soft Situation and Curls (2018) is literally built up out of many layers. On a spray painted canvas many more layers of cloth, all filled with a multitude of images were stichted. Images like childhood foto’s, earphones repeated in a swirling pattern, some kind of Atomium shape and a drawing of the hindoe goddess Durga in a contemporary pose, holding a wineglass amongst other things.
Our last stop was the amazing König Galerie, where we visited the Rinus van de Velde exhibition I have lived for many days downstairs and Fixed Sky Situation by Helen Martin upstairs.
Who built this crazy control room and why? The protagonist in I have lived for many days is also looking back, in this case realising that although you can try to control things, in the end ‘You gain some, you loose some’.
On the contrary, upstairs in the main space, 2016 Turner Prize winner Helen Marten tries to have it all. Her opening words in this video: “What do I do? What don’t I do?” are all you need to know. Looking at her 3 installations, it is almost too much to handle. They consist of soooo many objects, all hand made (except for one log in the last installation). Even the tea bags are ‘replica’s’ (as Johan König called them).
Again we are confronted with layers and layers of visual information. As if there are too many windows open in your browser and you’ve lost the overview. Looking at the works on the wall is easier. They function in the same way as the installations, still layered but thank the deities more accessible and not so impossible to grasp.