Posts By: Ed McAliece

Bear tries to Beat Heat – Santiago Taccetti at Club Midnight

Installation shot, image credit, Nick Ash.

Club Midnight is a gallery located in Schoeneberg on Kufuerstenstrasse, close to the Potsdamer Strasse cluster of galleries. The curatorial vision of Elda Oreto, it opened in 2011 and features a tight group of emerging contemporary artists. Entering the space, there is the sense of a very familiar, almost banal atmosphere. This is imparted by Taccetti’s choice of forms: frosted glass privacy panels from Geldautomaten, hand-railings, economic office ashtrays, a flatron screen, and carpeting.

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Lichtspiel – Kite and Laslett at Import Projects

“Candescence”, Kite and Laslett, 2012. Image credit, Ed McAliece

Founded in 2012, Import Projects is a curatorial initiative with a focus on contemporary dialogues. The gallery, located on Keithstraße, Charlottenberg, exhibits those artists who work with issues of technology, the self and the community, and globalisation. The gallery has hosted performances, video art, documentary and film screenings , and participated in symposiums and conferences such as Social Media Week.

Lichtspiel is the first solo exhibition of Kite and Laslett, a duo trained in architecture, sound and music, who needed a broader scope for their creative stimulus than the typical needs of an architectural firm. They entered into a cross disciplinary partnership, turning their attention to architectural interventions with experiential engagement for the viewer. Over a broad range of projects, commissions and experiments, K+L have honed many technical skills and developed new configurations for displays of light. Light is central to all their projects, formally and conceptually; their work probes the role of the transformative immaterial within architecture. This is the first solo exhibition of Kite and Laslett in Berlin, who have previously completed site-specific installations in Postbahnhof, and the former Women’s prison on Kantstraße. The exhibition brings together new incarnations of previous works, and a new work for the show, titled Reflex. As is the case with site specific work, each work newly installed is a profoundly different phenomenological experience.

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Steffen Kasperavicius at his studio. Photo: Ned Mc Aliece

Spotlight on Steffen Kasperavicius

Steffen Kasperavicius at his studio. Photo: Ed Mc Aliece

Selected by Ikono as part of their spotlight series, the artist Steffen Kasperavicius is hard to pin down to a distinct style. Working with sculpture, installation, sound, video and found objects, Kasperavicius moves fluidly between mediums, creating alter-egos and entering creative partnerships as outlets for his prolific practice. Read more…

Oval Office at The Future Gallery

“Globe” dye-sublimation print on polyester, 2013. Image courtesy of Oval Office.

Future Gallery is a commercial gallery in Kreuzberg, and the project of young curator Michael Ruiz. As the name implies, Future Gallery represents cutting-edge contemporary art; it is committed to showcasing a group of emerging young artists whose work explores new media, processes and materials, and has a particular focus on contemporary issues and responses to the internet and social media.

Oval Office is a collaborative duo of Jaakko Pallasvuo and Mikko Gaestel. Jaako is from Helsinki, Mikko was born in Bielefeld, and is also Finnish. Both now live and work in Berlin. Jaakko is a video and text artist, Mikko is a video artist and photographer. As Oval Office they focus on video and photography, generating tension between perfectionism and chaos. Within this exhibition they are imaging “the behaviour patterns of a future middle class”.

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Heinzmann, Johnson, Zipp at Galerie Guido W. Baudach

Installation. Photograph by Edward McAliece

In 1999, Guido W. Baudach, along with Martin Gerrmann and Peter K Koch, founded Maschenmode, Austellungs und Projektraum, leaving the name of the former knitwear store premises they inhabited intact. The space ran exhibitions and collective projects. Baudach became the gallery’s sole manager in 2000, and in 2001 the gallery reformed into a commercial space under his name.

The gallery moved to Wedding in 2004 and he opened up a second gallery in Charlottenburg in 2009, the latter remains open for public viewing. Baudach represents emerging and established contemporary artists such as Andy Hope 1930, Rashid Johnson, Erik Van Lieshout, et al.

Starting the year with a group show, Galerie Baudach has selected three of its represented artists to submit one painting each: Thilo Heinzmann, Rashid Johnson and Thomas Zipp.

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Sammlung Boros

The Bunker, Reinhardt Str 20, Mitte. Photograph courtesy of Sammlung Boros and NOSHE

Within a WWII structure in the heart of Mitte, composed of concrete walls two meters thick, sits an expansive range of Berlin’s cutting-edge contemporary artworks. This is indeed the razor’s edge of the local avant-garde; in some cases works are purchased close to the installation, or commissioned for the collection of Sammlung Boros. Works by Thomas Ruff  (large scale telescopic images of space, completed from astronomical negatives) were the oldest works on display, dating back to 1990-1.

There is no queue at the front of this imposing fortress, only a booking list. At the time of writing bookings are several weeks in advance. Groups of up to 12 must be guided on a tour of over 80 rooms of the complex; there is no free roaming possible due to fire hazard laws. As our guide informed us, the bunker has had a long, varied history from its original construction to the present.

It was constructed in 1943 by architect Karl Bonatz, intended as a shelter for Reichsbahn train passengers, and served as a bunker during bombings. Indestructible thanks to its dense exterior, under the East German Government its low temperature  made it an ideal storage space for fruit. When the wall came down, it opened as a techno and s+m club on various levels, straightforwardly named ‘Bunker’. 

Klara Liden, image courtesy of Sammlung Boros and NOSHE

In 2003 it was purchased by ad agency founder and publisher Christian Boros and his wife Karen, with the intent of making it both their home and a suitable house for their ever-expanding collection (at this stage around 700 works) of contemporary art. The bunker underwent five years of interior renovations (the exterior protected as a historical site) to become the space we see; over six months was spent removing three meters worth of concrete roof alone, to create the stairway for the Boros’ home atop the Bunker.

Our guide directs our attention away from the works to steel beams intersecting some of the walls. There were originally floors here, with ceilings just over two meters high, to allow a maximum capacity of 5000 people inside the complex. Many have been removed in the renovations, allowing the artists towering space to display their work. The installation is a real marvel, works range from looming and expansive to cloistered and subdued, tucked-away within the bunker. Due to the maze-like floor plan works always have a sense of separation and space, no matter how close they come to overlapping. In some cases they do; an escape hatch from Klara Linden‘s installation leads out into the space for Ruff’s works, and a wall-intersecting work by Awst+Walther provides a separate glimpse into a kinetic sculpture by Michael Sailstorfer.

As correspondent, I am sorely tempted to richly describe to readers what I have seen. Indeed, the works within the bunker leave impressions that will last a lifetime. This is, however, one of the joys of the collection; with every turn of the concrete labyrinth a new, stellar work emerges. For all who witness it, the feeling is like a dream.

Thomas Scheibitz. Image courtesy Sammlung Boros and NOSHE.

Suffice to say the sky’s the limit within the indestructible fortress; Ai Weiwei has installed a sculpture which towers six meters high. Grandeur is not the only focus of the exhibition; Salistorfer’s works challenge sculpture as a static form, employing kinetics and the senses beyond sight and touch, Klara Liden’s installation of objects appeals to anarchy and everyday banality, Alicja Kwade‘s works absurdly twist the physical properties of objects.

Michael Salistorfer’s work, challenging the limits of sculpture. Photograph by Edward McAliece.

In many cases, the artists are able to work to grand and intimate scale. Dirk Bell presents us first with a suite of surreal drawings, leading on to an expansive installation of a dreamy fresco-style ceiling work, mirrored on the floor. Cerith Wynn Evans displays modified pages torn from Yousuf Karsch’s “Portraits of Greatness”, next to a towering column of halogen lights.

In the current installation many works can be viewed at ground level, and then seen from a balcony on a higher floor. This exhibition is the second, the previous one running 2008-12, including artists such as Anselm Ryle and Tobias Rehberger. There is no format or preference for installation and no curation, only the artist’s vision and the zeal and taste of their patrons. Combined with the architectural singularity that is the bunker, this allows for an art experience no gallery can offer, a chance to view Berlin’s best unfettered by standard institutional trappings: art history, curatorial themes, white cube space. 

Stephen G. Rhodes, “Self Portrait”. Photograph by Edward McAliece.

Art appears in all possible forms here: sculpture, installation, painting, sound, video, found objects. The collection itself has only one key criteria – that the artists displayed must be working in Berlin. This allows the artist’s vision and key involvement with the installation. Wolfgang Tillmans for example personally hung each of his photographs throughout the gallery, and indeed all artists in the collection come in to oversee the installation of their work. The Boros’ have a working – and in many cases personal – relationship with the artists they support, providing them with a platform for their ideas to achieve full potential and scope.

“Flying Garden” by Thomas Sacareno. Photograph courtesy of Sammlung Boros and NOSHE.

The Boros’ passion is such that they understand work like this should be shared, and the artists they collect should have free reign over and vision for their work’s display. They have achieved unique conditions for viewing art, juxtaposing the cultural relic of the bunker with works fresher than the fruits that once sat within. While this is a vitally important landmark for any Berlin-based artist, it should be experienced by everybody. Graciously, Christian and Karen Boros invite the public to witness their triumph of art.

Guided tours of Sammlung Boros are conducted in German and English, and available only by advance booking, running Thurs from 4-9pm and Fri-Sun 10am-6pm. Reinhardtstr. 20 10117 Berlin-Mitte www.sammlung-boros.de

Installation by Alijca Kwade. Photograph

 

Only parts of us will ever touch parts of others at Thaddaeus Ropac Paris

Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac. Photo: Philippe Servent.

Establishing his first gallery in Salzburg in 1983, at age 23, Thaddeaus Ropac has extended his exhibition space to include the Villa Kast in Salzburg, and galleries in Paris, in Marais and Pantin. He has become a powerhouse in contemporary art in Europe; his organisation represents numerous international art stars, including Joseph Beuys, Robert Mapplethorpe, Alex Katz, Antony Gormly, Erwin Wurm, Banks Violette, Marc Quinn, Tom Sachs, etc. When travelling to either Salzburg or Paris, be sure catch what’s showing at Galerie Ropac, for a chance to see shows of world standard.

Galerie Ropac’s final 2012 show at Marais is a blockbuster, comprising a clutch of cutting edge works from contemporary artists into an open-ended statement on current collage strategies. We see a range of works in which the image or form is renegotiated, restructured, where collaged works are installed so as to overlap and inform one another…

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Exhibition review “The Blind Spot” at Zeitzone Galerie

Image courtesy 1/4 Klan and Kim Bode.

Taking the eye’s blind spot as their point of departure, three Berlin photographers, Kim Bode, Luise Sophie Erbentraut and Natalie Toczek have put together a collaborative group show at Zeitzone Galerie. Based in Kreuzberg, Zeitzone Galerie is an independent space focused on providing a platform for various forms of art and culture, and is part of the Renaissance Association.

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Jacob Dahl Jürgensen – “Fruit of the Loom” at Croy Nielsen

installation view,image taken by Joachim Schulz, courtesy of Croy Nielsen

In Fruit of the Loom, Jacob Dahl Jürgensen has presented some fresh pictures, and a large minimalist sculpture device. Specifically a device; the sculpture Machine, centrally installed in the gallery simultaneously serves to transport and reframe. Evocative of the industrial Jacquard Loom (noted in the write-up as “the first apparatus which could be programmed to carry out an automated task”), the sculpture at its scale should be an imposing monolith. Instead, it stands as a form we can pass through and use to reframe our viewing of Jürgensen’s  images; a system to produce and arrange pictures…

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“Echos” Graduate show of Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie Berlin

In conjunction with the European Month of Photography, graduates of the Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie have put their best foot forward, coming together to present images as stunning as anything you will see in the next month. Inhabiting three floors and the attic of 17 Oranienplatz, the show unites 20 graduate photography students who all share a desire to probe ideas of subject, identity, and meaning…

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