Prints, baby!

at the opening in Alte Feuerwache

at the opening in Alte Feuerwache

Thirty years are a long time in the art business, especially in Berlin, where – with our contemporary view – everything seemingly started in the nineties. Surely that is not true and Berlin has been the Hub for visual and arts in general in Germany many times, not only before WWII. The Printing Press “Tabor Presse Berlin“, founded 1982\83 in Kreuzberg, at first in the Kunsthaus Bethanien, celebrates its 30th birthday these days in the communal project space “Alte Feuerwache” in Friedrichshain with a grand overview on their work since the beginning. Thirty years, that means not only a hell lot of wirks to choose from, that also means an enormous variety in style, technique and approach on the craft of printing, ranging from Aquatinta to Lithographie to Woodcuts. Although probably not as popular as it once has been in Germany, prints are in my view one of the most interesting and probably most underestimated works in art. They struggle with the original as being seen as the holy grail for the collector, which is actually astonishing given the art history of the last sixty years and the proclaimed negating of the “one” original by many avantgarde movements like Fluxus and artists as Andy Warhol.

If you manage to have a look at the exhibition (and i really advise anyone to do so), you can expect works from Berlin painter stars from the early 80ies as Elvira Bach (one of the Jungen Wilden), from grandmasters of GDR painting like Wolfgang Mattheuer and nowadays art heros like Jonathan Meese, not to mention all the not so famous artists being part of the exhibition.

Look at this!

Look at this!

For those interested also in the craft of printing there is a selection of tools you work with and a prepared Lithography stone on display. If you are interested in prints as a collector, have a look at the “Tabor Presse Berlins” shop website. Fresh in the program is the annual print calendar (2014) with twelve prints by twelve artists, also being around for over twenty years now. A nice christmas present if your Budget allows it.

Now there is only one thing left to say: Happy Birthday, Tabor Presse Berlin!

“Die Spur der Steine” (the track of the stones)
30 Years Tabor Presse Berlin
until january 31st
Tuesday to Saturday 14.00 to 19.00
Alte Feuerwache Friedrichshain
Machlewskistraße 6\10243 Berlin

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Far North and near West

Berlin is an amazing city. Even after years of gallery scouting and involving yourself in the art scene, you always get around to new places by chance that kind of charme you in an instance. This week I had two of these encounters, which is much above average. Since the artistic scenes – if off or commercial, does not matter – have left their old quarters and begin to meander througout all of the city, even beyond the inner circle transportation system boundaries (which is quite new), there are no places without upstarting cultural centers. Lichtenberg for instance, a quarter with rather bad reputation for skinheads and such, has just gotten a big new venture, the old GDR “Fahrbereitschaft”, that is now housing the Haubrok Collection.

While the lamentation about ongoing gentrification is getting louder, Berlin still has more vast empty spaces that can be filled than any other european metropoly, though they are not as central, as they used to be. What is missing though – and I really wonder about that – is the occasional art buyer, the beginning collector, the well-to-do citizen who is actively supporting the cultural scene in his district. One has always hoped that this would emerge somewhere along the line (and it does happen from time to time, but very very scracely), to secure at least some of the project spaces and off galleries to survive, but the money is drawn to the already established, as it seems. So Berlin stays what it has been for the last twenty years: a big showroom with young art, experiments and a hole in the bankaccount.

My first discovery this week was the wonderfull “Centre Bagatelle“, a cultural house in the very north district of Frohnau, where i have never been before. Housed in classical villa built in the 1920s, the Centre Bagatelle really has a history. First home to an industrial, later occupied by the nazis, after the war a casino for french officers, turning into a french cultural space with library and such, gien back to the district in 1993, when most of the french army left Berlin, afterwards run as a cultural space for some years, then nearly sold but saved by a number of involved citizens who now run the house as an association, making exhibitions, concerts and offering courses of all kind (Yoga to french language) to the public. Me going there was a lucky coincidence. I was to held a speech at the recent opening of Johanna Silbermanns exhibition opening “Das Dach voller Gedanken II” (The roof full of thoughts part 2) on the 28th.

The exhibition is the second because of her recent scholarship by the Bösenberg foundation, that enabled her to work for one year with a monthly stipend in the small village of Meinersen, somewhere near Wolfsburg. After showing the works executed during the year in Meinersen, Berliners can have a look at her astonishingly beautifull and deep paintings at the “Centre Bagatelle”. While usually the young painters are much drawn to shock, to colour, to awe and what you may call an attack on the eyes, Silbermanns paintings are held in earthly tones, mixed with some blue and white, showing architectural structures embedded in their natural surroundings and leaving human or animal life out (actually on none of the paintings there is a human to see). There has been also a catalogue published to the exhibitions i can really recommend to have a look at, fom which i took the photo seen here.

Oreknock, 2013, oil on canvas, 230x180 cm, Johanna Silbermann

Oreknock, 2013, oil on canvas, 230×180 cm, Johanna Silbermann, from the catalogue, page 10

After this rewarding expedition out into the outskirts of Berlin (really, a mile more and you stand in the woods), friday brought a wide range of exhibitions i wanted to visit. After meeting up with the guys running the “Kunstverein Frau Fritsche” in Kreuzberg, i made my way through town to the near west, more specifically Moabit, a quarter that is to be said “hot” right now for art spaces (and gentrification, as both goes hand in hand). The exhibition opening i visited was hosted by the venture “The Wand” – a wordplay obviously, Wand in german is meaning “wall”, in english bar or sorcerers staff. Entitled “The End is The Beginning” and curated by spanish curator Ana Sanchez de Vivar and Melissa Steckbauer who is running the space, was astonishingly broad ranged (and the space was much bigger than i anticipated). In a subterrrenean, labyrinthic set of rooms, the exhibition – much focussed on monochrome works – exploring positions on ending\beginning e.g. the implications of the word end – trustily following a great quote by T.S. Eliot: “What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”

For me the exhibition is a definite for this month, for the range of (mostly) Berlin based international artists as well as the quality, the diversity (from painting to video to installation to collage and photography) and for the space, if you do not know it yet that is. The catalogue accompanying the exhibition contains a cd with soundart, that alone is worth the price of ten Euros, although i might have been one of the few to buy it actually (as i said: a hole in the bankaccount, that is Berlin usually).

Enjoy two Photos i took from the Catalogue and make sure to see some art the next weeks!

No Title, Collage, 26,6x20,4 cm, Barbara Breitenfeller

No Title, Collage, 26,6×20,4 cm, Barbara Breitenfeller

Abode\Gastro-eroticism #1, 2013, Acrylic on unstretched canvas and superposed antique under garment, 160x112,5 cm, Laura Lopez Paniagua

Abode\Gastro-eroticism #1, 2013, Acrylic on unstretched canvas and superposed antique under garment, 160×112,5 cm, Laura Lopez Paniagua

Das Dach voller Gedanken II
Paintings by Johanna Silbermann
Centre Bagatelle
Zeltinger Straße 6, 13465 Berlin (near S-Bahn Frohnau)

The End is The Beginning
Groupshow
The Wand
Paulstr. 34, 10557 Berlin
Sa. 14-18 and by appointment

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The Hamburg Art Incident

 CCA&A Gallery | Hamburg | London | Sergei Sviatchenko | LESS | 2006 | Fotocollage, übermalt | 129,0 x 97,5 cm

CCA&A Gallery | Hamburg | London | Sergei Sviatchenko | LESS | 2006 | Fotocollage, übermalt | 129,0 x 97,5 cm

“Has Art to be beautifull, or aesthetic?” – rather odd question in the field of contemporary art, isn´t it? Aesthetic is not only a broad field, but ever since the beginning of modernism and Charles Baudelaires attempt to beautify in language the ugly realms of mid 19th century Paris in his accomplished “Le Fleur du mal”, the aspect of something being “aesthetic” or “beautifull” has no meaning for art anymore, really.  This question was one of many asked in a talk for Bloggers who attempted (like me) a special Blogger event at the Affordable Art Fair in Hamburg yesterday.

To be fair, most of the invited Bloggers and the host of the event are coming from the “Lifestyle” and “Fashion” sphere, which makes the question more understandable, but left (besides me) also the two talk guests, Isabell Kamp, featured in the emerging artist section of the fair (more to that later) and photographer and publisher Martin Morbach startled. The answer was no, obviously. After rambling for some while on topics of “image” and “lifestyle blogging” and the problems arising due to the fact that Public relation agencys and cmpanys are buying (more or less) posts, i felt a little lost. Writing on the new jeans by that Designer and how awesome it is just is`nt my cup of tea, nor would it possibly work like that with art, may it be affordable or not, which means on the affordable art fairs, created by London based gallerist Will Ramsay between 5000 and 100 Euro. Following the questions of aesthetics, image and lifestyle, the fair in Hamburg, hosting 70 Gallerys from around the world (1\3 from Hamburg, 1\3 from the rest of Germany, 1\3 international), has – just like other fairs – the tendency for the easy going, the enjoyable and decorative or what i want to call “nice” works, largely painting, photography and graphic.

After the talk, i had a good conversation with Isabell Kamp and we wandered to her works at the “emerging artists” section. She is doing Drawings as well as sculpture, exhibiting both, somewhat linked together. The sculptures depict surrealistic deformed human body parts, injected with bubbles and are made of ceramic. The drawings were mostly showing heads, faceless, again with little bubbles, in the eyes, in the mouth. The line of work deals with human communication – or rather miscommunication and the human body as an alienated being, separated from the mind and open for transgression.

Isabell Kamp | In den Dingen  | 2012 | Graphit, Acryl | 30x42cm

Isabell Kamp | In den Dingen | 2012 | Graphit, Acryl | 30x42cm

Though the idea of an “emerging artist” section is something i do like very much, having to do with young and “emerging” artists in my worklife as a journalist and sometimes as a curator as well, some of them being close friends, the presentation was a little bit unfortunate. The “youngsters” were given a bigger booth at the end of the fair, just outside in a little pavillon, next to them three other galleries, two very much dedicated to street art. The works were necessarily too close together and haven´t had the space to breathe, that most of them would have deserved, so to pick just one artist and to let him work on site in the booth or giving them together the whole Pavillon would have been the better decision in my view, because it would have created the feeling of a “special” room, section or how you want to call it.

But let´s talk the art, the things you can discover – and there were some very nice pieces and artists indeed. I would like to start off with mentioning the “We are visual” artists collective who will set up a small printing studio, having also built a hide (to hide from the people from time to time, as they told me) and who are usually much into public interventions and performances, which you can have a look at online: WAV. They are also part of the emerging artist special section but have an own booth in the main exhibition hall. Also very noteworthy the Australian Retrospect Galleries out of Byron Bay NSW, especially because of the breath taking photography “Calamity” (2011) by Alejandro Gatta.

In respect to Editions, the french publishing house “editions bucciali” really convinced me with their program, being minimal, nearly concrete and showing some really astonishing works, i would have liked to buy (sadly a little bit out of my budget), especially the works of Zhou HAO , with their intimate but strong use of space and geometry schooled in the ancient tradition of calliagraphy.

 

Editions Bucciali at Affordable Art Fair Hamburg, 2013

Editions Bucciali at Affordable Art Fair Hamburg, 2013

Last but not least – and because you always stumble on artists you know personal, working in this field, i want to mention the wonderfull swiss photographer Jean-Paul Cattin, whom i had the pleasure to work with on my mail art project “keep me posted” last year and who exhibits some works at the AAF Hamburg with the Canadian artêria Gallery.

Abstract Letter, Jean-Paul Cattin, Photography, 2012 for the keep me posted mail art project

Abstract Letter, Jean-Paul Cattin, Photography, 2012 for the keep me posted mail art project

If you are in Hamburg and visit the fair, make sure you get the “Tips for art buying” they give out. It is really a rather hillarious document, although it might very well help people in their process of thinking about buying an (probably their first) art work.

 

Affordable Art Fair Hamburg, 201314th to 17th of November,
Exhibition grounds, Hall A3, entry Lagerstraße

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The automatic poetry project

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The general idea of the automatic poetry project is to invite everyone to contribute conceptual poetry in her or his language by following a specific Drill to distill poetry from given written works.

Besides of invited visual artists, writers and curators who were asked to contribute to the project, everyone is welcome to send in a poem derived from a written work following the drill and the specificitations for contributions.

After a collection phase there will be a presentation of the project and a publication of assorted poems alongside the possibility to spontaneously create poems on location.

Please read through the sections “how to contribute” and “the drill” if you are interested to take part in the project. Any languages are possible and very much welcome for contribution.

Under “examples” you will find three poems derived by the initiator following the given drill, one in english, one in german, one in french.

The automatic poetry project is initiated by Berlin based author and curator Philipp Koch.

Please visit the projects wordpress site for further informations and contribution specifications: theautomaticpoetryproject

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Smalltown Art Adventures

Tangermünde town hall, 2013. Acrylic on wood. 55 x 45 cm, Sebastian Harwardt

Tangermünde town hall, 2013. Acrylic on wood. 55 x 45 cm, Sebastian Harwardt

The Weekend escape into scenic small towns is something all big city inhabitants like to do from time to time. Although the question always remains, if one could settle down in such surroundings for a time longer than some days, countrylife, as i will call it here, has a unique fascination. Most probably it also works the other way around: the fascination of the big city on people originating from the country. While one usually just makes a trip, I had an assignment to read some short stories at an exhibition opening this weekend in Tangermünde, once a “Kaiserpfalz” (a place where the emperors of the old german holy empire would reside whilst travelling through the empire), the small town with about 10.000 inhabitants is now known for its timber-houses and the old city fortifications on the banks of the rivers Elbe and Tanger. Other than Berlin, Tangermünde has not what you would call an “art scene”. Nonetheless, people of all ages are very interested it seems, even more so, as in this case the young artist exhibiting, Sebastian Harwardt, origins from the small town itself. Other than the specialized and conceptional pumped up art crowd you know from your general art opening it was in my eyes very refreshing to have mostly what you might call “amateurs” walking about from work to work and asking questions about them, showing their affections (“that is beautifull”) or their hunger for explanation (“is this a collage?”). The approach to artworks is one much more driven by general fascination and what you might call “liking” this or that (for what reason ever).

The exhibited works were mostly graphic prints by the artist, woodcuts, lithos and so on, alongside some oil paintings, photographys and collages. Some of the works, to mention a line of concept that is present in different series of Sebastian Harwardts work, deal with criticism of consumerism (the series “die super märkte“, “die hallen der welt” and others). The nearly life sized self portrait “Der Stabhochspringer” (The pole jumper) focusses on mass media and its tendency for catchy headlines. But enough of the preliminary talk, enjoy some impressions of his works o display at “Galerie Schlossfreiheit” till the 30th of november:

supermarkets, 2011 by Sebastian Harwardt, wood cut colour print, edition of 4

supermarkets, 2011 by Sebastian Harwardt, wood cut colour print, edition of 4

the fruit bowl, 2013, wood cut colour print, edition of 11, Sebastian Harwardt

the fruit bowl, 2013, wood cut colour print, edition of 11, Sebastian Harwardt

untitled, 2012, acrylic, ducked tape and crayon on mdf, Sebastian Harwardt

untitled, 2012, acrylic, ducked tape and crayon on mdf, Sebastian Harwardt

If you are around, spend a visit at the Galerie and the really beautifull old town of Tangermünde, here is the flyer for the exhibiton:

flyer

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Artweek Total – Reviews 01 – 03

Art Week 01 – Painting forever!

Art Week 02 – Interlude: SEZESSION + Keilrahmen

Art Week 03 – Art Fairs (ABC and Preview)Bild

Installation of 74 paintings @ Kunstwerke

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Berlin Art Week 03 – Aftermath and the Art fair Problem

The Art Week is over and six crazy art days end – really exhausting, i tell you. Overall I think the Art Week has been a success, but one must wait for the official recap (probably: fantastic!). Anyways time will tell what will happen with this event in the next years. One must not forget that it was just the second edition after last years premiere, born out of the necessity to support the berlin art-market. Together with the gallery weekend the Berlin Art Week may very well develop into the second big constant in the Berlin art market related dates. Nevertheless it has to pay out for the galleries participating in the fairs. While I am not a huge fan of art fairs, the abc with its rather unique concept that has developped from a “curated” hybrid of exhibition and art fair to an art fair where every gallery only presents one artist (oftenly with only one work) really was a delight this year. Great works, interesting artists, great program, notably the “upcoming exhibition” series of 2 hour exhibitions by project spaces from all over the world initiated by Shanaynay (Paris) and the lecture and reading on conceptual poetry on sunday hosted by the art book publisher fair “missread” that is implemented into the art fair abc for some years now. New was the section for art-editions given out by Kunstvereinen, art-magazine publishers such as “monopol” or “texte zur kunst” and Edition publishers like Edition Block.

Here some impressions from abc – rather giving you silly comments on the works than names and galleries. Enjoy!

guerilla style fashion photography?

guerilla style fashion photography?

this happens, if you really lose badly on a pinball machine!

this happens, if you really lose badly on a pinball machine!

could be art, but those are floor cleaning machines....

could be art, but those are floor cleaning machines….

upcoming exhibition - installation phase for an 2 hour exhibition

upcoming exhibition – installation phase for an 2 hour exhibition

up in smoke (tapestry, actually)

up in smoke (tapestry, actually)

that viking lady, man!

that viking lady, man!

no crime, nowhere... (chilling on the corner)

no crime, nowhere… (chilling on the corner)

The other big fair, preview berlin, really did not alter too much from last time. It is an art Gemischtwarenladen (grocery store) as we say in germany. So for the most part last years review is as good as one for this. Please read here.

The one nice thing about the preview is the focus academy where selected graduates from art schools may enter the – probably nice but strange – world of the art fairs from an inside perspective. Some of the works presented by the “soon to be no students anymore” were actually better than those on display by the galleries. You have to make your own thoughts on this one i suppose.

Impressions

scary beast! (from a spanish gallery)

scary beast! (from a spanish gallery)

series of small pencil drawings derived from old holiday-snapshots by Johanna Rüggen from HfbK Dresden

series of small pencil drawings derived from old holiday-snapshots by Johanna Rüggen from HfbK Dresden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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