The opening on the 17th on Auguststraße started the Art Week with a rather chummy speech by Berlin mayor Wowereit. He really addressed everything the creative scene and artists want to hear, from affordable studios and flats in the inner city, so: welcome to the elction campaign i guess. As always when things are for free, everyone tries to economise and goes to these openings, therefore the exhibitions were that crowded, that you really could´nt stay for too long. Had a look at Neue jüdische Mädchenschule, nothing special though @ cameraworks with what i feel to be rather fashion photography playing with fairytales and interieurs that either adapt to flamish paintings of the 16th century or old Hollywood movies than art (Eugenio Recuenco), very accessable though. Michael Fuchs Gallery presents a show that brings two worlds together: Douglas Gordon and Johannes Albers. Worth having a look but nothing too special. We also managed to get into me Collectors room hosted by the Olbricht foundation, where the „wonderchamber“ of Olbricht, which one should have a look at while in Berlin anyways, is exhibited alongside a solo show of works by Thomas Schütte, one of germanies most well known sculptors. While i have never been a big fan of his sculptures, i really enjoyed the prints and sketches by him. They have what you may call a gentle and silent beauty, something you w´ont find very often nowadays. After getting out of the scrub of people we decided to have a look at Linienstraße – and voila, made a discovery: Trashing Utopia by Berlin based artist Jenny Michel @ Feldbusch\Wiesner. Delicately fabricated paper models, sketches, Installations and a lot of words concerning utopia – a paradisic place that does´nt exist, look up Thomas Morus on this if you like. A good (but hard) read.
Painting forever! – part one
We start with the Neue Nationalgalerie and the exhibition BubeDameKönigAss that brings together four of germanys most well known painters: Anselm Reyle, Martin Eder, Michael Kunze, Thomas Scheibitz. Although one can probably argue that these darlings of the art market are a problematic choice for a museum exhibition, it is actually the other way around: since most of their works usually do not find their way in a museum but into private collection where they are for the most part hidden away, it is actually a good and mandatory step to do an exhibition like that and present these artists in this hyper public way, because not everyone will like what they are doing (as i do not like evrything what they are doing) and although puts these „stars“ up to a public discussion. Anyhow: go there, interesting stuff for sure.
In the Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle, alongside Berlinische Galerie and Kunstwerke one of the four partitipating intitutions, you have a rather interesting take on what you could call a retrospective. Centerpiece is the abstract-symbolistic late work of Jeanne Mammen (1890 – 1976), who is, because of her early work that is depicting girls and women in a rather lustfull way, especially popular in feminist and lesbian circles. Based on the works of Jeanne Mammen, three contemporary painters, Antje Majewski, Katrin Plavcak, Giovanni Sarti, developped their own approach to produce in the fray of Mammens work. Interesting setup and overall a very good exhibition that i want to recommend (mondays there is no entry fee!). If you like beautifull books, have a look at „Jeanne Mammen / Paul Verlaine, Freundinnen / Amies. Lithographien / Sapphische Sonette“ that is avaiable in the Kunsthalle shop or directly over the Jeanne Mammen foundation where you also have a pdf viewing the book.
Insteadt of going on with painting forever! we decided to head over to Hamburger Bahnhof, and really there is so much going on momentarily, it is just a treat. First of all the four nominees for the prize of the Nationalgalerie for young artists, one of germanies most important art prizes, are on display. While there is nothing overwhelming this time, all nomminees have a very distinct approach and interesting concepts. My personal favourite is Haris Espaminonda who has an incredible feeling for the space he is working in. Second exhibition: Body pressure, contemporary sculptors, ranging from Abramovich to Gilbert and George. A must see: the golden Michael Jackson with ape by Paul Mccarthy, kitsch and camp at its best. The left wing is dedicated to Hilma af Klint, a swedish woman pioneer of abstract painting. The big retrospective first shown in Stockholm, travels through Europe now. Very interesting because you can see the developement of the abstract symbolic language she used over time (really a process of some decades) while mostly being cut off from the art-centres of that time. The right wing brings you a confrontation of the collection Marx with the Collection of Hamburger Bahnhof entitled „The end of the 20th century. it gets even better!“ and has (besides of Joseph beuys work „the end of the 20th century“ that is somewhat the reasonable centrepiece) some astonishingly nice works (for instance the collaboration of Santiage Serra and Jorge Galindo who had giant paintings of spanish premier ministers standing on the head driving mounted on black limousins through Madrid) and interesting constellations. It is a pitty though, that the Hamburger Bahnhof seemingly has to show their blue chips (the big Warhol Mao, the twomblys and Rauschenbergs) in every exhibition for (at least seemingly) no reason but to show them.
Today it is Art fair opening day. We´ll see how that goes, right?